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Shooting For the Moon

By: Dr. Jim Goldstein

Shooting For the MoonI read an article a while back about an interesting discovery that was made when scientists examined the tracking data from Apollo 11, the first successful moon launch. What they found from the data was that the vast majority of the time, the lunar rocket was off track. This discovery I thought was significant considering what they were able to achieve.

The lunar rocket was able to correct it’s course partly by aiming for the moon again. Despite where they were at any particular moment, they could always point the rocket toward where they wanted to go and adjust their calculations accordingly.

There are lessons here for all of us. In life, we often find ourselves in situations and circumstances we were not consciously aiming for. At that point there are several choices we can make. We can bemoan our current state of affairs (“I can’t believe this! How could I have let myself get so far afield?”), we can judge ourselves harshly (“I’m an idiot and a failure”) or we can blame someone else for our current state of affairs (“Whose fault is this?”) None of these choices will be particularly helpful, however.

The lesson from the lunar rocket is that wherever we find ourselves, we can always focus on where we want to go. It’s not that we shouldn’t acknowledge where we are but rather that we shouldn’t dwell there too long. The value is in setting our sights on where we want to go and adjusting our course of action accordingly.

The first choices that I mentioned tend to leave us feeling angry, frustrated and depressed. However, focusing on where we want to go and what we want now changes our perspective and our mood in a positive direction.

It really is more important where you are going than where you have been. Remember, despite the lunar rocket’s errors in tracking and its somewhat erratic path, we did make it to the moon.


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