What I Learned from Rocket Scientists

by Joseph Kwon in


It's funny how our minds work sometimes. We can create these dramatic, five-act plays of how something we are trying to accomplish could all go horribly wrong. And how tragic and final the result will be. Loss of respect, loss of income, loss of momentum - pick your poison.

I'm not trying to belittle the importance of any of our life's projects or goals. And certain failures can indeed have a tremendously negative impact, both for ourselves and others. Still, we often exaggerate the true impact. Not me of course. I've NEVER felt that if I failed at x, it will be the end of the world. And I've NEVER let this this lead to analysis-paralysis or poor decision-making.

I was recently watching a documentary that showed during the early days of the Space race and I was shocked to learn that there were a lot, I mean a LOT of failed rocket launches.

For example...

Imagine you are a NASA engineer or project manager of one of those rocket launches. You've worked nights and weekends, made numerous personal sacrifices and given it your all and then some. Now it is all about to payoff in this one, glorious moment.

EXCEPT...it's an abject failure. 10, 9, 8...3, 2, 1, liftoff, we have liftoff. Flames, horror, rubble. And there is no question this has been an expensive failure. For example, according to a NASA official, taxpayers lost $110 million when a SpaceX rocket disintegrated shortly after liftoff.

So if a rocket scientist can go on after losing $110 million, it puts things in perspective. Do your best, learn from your mistakes, and don't make the boogeyman any scarier than he deserves to be.

Be kind to yourself!

Next post next Saturday, 6:30 a.m.