You are using an outdated browser. For a faster, safer browsing experience, upgrade for free today.


Are you an Astronomer or Astronaut?


Last night, I watched the movie "First Man" again.  The dramatic film is a biopic of the legendary American Astronaut Neil Armstrong's life from 1961-1969, on his journey to becoming the first human to walk the moon.  It explores the Nation and Neil's sacrifices and costs during one of the most dangerous missions in space travel history.  It depicts the magnitude of risk from Armstrong's perspective that captures mixed emotions' intensity regarding taking big chances in life.

In particular, one scene shows the letter prepared for the U.S. President to read to the public if the astronauts become stranded alive on the moon's surface.  Getting to the moon was not as challenging as returning safely back to earth. The movie also blends the social challenges of that time in history with the scientific commitment to something that would benefit humanity for generations to come.

From a personal perspective, there is much to unpack.  Do you see opportunities and admire the potential from the safety of your comfort zone (earth).  Or, do you see an opportunity (space) and get an irresistible urge to leap?  As we begin in 2021, ask yourself a powerful question.  Am I an astronaut or an astronomer?

Astronomers are those who study the objects in the sky, including planets, galaxies, black holes, and stars.  It is essential since someone must be on the lookout for big things on a collision course with our precious earth.  They use telescopes and cameras to observe the stars and other objects in the sky. They often use complicated math to make predictions and solve puzzles about their movements and locations.

Astronauts are those who travel in space.  While the term was for military-trained professionals, recent accessibility of space travel has seen the term astronaut now refers to anyone traveling in a spacecraft, including civilians.

When it comes to opportunities in 2021, will you be a spectator or a player?  Will you be an astronomer or an astronaut?  I want you to consider the question seriously.  What are you willing to risk to be successful?  Following is one of my favorite quotes for perspective.

["It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." — Teddy Roosevelt]

Will you start playing the game of life?  Or will you remain a spectator?  This question applies to all aspects of your life.  Your personal, spiritual, familial, or professional life can be the lens through which you make important decisions this year.

Will you watch others succeed or fail?  Or will you take the risk to serve others?  You will face many opportunities this year, and the choice is your own.  Will you say yes to the threat, or will you remain in the comfort of the present?  The desire to be successful (however you define it) is not enough.  You must be willing to take risks and get in the game.  The people willing to risk injury (failure), and pains are those who win.

"Actions speak louder than words, and these words should be your mantra. Nobody will work hard for your dreams or ideas, and neither are they buying something you plan to do. Remember, no lives are improved just by thinking about the required improvement. In becoming a doer, you transform from an observer into someone who is living their life. You will stand above most of the people who are still talking about what they plan to do. Every one of you with thinking capabilities had an idea that could change the course of life, but the fear of practicing the idea has robbed you of your real potential." - Mehak Fatima

Far too many people complain about life's circumstances.  I was born poor, or my parents divorced.  I am from a small town, English is my second language, or we are in a global pandemic.  Blah, blah, blah!  These are all excuses to remain a spectator in the game of life.  As a business coach, I have learned that most people far undervalue their ability to be successful.  The space between your ears is the space you must conquer first. 

Become the astronaut in your head.  Be willing to explore the frontiers (fear) of your mind, the thoughts you never share with others.  You are already a skilled astronomer with what happens in your mind.  You see opportunities (planets and stars), and you know you have blind spots (black holes).  Stop dreaming about success, and start doing what it takes to be successful.  No matter how wonderful, dreams are not productive without action.

Brave people do not lack fear.  Brave people act while being afraid.  What you fear (in your mind) is likely the action you must take to become or achieve what you seek.  Many spectators are willing to hold you back if you allow them.  During the moon mission, many people complained about the vast resources spent on success in space.  Others complained about the risk of space travel for loved ones.  The movie depicts Armstrong's mental struggle with the chance of never seeing his family again.  One scene shares his children's conversation (with him) the night before the mission and ends with his son shaking his hand in fearful approval.

Go big or go home in life. Life is too short to play it small.  Your moon shot might be quitting a dead-end job, starting a business, or going back to school.   Are you thinking about acquiring another company or starting a new product line?  It can also be publishing a song or posting your video to YouTube.  Whatever it might be, fear will be your indicator.  Someone must go first.  Armstrong took his first step (giant leap) on the surface of the moon.  Ignore the spectators and take your first step as an astronaut in the game of life.

John, love your blog, spot on!! Fear is in our head, it's the action we must take to overcome the fear that holds us back. This past summer I was crawling along the top of a 200' high cliff while summiting a 6,600' mountain in BC, and my eldest son (Matt 25 y/o) says, Dad, "get up and walk", so I did, haha. Happy New Year John.
(January 05, 2021 ~ 10:43 AM)
By Chris Hardwick

John, I really enjoyed your article on being an astronomer or an astronaut. "Fear will be your indicator." That is an interesting take. Thank you for the encouragement. God bless!
(January 05, 2021 ~ 7:21 AM)
By Jerrod Allen