Success Starts Early - Massive Action

I live pretty close to NASA, just outside of Houston, TX.  Growing up near the same community where famous astronauts like Alan Shepherd, Gus Grissom, Jim Lovell, and Neil Armstrong have lived has always been fascinating to me, and driving past the Johnson Space Center allowed me to see their massive Saturn V rocket as a child.  Recently they have added some of the newer rockets that have been used by groups such as SpaceX to their impressive display.  According to the lift that was required to propel the shuttle missions into space required the burning of some 11,000 pounds of fuel per second during liftoff (roughly the same amount used by all of the cars on the road during Houston's daily rush hour).  In fact, fuel would account for approximately half of the total weight of a shuttle.  But once the shuttle reached its desired altitude and speed outside of Earth's atmosphere, very little thrust is required and most of the fuel tanks are jettisoned and allowed to fall away.  A huge percentage of the energy used over the course of a mission to space is expended over the first few minutes, just to get into orbit and put the astronauts in a place where they can perform.  In our daily lives, we often see the same dynamic in play - putting ourselves in position to succeed will require a short burst of massive action before momentum becomes our ally. 

Have you ever had to push a car that ran out of gas?  It can be hard work to get the wheels to roll, but once it starts you can keep it going with minimal effort.  If you can get a vehicle going reasonably fast you might even discover that it will clear minor obstacles (rocks, potholes, etc.) with ease.  Those same pieces of debris would have created a huge problem if they had been up against a resting tire that you needed to move.  To paraphrase Sir Isaac Newton's first law of motion, a car at rest tends to stay there but once it's rolling it tends to keep going.  Do our efforts follow the same sets of rules as rockets and cars?  Absolutely!  If you're used to being busy, then a few days of sitting around will soon make you restless.  If, on the other hand, your habits are more sedentary then even a small amount of effort will make you feel like you've worked hard. 

There's a second reality behind the concept of massive action, however, and that is how it cures the one disease that infects everyone: fear.  I've heard it said that fear and faith are twins because they both represent the belief in a certain outcome, whether or not the evidence at hand supports the conclusion.  Two people considering a flight, for instance, may have different opinions of how it will end.  The first believes they will arrive safely and acts on that by purchasing a ticket.  The second is worried about crashing, losing luggage, or catching an illness on the plane, and therefore either wants to drive or just not take the trip at all.  But what do you think would happen if person #2 took steps to overcome their fear?  What if they researched the safety records of various airlines and picked the one that historically had the fewest issues?  What if they purchased the ticket?  What if they actually went to the airport and made it through security?  You can bet that by that point they would have enough invested in the trip that they'd begin to try convincing themselves that everything would go well!

So what kind of action do you need?  Is it the kind that starts your momentum, or the kind that starts whittling away at whatever scares you?  General Patton once famously stated, "A good plan violently executed today is better than a perfect plan executed next week."  Whatever it is, don't take a single step and stop - light the rocket today, and don't look back! 


Is there one person that can help you but you've never asked?  Calling or speaking to them can be a huge hurdle!  Take action, even if it's a bit scary, and give it a try.  Believe me, you'll be proud of yourself when you do. 


I've recommended it before and I'll do it again - The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz will help solve many of the problems that lead to inaction. 


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