It took inordinate optimism to build each of NASA's Space Shuttles.
It took science, planning, thought, and tons and tons of money. (It would have taken even more money had there been less optimism... think about it...)
Yet, we know all too well that in spite of all that boundless optimism, world-class scientific knowledge in abundance, decades of precise, organized planning, supreme team work, and in-depth thought of the deepest possible kind, there are catastrophes in the Space Shuttle's luminous history.
And, yet, please think about this, too: the shuttles could not have failed without audacious optimism - the audacity - the temerity to try - the audacity to dream beyond the boundaries which seem so bent on wanting to permanently own us, keep us in our place, keep us grounded.
But, we aren't permanently owned by gravity - nor by the multitude of other boundaries we've grown so accustomed to inhabiting.
Besides, who is better off? The optimist whose optimism is tempered by failure or the naysayer with a spotless record - a record with not a trace of failure because they never tried anything bigger than themselves?
If the naysayer has never failed it's precisely because they've always tried things smaller than themselves.
We've watched blimps crash and burn.
We've watched titanic ships sink and drown.
We've watched the most beautiful buildings imaginable fold into themselves, pulverizing everything and everyone in the wake of their fall.
We've watched trains derail, levies fail, bridges collapse, airplanes drop out of the foundationless sky.
We've even watched philosophies, psychologies, and all manner of other man made theories get conceived, get built, get stressed, and fail...
All of these things required human optimism to build them.
Yet, all of these things have catastrophic failures as part of their histories.
And, yet, this, too: optimism is the ONLY WAY we can recover from catastrophic failure. Hard work alone won't do it. Even the much vaunted money won't do it, alone...
As when it happens to agencies like NASA, cities, towns, states, and countries which take pride in their accomplishments we, too, get shaken to our core when our dreams, our best efforts spill and waste before our eyes - while we can do nothing but watch and feel...the loss...
When you have catastrophic failure it goes all the way to the deepest core of you - the very center of you - down to your breath - where it's just you managing your own breathing as the last great hope you have...
It's optimism which makes you want that one additional breath, you know....
To rejuvenate yourself, your business, your family, your relationships, your cause, you need optimism as much as you need oxygen.
So, if you have catastrophic failure as part of your history - failure so complete that even "your optimism starts to whine" and moan and groan - I encourage you as strongly as humanly possible to adjust your focus in order to preserve your optimism. Preserve your optimism AT - ALL - COSTS! Because, without optimism, hope is dead. And if your hope is dead, what are you?
+Thanks, and Keep STRONG!!
Sunday, September 7, 2008