Many young professionals have struck gold with their ideas. Facebook, Google, and Microsoft immediately come to mind. It seems as if each surpasses the other with innovative ideas and give people what they want in a simple format. Generally speaking the public reveres these innovators and everyone wants to pick their brain and see if they can use the same formula to develop an idea like theirs. In interviews they are asked how they did it, and how they arrived at the point of coming up with the idea that made them rich. They are depicted as geniuses. And while, yes, they developed something out of nothing and the timing was perfect, it is not the norm. Most of the time building something of value takes time and should be done the right way. Not knocking the success of these individuals, hats off to them; just pointing out that generally success doesn’t happen that way.
I heard an Astronaut speak recently and got to meet him. He is in his mid 80’s, and seemed mentally sharp as well as physically. I feel confident that many generation X’ers and generation Y’ers, upon seeing him if he walked into a room may think of him as just another old man with stale ideas and old thinking. The underlying mentality is that the young people have the new exciting ideas that will take the world by storm.
Personally, I got an appreciation for how these Astronauts trained, sacrificed, risked their lives, and put the mission ahead of their own goals to advance technology and further science that would benefit us. Many involved in the space program don’t even get into space until their 40’s & 50’s. And that is after an incredible screening in every facet of their being. Then comes years and years of training and preparation. In some of these missions they faced incredible obstacles, overcame insurmountable odds, and did what was once considered impossible. The United States put a man on the moon back in the day where there were no cell phones, computers took up an entire room (and did a fraction of what an iPhone does), TV was black and white, and so much technology we take for granted was either in infancy stages or not invented yet. In spite of that, engineers, scientists, and others put their heads together and worked collectively to achieve something great. Sometimes it took several years to solve an issue that would affect the entire program.
Ever heard the phrase, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”? Well, it wasn’t, and get rich quick schemes will come and go and so will many of the innovations that mesmerize people today. The older I get (my real age you ask???, I’ll never tell), the more I appreciate that elderly retired astronaut and how he faithfully labored away at something he believed in and did it with pride. What about you? Are you laboring away at something you are good at and something you love to do? If not, that’s a shame.
Some observation I learned from the retired colonel:
• Doing things the right way will alleviate fixing it later
• You need to be flexible in your plan as things change and roadblocks arise
• When you work as a team, you will accomplish more
• A contingency plan is a must; you have to anticipate what could happen
• Know your destination and be clear on how to get there
• Smell the roses along the way; don’t get overly caught up in where you are going that you lose sight of the enjoyment of the journey
• Take pride in what you do
• Be solution oriented, not focused on the problem
• Appreciate the supporting cast
Anything worth having is worth working for and putting forth the effort. Things don’t generally fall into place as quickly as they did for those who benefited from the tech boom. Most of the time things that are worthwhile are earned by application of ethics and principle faithfully. So plan your work and work your plan faithfully and enjoy every step of the way.
Ignite your passion.