Sometimes we all need a little push to go forward

Editorial — Weyburn This Week

There are times we are self-motivated to lead and to accomplish great things in our lives, in our careers and in our communities — and there are times that external forces move us in the direction of taking a risk and reaching accomplishments.
The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to land on the moon is being marked this week, with Tuesday the anniversary of the rocket’s launch, and on Sunday is the anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s stepping out of the lunar module to be the first human to walk on the moon.
This was truly a momentous occasion for NASA, for the Americans and indeed for everyone, but as motivated as the U.S. was to be the first, they were pushed into it by their arch-rivals, the Russians.
They shocked the U.S. by being the first ones to put a man into space, to orbit the Earth, and this became a very strong motivation for the Americans, particularly given the Cold War mentality at the time.
Armstrong’s words were also momentous, as he said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” with the plaque on the module stating that mankind came to the moon in peace.
It was funny that at a news conference before the launch, Armstrong was asked if he was going to say anything memorable as the first man on the moon, and he shrugged, saying he had no idea what he would say.
In a later interview, Armstrong said what went through his mind were the thousands of people who worked behind the scenes to make the Apollo 11 mission a success, and helped get the crew of three to the moon, so he felt it was giant leap for all of them, compared to his own small step out onto the moon’s surface.
There have been many accomplishments in space since then, such as putting rover machines on Mars and sending probes out to the edge of our solar system and beyond — but rarely have any had the near-universal impact on people that the moon landing had, and still has a half-century later.
Perhaps it doesn’t matter how or where the motivation comes from to push us to do things in our lives, but sometimes the results are better when we take the initiative for ourselves and move forward.
This way, we aren’t acting out of fear or pride, or selfishness, but because we have a great idea and we’re willing to take a risk and act on it.
In this case, while the Russians pushed them to do it, the act to put a man on the moon was still a huge effort that took thousands and thousands of people to make possible, plus it was a dream of the late John F. Kennedy before he was assassinated. Moreover, no one has repeated the act since, so it is an accomplishment that stands the test of time.

article continues below