Can you distill your best ideas down into a simple question?
NASA can. They excel at it.
Many of NASA’s most amazing ideas and projects can be summed up in a single remarkable question.
And . . . here’s the fun part.
Many of their missions sound like they were conceived by a team of five-year olds on a sugar high. 🍭
🚁”Can we fly a helicopter on Mars?” (Ingenuity)
🛰️”What if we launch a telescope bigger than Hubble?” (JWST)
🚀”If we hit an asteroid with a spacecraft, can we change its orbit and protect Earth?” (DART)
🌞”Can we fly a spacecraft inside the sun’s atmosphere?” (Parker)
Those are all current, active NASA missions in 2022.
They represent cutting edge science.
And they all sound at least a *little* crazy.
Each of those missions is incredibly hard work — requiring massive teams of world-class researchers.
After all, it’s rocket science 🚀.
I think of Walt Whitman’s short poem, “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer.”
Whitman openly scoffed at people who got wrapped up in ideas but who lost touch with the wonder.
—-“When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer”—
When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
How are you staying connected to your sense of wonder?
Are you able to explain that wonder to others?
Here’s a quick way to check:
1. Write your big idea in one sentence that evokes joy/wonder.
2. Then, test it out. Ask people what they think.
3. Keep going until people say “wow.”
I write about:
thought leadership and taking ideas to scale
I publish on:
Most weekdays and some weekends