Houston, I Have Main Engine Start!

The trouble with being a rocket scientist, is that you can never say to folks at work, “Come on guys, it’s not rocket science!”  

The last trip into space that I recall in any detail was a space shuttle mission in the early 90’s. The passage of so much time made it incredible for me to watch Space X’s February launch of a Tesla automobile into space.  Space X’s Model 3 is now headed toward Mars and is scheduled to make it to within 4,300,000 miles of it by 2020.

What I found most intriguing was the launch itself. The abundance of potential committed to a single trajectory; thousands of hours in the making, equipped with massive boosters of pure energy pointed skyward.  If I understand the math correctly, the solid rocket boosters delivered thrust equal to twenty-seven 747 jetliners at full throttle. All of this designed to successfully escape the gravitational pull of Earth.

Honest to goodness rocket scientists were on hand to offer their commentary. In several instances, they referred to the term escape velocity. Intuitively, I understood how it applies to astrophysics and space travel, but this is not where my personal interest lies.

I like Earth! I don’t love to fly for more than forty-five minutes and the idea of being in space for more than an afternoon feels lonely and kind of spooky. However, in my own ways I do want to escape gravity’s hold on me.

I hate feeling as though I am tethered to some nagging bad habits or the feeling that my past failures are the best predictors of the trajectory of my future. I want to break free from habits that no longer serve me, so I point myself toward a few worthy targets and blast off!

Upon reflection, I have identified three specific areas in which I hope to achieve main engine start.

At Work- I have heard it said that the best way to guarantee that you work for an idiot is to go into business for yourself. I am not independently wealthy and I don’t own the company where I work. I have a boss and he can be hard to please.

I need to do my best and forget the rest. I don’t want what happens at work to diminish my quality of life. The man who matters most is the one I see in the mirror every day. In fact, he is the only person who really knows how hard I try or how much I care.

In My Head- We all have tapes that play in continuous loops during our wakeful moments. Some are positive and others are less so. For most of us, they are like elevator music playing in the background. I listen to them whenever I can. They have been artfully dubbed and remixed ever since I first arrived. I want to keep the good ones and seek to erase those that no longer serve me.

To-Do Lists- I know it is counter-intuitive to admit, but I want a bite-sized to do list. I am retraining myself to lower the bar, dream tinier and try softer. Honestly, I rarely feel as if I am free of the things that I hope to accomplish. Consequently, I am continually trimming the list and avoiding over-extending myself.

Escape velocity is a great concept for what I am applying to my life. Just like in space travel, most of the energy used in making significant changes is used in a small fraction of the total distance traveled. The farther we get into the journey, the less we find the gravity of our grooved habits pulling us back. In fact, ninety percent of the journey is just getting started.

Of course, we can get distracted and it may be more difficult to stay committed to something long enough to benefit from our early thrust sequence. However, the hard-fought escape velocity pays off the longer we stay the course. In time and with concentrated effort, we will scarcely be able to recognize the launch pad from which we initially hurled ourselves.

Thomas “TD” Dierker
Live like you’re dying…. cause you are!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *