In July 2011, the space shuttle Atlantis landed in Florida, marking the end of the shuttle programme after 30 years. In this article I want to discuss whether or not the shuttle proved me right or wrong with goal achievement theory…
I have written many many times, and will do so many times more(!), that a key element of goal achievement is to study how others achieved the goal before you. The idea is that your goal will have probably been achieved by others, so if you then investigate the steps taken by those that went before, you’ll have a good starting plan to follow.
After all, it’s not likely that you are the first to ever set a particular goal, right? Er, well maybe not!
The space shuttle mission is a perfect example of doing something that had indeed never been done before – the goal was to create a reusable spacecraft, capable of carrying heavy duty loads into space, land back to earth to be turned around and used again. So, does that prove me wrong..?
I don’t think it does, no, because the story highlights the value of other key elements of goal achievement, like taking action, trying something new, learning lessons, keeping focus, etc.
The main problem with the original idea of the shuttle was not putting it into space – NASA had done that many times. The problem was getting it back to earth in a reusable state. Previous rockets had used a protective shield against the heat of re-entry which burnt off during the descent. That was effective, but was a one-off solution, and only used on small capsules just big enough for a few astronauts.
The shuttle would need something much bigger, and which didn’t ruin the vehicle. It took years of trial and error, but the engineers came up with a silica based shield which absorbed heat really slowly. The next problem came from the fact that the shield cracked too easily, like a dry riverbed.
The engineers came up with a creative solution, which was to ‘pre crack’ the shield, so came up with small tiles, 25,000 of them in fact, covering the bottom of the shuttle.
So even with such an ambitious goal, the elements of the formula can be seen – taking action to see if something works, trying something different when it didn’t, and being persistent until the result was found.
Another key element is to ask for information, because the more information you have the better. It’s also important to not be closed to differing opinions – that can put an end to your goal, and it’s a lesson which ultimately did end the shuttle.
In both shuttle disasters, Challenger in 1986 and Columbia in 1993, NASA was culpable of being too stubborn. Even though they had systems set up to provide vital information, a choice was made to ignore that information with tragic results.
After the Columbia accident, President Bush decided that the shuttle programme would end after the completion of the international space station.
If you look up into the sky at the right time, you can see the space station from the earth, and that stands as a testament to what the shuttle achieved. Or you can see the shuttles in a museum. Or you can go online to see the pictures that the shuttle-delivered Hubble telescope gives us.
Any of those things will serve as reminders of the lessons of good and bad goal achievement from the space shuttle, which I think show that when it comes to goal achievement, rather than proving me wrong the space shuttle proved me right!
Read my book ‘Transform Yourself in 21 Days!’ and judge for yourself if I’m right or wrong – 100% money back guarantee if you don’t like it!