It was only in my previous article that I was writing in wonder at the images of the Curiosity rover on Mars in August 2012, magnificent illustration of the goals we can achieve – then came the news that Neil Armstrong had died…
I was only 3 when man landed on the moon. Or should that be when ‘mankind’ landed on the moon?
Armstrong always said that he only thought of his first words on the moon after launch and in the capsule before he stepped out. Part of me finds that hard to believe, but in the many documentaries I have seen about him, his love seemed to be in the testing and engineering side of things, so it does seem possible that his first words would have been airy fairy irrelevance to him.
“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” was what he came up with, and the watching world lapped up the profoundness of it.
Except Armstrong was insistent that he said it was one small step for ’a’ man – after all, without the ’a’ then man and mankind mean the same thing, and an engineer wouldn’t be wasting words like that!
He did admit that even he couldn’t hear the ’a’ when listening to it, and preferred the quote to include it in brackets, because even though it may or may not be there, it should have been!
You may think that it matters not a jot when you take a large view of that day back in 1969, so let’s do just that…
It was the first time we as a race had ever stepped foot on anywhere other than our planet. However far we eventually go into the universe, that moment on that day will always be the first.
It was a part of history, but it was living history, and with Armstrong’s death it moves into a different section of the history annals.
Armstrong was quiet man, not interested in celebrity, and he said he would always be a white socked nerdy engineer. He loved the small details, and risked his life many times as he pushed flight tests to the limits and beyond, just to see what happened.
That showed the mental strength he had, and it’s sort of fitting that the boldest, biggest, brashest of ideas – walking on the moon – was realised by someone who represented aiming for those ideas with considered and purposeful rationality.
Here’s a great picture of him back in the module after the moonwalk – looking pretty pleased with things!
So, does it matter about the man/mankind words? Well no, not really, but I like to look at it as an example of small details, and it’s small details that add up to make a big goal.
For example, when Armstrong and Aldrin got back into the module to take off, their suits had broken the ignition switch, so they had to use part of a pen to make it work! For the next mission, that switch was moved, a lesson had been taken on board quite literally, and the goal of space flight had been made easier for the next people.
Whatever your goal is, it’s likely that the small details of that goal will also have been worked out by others before you, laying out a path that you can follow to see what happens.
Look at your goal, and then look at where you are now. Map out as many of those details as you can between you and the goal, and then take your own first step!
Let me know what you think!
‘Til Next Time,
Health & happiness,
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