What the comet landing teaches us about life

I’m sure at this point you are all aware of the historic moment in space last week. With the European space agency (esa) landing a robot on a comet, we reached another significant milestone for human innovation and determination. The mission was incredibly complex and required extreme accuracy. The best analogy I’ve heard is that this mission was similar to throwing a baseball around the earth 193 times and hitting the strike zone.

It was a mission that took ten years. Ten years. And that was from launch. There was undoubtedly years of planning ahead of that. So someone, somewhere, started a project 20 years ago to land on a comet. Think about that level of dedication. Do you have a singular goal for 20 years from now? Are you willing to plan it for the next 10 years before even beginning the execution phase?

Some goals are great for the start now attitude. If you want to lose weight, start now. Find financial stability? Start now.

Some are bigger. Do you want to have the next Amazon or Facebook or Tesla? Maybe some planning is in order. I’m not saying waiting ten years is required, but do you have the patience if it takes that long? And what if, once you start, it takes ten more years?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a wildly impatient person at times. I love quick results and get frustrated without them, but some really great payoffs, life changing payoffs, only come after time.

Point 1 – Great change and great accomplishments can take time and patience. Sometimes patience before you can even get started.

Now are you ready for the really bothersome part? Philae, the lander, worked for less than 3 days after landing. Don’t get me wrong, this is a huge success. The landing itself was beyond comprehension, and we received some great data from Philae to review. What’s bothersome is that 20 years after a dream, the actual mission was less than a long weekend. I can’t imagine the void left in the people working on that mission. They have chased it for so long that the elation when the device landed must have been overwhelming. Now that Philae is asleep, and the euphoria is ebbing they must be psychologically drained. We experience that after our team wins the Superbowl. I remember feeling that drain after my eldest son was born.

It was a moment I spent months preparing for, and was one of the most special moments in my life. I had failed to prepare for the idea that while the moment would be special, it would be a lifetime of work after that moment that would actually make the difference.

Point 2 – If you focus on one moment as your goal, prepare for a letdown when you get there.

Similar to ESA, who will now pour over the data from Philae for years, the mission isn’t really over once you hit that goal.

For those who haven’t kept up with what I’m working on lately, my wife and I have helped to launch a plant of Church Unlimited in San Antonio.  More info can be found here or like our Facebook page. My wife and I have invested in creating a campus in San Antonio for over a year. We planned for months, and I can guarantee that it has been in the heart and mind of Pastor Bil Cornelius for much much longer.

We had our first meeting just over a month ago, and 250 people joined us to launch this new campus. It was a huge milestone, and it would have been easy to be let down once that marker was reached. Just like with the lander or raising my oldest child, some of the most important work happens after you reach the goal.

Point 3 – A goal takes maintenance and work, even after you reach it.


Point 4 – Embrace the mission after the goal, so you don’t get letdown by reaching the goal.

For those who are building their dreams I hope this helps to plan what will happen in the future. You are unlimited by what you can achieve.