This past weekend marked the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. The ‘why’ of Armstrong’s famous “giant leap” became comparable to an Everest climb. He was first, and it was there. Of course, we haven’t yet colonised or mined the moon and the initial visit did little other than afford galactic bragging rights over the Russians. Was it really so important and how does it matter now?
There are three clear insights we can gain from the efforts of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin that still ring true fifty years on.
1. Alignment Inspires Great Possibilities
The event has become a common anchor point when commenting on progress, or particularly the lack of it. For example, “they can land a man on the moon, but the ICC can’t get the winning of their World Cup right!”
Traversing the lunar frontier was indeed a remarkable technological achievement and paralleled the breaking of the four-minute mile some years prior. What was once believed impossible had now been achieved. Inspire teams can band together to bring great goals to pass.
The moon landing is an enduring reminder of what can be accomplished when people align their efforts and resources to significant challenges.
2. Noble Conquests Build Hope
In a world where values have become relativised and faith has often been ridiculed, hope is all too easily lost.
Great achievements inspire people to believe that more is possible, that dreams can be realised. Leaders are dealers in hope because they show what is possible and help others believe they can achieve what some will say cannot be done.
Any Christian is a commissioned disciple-maker and therefore an influencer … and a dealer in hope.
3. Evidence will be Disputed, Whatever the Stakes
Conspiracy theorists would have us believe that the Apollo missions were Hollywood-style fantasy. The first flag planted was apparently blowing despite there being no wind, rather than accepting it had intentionally been supported. The absence of stars in film footage was proof of the use of a studio, rather than accepting that they had been washed out of the shots.
Christianity is similarly well supported. The archaeological evidence, personal life change, and textual investigation that back it up nevertheless fails to impress hardened sceptics. Something so eternally significant is perhaps less visually evidenced, meaning its prophets and preachers must carefully and compellingly define a reality once taken for granted.
Naturally, occurrences as monumental as the moon landing remain unprovable to those whose alternative accounts rest upon a supposed logic of suspicion more than a credible case.
And while prejudices remain, we see that the narrative of success can still craft its dizzying spell on the human imagination. The moon landing remains a highly-regarded milestone of history.
We still live in a generation that wants to believe that the impossible remains achievable, that significant human endeavours are still capable of rallying us to greatness.
Engineers are needed of a different kind of space today, a cultural landscape that awaits people of daring.
Those who engender belief in pursuing worthwhile visions today will paint clear pictures of their grandeur and excite others with celebrations of achievement.
The world that wants to shoot for the stars, today more than ever before craves leaders who will aspire to greatness and inspire others to follow them into an unknown that truly matters.
Could your significance still be felt, fifty years on?