Scott’s Thoughts: Chain Reactions

“What was most significant about the lunar voyage was not that man set foot on the Moon but that they set eye on the earth.”

Norman Cousins (1915 – 1990), American political journalist, author, professor, and world peace advocate.

Earth rising from the moon.In 1970, Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger, an associate director of science at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, was asked by a Zambia-based nun named Sister Mary Jucunda why he could support spending billions of dollars on an ongoing research project into a piloted mission to Mars when so many children were starving on Earth.

In a lengthy and compassionate reply (the full text of which may be found here), Dr. Stuhlinger included these comments, which have stuck in my mind:

“Although our space program seems to lead us away from our Earth and out toward the moon, the sun, the planets, and the stars, I believe that none of these celestial objects will find as much attention and study by space scientists as our Earth. It will become a better Earth, not only because of all the new technological and scientific knowledge which we will apply to the betterment of life, but also because we are developing a far deeper appreciation of our Earth, of life, and of man.”


“…significant progress in the solutions of technical problems is frequently made not by a direct approach, but by first setting a goal of high challenge which offers a strong motivation for innovative work, which fires the imagination and spurs men to expend their best efforts, and which acts as a catalyst by including chains of other reactions.”

What I love about this section of Dr. Stuhlinger’s letter is the way in which he expresses how ambitious challenges without clear and immediate applications can have a cascading inspirational effect on others. Science discoveries aside, the mere attempt at greatness can drive others to greatness.

This is the more complex and worthy spirit behind that simplest of phrases “dream big.” We dream big not only for ourselves, but to provoke others to dream. Here is the source of greatness, the scope of our ambition beyond the pragmatic.

Reserve some space in your life for grand pursuits. There are imaginative and indirect consequences. Those chain reactions in others may also be what our world needs.

Here’s to your continued success,

Scott Levitt

Scott Levitt
President, Oakley Signs & Graphics

P.S.: Download Inspiration Today:
Scott’s Thoughts: 137 Perspectives You Can Use to See Your Business, Your Clients & Yourself in a New Way:

Tags: ,

Please support the partners who make Tuesday Tactics possible:


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.