When I was a kid I used to have this little red telescope that I got for Christmas one year. I remember setting it up on the roof of our storage shed and looking up at the moon with my dad. It wasn’t much of a telescope, but it was good enough too see some craters, and for an 8 year old kid that was pretty cool. Since then I have always liked the moon. Even to this day I find myself staring up at the night sky tracing its edge.
Alan Bean likes the moon as well. In fact he liked it so much, in 1969 he went there. He piloted a lunar module with the Apollo 12 team. Alan is one of the few folks on earth to have been close enough to touch and walk on the moon. He understands the moon in a uniquely intimate way that few have even come close to. Which is why in 1981 when Alan retired to become an artist he had this to say about painting the moon
But I’m the only one who can paint the moon, because I’m the only one who knows whether that’s right or not.
Alan was right to say that. In fact, prior to sending brave men and women into outer space, we didn’t know very much about the universe around us. Many have run tests, formulated theories, and hypothesized about the moon. But it wasn’t until human beings actually started going there did we truly start to understand our lunar friend. Collecting mineral samples, taking atmospheric readings, and studying the moon’s gravity all helped us understand our solar system, and the greater universe. We owe all of this knowledge to amazing people like Alan, who decided one day to stop staring and start going.
We can learn a lot from folks like Alan. Take for example online, most of us seem to do more staring than going. How many blog articles did you read this week? If you are anything like me, too many to count. Now, how many of those articles did you learn from and then apply to your business? For me, not many. In social media we love to talk about the latest techniques and strategies. We love reading about the next link building tactic. But how many of us are actually doing it? How many of us are being proactive and developing our own strategies?
You can learn a lot about the moon by looking through a telescope. But you can learn a lot more by actually going there. So I guess when it comes to building a business online, you have to ask yourself, “Do I need a telescope? Or a lunar module?”