If Galileo had said “Impossible!” we probably wouldn’t have SatNavs or a Gaia star charting telescope

I first published this article back in December 2010 when the rains came to Brisbane and it rained, and rained, and rained. It rained so hard that the banks of the Brisbane River burst flooding low lying areas around the city; it also flooded across Queensland with three-quarters of the state declared a disaster zone.

It wasn’t the start to a new year anyone anticipated; there was loss of life, devastation and chaos, and an inland tsunami. Communities immediately sprang into action with neighbours helping fellow neighbours; the emotional toll was great with some still recovering. Many people volunteered willing to help with anything from sandbagging to removing rubbish. I was blessed with the opportunity to help others and was called in to work for and support the Community Recovery effort. Although the memories are still fresh and will always remain, it’s back to business as usual with hopefully an event of that magnitude never being repeated.

This weather event happened nearly three years ago during an intense goal-setting session, and while I did achieve some of my goals the rest took a back seat – the cabin in the mountains with an ocean view still high on my list. Now that another year is about to dawn I suspect lists of New Year’s resolutions, intentions and goals are being furiously scribbled down with the battle cry of “2014 is DEFINITELY my year to achieve!!”

The list might look slightly different to those in previous years because the global financial downturn continues to have an impact and the recovery process slow. Job losses have been high and without jobs many are doing it tough. The incoming Queensland government of 2012 resulted in severe funding cutbacks which also translated to the loss of more jobs which appeared to filter to the other States.

Yes, it’s negative press however all things considered life is never static although it may feel like it. In fact life is much like the tarot’s Wheel of Fortune card, or even the great circle of life, the wheels keep turning, sometimes so tediously slow that it feels like we’re not getting anywhere, but take heart and know that it does keep moving, and life keeps changing.

“It’s the Circle of Life

And it moves us all

Through despair and hope

Through faith and love

Till we find our place

On the path unwinding

In the Circle

The Circle of Life”

~ Circle of Life from the movie The Lion King, sung by Carmen Twillie, composed by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice

So while it’s true there’s unrest around the planet and we’re in the midst of global change, it’s important to keep moving forward by getting back to basics with our goals and moving onwards and upwards to achieve things that will benefit not only ourselves but for the global community also – what you do matters – you matter…

Some goals will be achieved quickly, some will be in the longer term, and then there are the biggies, the goals which can take a very, very long time to achieve, so long in fact it takes several lifetimes to successfully achieve the outcome. With this realisation comes the possibility that my own goals might one day help future generations in a way currently beyond my understanding.

These goals can cause fear to strike at the heart of the goal setter because it means truly stepping outside the familiarity of their comfort-zone and become seriously proactive towards achieving them. It goes without saying that there is a cost involved that isn’t entirely financial and involves time. Time is a precious commodity and some goals will possibly take a lifetime or more to achieve. It will also require enormous effort of many, an unwavering commitment, inner fortitude, and the all-important follow-through – doing what you say you’re going to do. PS it will also take a mountain of money so start making friends with those who are willing to sponsor you.

Galileo Galilei, the father of modern observational astronomy, science, modern physics, and many other interesting things, might not have realized at the time that his initial goals and convictions back in the Renaissance era were far-reaching. I’m sure nothing much swayed his opinion about what he knew, with the exception of the Catholic Church. The Church wanted Galileo to recant his support of the heliocentric view (that planets orbit around the sun) and when he didn’t back down he was condemned as a heretic and unfortunately, ended up having to spend the rest of his life under house arrest. It turns out he was right and they were wrong.

Painting a picture now, it’s possible that one evening Galileo had a few of his mates over for dinner, and after a glass or two of a plucky red and some brisk conversation on life, the world and the Universe, they ventured outside to admire the magnificent night skies. The stars shone brightly that night and the moon full in all its silvery glory when Galileo paused for a moment, turned to his mates and said “Dudes, one day we’re going to walk on the moon and have satellites orbiting the Earth and exploring space.” His mates replied in unison “No? Really? Dude, that’s a totally awesome idea!” Galileo continued “Imagine if we could somehow send a satellite navigation system up there to help the people of Earth? What if a satellite mapped all the roads, of all the countries of the world? Wouldn’t that also be something?”

Note: There is a satellite navigation system currently being built by the EU and the ESA called Galileo; GNSS for short. Currently there are two prototype satellites orbiting the earth with four operational Galileo satellites launched in 2011 (see above picture) and it appears that Sir Richard Branson founder and chairman of Virgin Group will be using Europe’s Galileo GNNS system from 2014 onwards.

By the way, if you’re someone who’s been there, done that here on earth you can fly into space on WhiteKnightTwo. Branson’s Virgin Galactic group have announced LauncherOne as the revolutionary vehicle enabling WhiteKnightTwo to take you to into space. LauncherOne will be released from WhiteKnightTwo at an altitude of 50,000 feet – bookings are now open and refunds on deposits refundable – please check his website for further details.

Little did Galileo and his guests know how far his reach would extend 😉

Imagine if Galileo had the mindset of the Church at the time or had said “It’s impossible! It can’t be done!” or he stopped following his passions, or didn’t care enough about his convictions and push the proverbial envelope, the world today might be a little different.

I don’t mean to be an alarmist with this snippet of information but some goals truly are of the exceptionally long-term kind. As a matter of fact goal-setting in some form or other goes back by more than just a few thousand years – huge far-reaching goals continue to be improved upon today. Imagine the look of shock on the faces of villagers when the prototype of the first stone wheel accidentally rolled downhill. People probably stood there scratching their heads thinking WTH, or they ran for the hills as they probably did when fire by friction was accidentally discovered, and which caused the first man-made bushfire.  Fast forward to modern times and there’s a wheel of sorts turning all kinds of equipment inside the home, in business, for pleasure, or on the moon, Mars and the great beyond.

Several examples below are of long-term goals created from an inspired thought or dream which have helped and continue to help, the environment and communities in profound ways:

* In 1989 Ian Kiernan and Kim McKay founded the Clean up Australia organisation. Clean up Australia is an annual event held on the first of March where communities band together and help clean up their local environment. In 1993 Kiernan and McKay approached the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to take this concept to the world stage and called it Clean up the World. This event occurs each September globally encouraging and inspiring communities to preserve and clean up their environments.

* World Vision was founded back in 1950 by a young American missionary, Dr Robert (Bob) Pierce, who in 1947 was sent to China and South Korea by the Youth for Christ missionary organisation. World Vision is now one of the largest of all relief organisations and as well as child sponsorship World Vision also holds the 30 & 40 hour famines.

* J.K. Rowling, author extraordinaire of the Harry Potter books was riding a crowded commuter train in 1990 when the idea of the young wizard Harry filtered into her conscious awareness. Later that evening Ms Rowling started writing her first book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The book wasn’t finished until 1995 and in during the following year was rejected by 12 publishing houses, until it was finally picked up by a small publishing house called Bloomsbury. The rest as they say is history.

* If you haven’t yet heard of Paul Cave, you’ll be pleased to hear Oprah and many others have benefited from him his work, namely that of BridgeClimb. On 12 December 2010 Oprah Winfrey, the Queen of Chat, and a group of her audience members climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This would not have been possible without Paul Cave, the Chairman and Founder of BridgeClimb. Through his personal dream, inspiration, belief, commitment (and lots of it) of the bridge climb came to be. His dream began in 1989 after he had organised a bridge climb as part of the YPO (Young Presidents Organisation) World Congress. Nine years later the climb was launched and is now an award winning tourist attraction.

* Oprah Winfrey, American Talk Show Host, Producer, Actress, Philanthropist, was born into poverty and experienced hardship during her younger years. She was raped at the age of nine, had a child (which died in infancy) by 14, and was bullied in high school. It was through her father’s inspiration that she strove to achieve more with her life. Oprah won a scholarship at 16 and began work for CBS at 19. She eventually became the Queen of Chat, is founder of O, the Oprah Magazine, co-founder of Oxygen Media, and a successful actress, and is one of the most influential women on the planet. She recently starred in the American movie The Butler, and was a box office hit.

These are but a few examples of goals which began life as a flash of inspiration years earlier, or the result of a firm decision made, and in all probability involved countless sleepless nights, much frustration, and an incredible stress level. While it’s true that there were many factors involved in achieving these goals successfully including the support of many, it did require perseverance, planning, money, tenacity, balls, courage and follow-through to be ultimately successfully.

It’s not impossible nor is it too late to begin the dream that’s in your heart. If you’re one of the few people on the planet who has yet to see the movie Avatar please do, it’s a visually enthralling action adventure sci-fi movie. It took James Cameron, film director, film producer, screenwriter, and editor extraordinaire, 15 years from start to the movie’s release date, to complete. The issue was technology which had yet to catch up with his vision, so while he waited he kept himself busy with other work projects.

Sir Peter Jackson, a NZ film director, producer, actor, and screenwriter, undertook one of the biggest and most ambitious projects to date, that of The Lord of the Rings trilogy which took eight years to complete – no small goal that’s for sure! Oh, and in case you didn’t know, Jackson was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2002. He was later knighted (as a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit) by then Governor-General Anand Satyanand at a ceremony in Wellington in April, 2010. The Hobbit adventures continue with the release of The Hobbit Part Two on Boxing Day 2013,

If striving to achieve your goal presents locked doors, back track to where you began your plan and either fine-tune, or overhaul it; check which belief or beliefs are getting in the way (beliefs have a way of holding us back when we want to go forward); look outside the square; change your perspective, then get back in the driver’s seat and enjoy the ride. You have one life, so live it well and make this the best year yet 🙂

Best of luck for 2014 – may the year be all that you dream it will be 🙂