Life Lessons from a Man Who Walked on the Moon - Buzz Aldrin

The most recognizable phrase in the entire history of mankind is when Neil Armstrong said “This is one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind.” What is easily forgotten is there was someone else with him and that was Buzz Aldrin. I loved his recent book titled “No Dream Is Too High” which he wrote with Ken Abraham. It was very inspirational.
In Oct 1957 Buzz Aldrin was serving in the US Airforce and stationed in Germany, the Soviet Union was well ahead in the space race. They launched Sputnik. A year later NASA was formed with the primary aim for reaching space. April 12th 1961 was when Russia sent first person to space the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
Of course we all know the rest of the story with John F. Kennedy setting the audacious vision to put a man on the moon by the time the decade was over. Interesting the first time Buzz Aldrin applied to be an astronaut he was turned down. He set the world record for space walking in his first spaceflight as pilot of Gemini 12. During the spacewalk he also took what was to be known as the first “selfie” in space.
He quotes himself saying “Your mind is like a parachute. If it isn’t open it doesn’t work.” Innovation is his middle name. Innovators are courageous and resilient. Innovation usually takes times and it is never instant. The main thing for innovation to flourish is thinking.
Apparently his dad made great efforts to get the official U.S. Postal stamp to say “First Men on the Moon.” However the postal service opted for “First Man on the moon.” Apparently as per the normal patterns of NASA Buzz Aldrin should have been the first man to walk on the moon. The commander normally stays on the spacecraft while junior officer left the spacecraft. In this case NASA changed its procedures before the launch. Buzz was ok with that and he didn’t push to be Number One.
He says that he is self-motivated and self-sufficient. He was very hard working and achieved all his goals. He advises everyone to take responsibility for their lives. He says you don’t have to go to the moon to maintain a sense of awe in life. Foster an adventurous spirit.
There is a nice passage where he says President Nixon apparently knew there was a possibility for the mission to fail. The president actually created a document which was a “what if?’ speech in case Neil and Buzz Aldrin failed in their mission.
Text of William Safire’s speech for President Richard Nixon in the event of a disaster besetting Apollo 11.
Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace. These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice. These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.
They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown. In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.
In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood. Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.
For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.
Finally Buzz Aldrin says you shouldn’t let the little irritations of life keeping you from enjoying the moment. Be patient with yourself, and be generous with others. Live life with total zest.
Finally he shares some of the life lessons he learnt as a result of walking on the Moon. Some of them are
  • The sky is not the limit.. there are footprints on the moon
  • Keep your mind open to possibilities
  • Second comes right after first
  • Write your own epitaph
  • Failure is always an option
  • Practice respect for all people
It was an excellent read and awesomely inspirational. Thanks for reading this post.
The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.


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