Can Rockets Have Friends?


“It’s not rocket science.”

I have always disliked that statement.  I know when people say it, they are just trying to make the point that “it” (whatever “it” is) is easy to understand.  But the fact that so many people have been pitting easy stuff against rocket science — and they have been doing it for such a long time — that cliche has now given rocket science a bad rep — as thought it can’t offer a very helpful analogy to get you through a challenging bout.  It can.  Rocketry and astrodynamics have been giving me a huge amount of peace lately.  I don’t care if that sounds weird.  It’s true.  I’ll explain.

You can possibly tell from my last post that I strongly rely on metaphors.  I think metaphors (and all poetic forms, really) are great at capturing the essence of things that usually can’t be captured.  That feeling or experience you just can’t put into words?  Voila.  Along comes a metaphor and does it for you.  Anyway, I have another metaphor that might also apply to you.

But you’re going to have to put up with two terms borrowed from rocket science.  And even though it is rocket science, the metaphor is very easy to get.  So easy, in fact, that I am counting on you sharing some aspect of your own rocket-reality below.  Promise?  Okay, here goes.

There are all kinds of things in the air:

  • pollen
  • insects
  • kites
  • hang-gliders
  • birds
  • hot-air balloons
  • helicopters
  • jets
  • rockets!

A bumblebee is not a Boeing 747-8, and that’s perfectly okay.

Now, it’s interesting (at least to a geek like me) to think about how differently each of these move:  some meander leisurely in curved lines… some move quickly on a horizontal line… but only one — the last one — moves forcefully, powerfully, in an ascending vertical line.

Rockets are different than other vessels of flight.  They’re combustible.  They shed stuff off of themselves to accelerate their speed.  They leave Earth’s orbit.  Rockets take a lot of time, money and intelligence to build… and then after all that investment, they are geared to do one or two phenomenal things that cannot be easily done by others.

Are you starting to feel my drift?  If a rocket really were a person, I promise you, average minds would clamor together to call them “fanatical,” “strange,” “crazy,” “too intense,” or some equally endearing term unique minds are generally accused of.

Have you been nurturing something great… something uncommon and extraordinary?  Have you been tending to a vision, goal or audacious hope that you know will make your life and someone else’s life better?  Than you, my friend, are a Rocket.

And now I’m going to share two words that will instantly give you a sense of relief because they will provide a frame and context for the hard part of being a Rocket:

The first term is drag, which is simply resistance that opposes your motion.  There are many forms of drag (e.g. limited time/resources/expertise and fear) but Rocket-Minds always seem to find ways to blast through those challenges.  We are resourceful like that.  But the one kind of drag that literal rockets don’t ever have to come against is relational drag — people who resist and oppose your motion.  Maybe they don’t “get it” (usually the case).  Maybe they are petty heel-snappers.  Whatever the reason for their resistance and opposition, relational drag is a downer because in order to be true to your rocket nature, you will have to shed what doesn’t propel you.  And, relationally speaking, that’s just hard.

But you know what’s harder?  Not moving forward.  Denying your rocket-ness and pretending you are a frisbee.

Be your super-blasting-high-speed-ascending self!  And if others think your launch is a little too loud, or fiery, or focused… they have just self-eliminated.  Jettison!  Don’t be sorry about that.  It’s how people, systems and society evolves.  Push upward.

Speaking of pushing upward, that brings us to our second term, which is thrust.  Thrust is force that moves you in your Desired Direction.  It is the complete opposite of drag.  When days or projects or conversations give you a sense of drag, you must immediately find or create a greater source of thrust.  Find out what fuels your rocket (e.g. nature? percussion? yoga?) and get plenty of it.

And to answer the question that titles this post, “Can Rockets Have Friends?” the answer is, “of course.”  As long as those friends understand a rocket needs thrust.  Not drag.

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3 Responses to “Can Rockets Have Friends?”

  1. Erika Harris Says:

    Check out this 3 min. 11 sec. launch:

    Watch for the jettison at 2:22.

  2. Niki Wonoto Says:

    hey, that’s soo true!
    u’ve given such an excellent metaphor about ‘us’, highly-sensitive people! I feel ya! :)
    it’s funny, because of so many metaphors i’ve come up during my course of life, only this time i’ve heard of such beautiful metaphor…using a piece of ‘machine’ ie: Rocket , to illustrate perfectly about my (our) nature!
    thanks for writing this, Erika! :)
    it’ll certainly comes in handy, whenever i’ve found myself in doubts or problems in life!

  3. Ekavira Verma Says:

    I feel your pain. I never had any luck whatsoever with this kind of thing, either.
    So happy to know I’m not alone!

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