John Glenn died on December 8, 2016.
I don’t post blogs very often because I don’t like to waste people’s time with trivial thoughts or things I don’t think will have much meaning for anyone.
The death of John Glenn, however, caused me to reflect on a great many things.
I’m a Wimp
I’ve never fought in combat. I’ve never stared death in the face, clenched my teeth, and charged forward.
Sure, I know how to fight. I’ve had a little training in self-defense, but the real truth is I’ve never had to use it (something for which I’m grateful.)
The men and women who have marched boldly ahead into battle are at a level I could never reach.
John Glenn and many of the other astronauts throughout the years embody that kind of courage. And then some.
Those guys volunteered for missions that they knew had a high likelihood of ending in death. They stepped into the role like rockstars, ready to take the stage no matter what the consequences.
I mean, going into space? There were so many unknowns, so many variables. I can’t imagine facing something like that, climbing into the capsule atop tons of highly combustible fuel and staring up into the sky.
Were they just brazen, cocky airplane jockeys looking for a little more fame and fortune?
Or did Glenn and the others have another reason behind what they did?
The Right Stuff
One of the phrases that was used with the early astronauts was kind of interesting. They were said to have “the right stuff.” It was a makeup that no normal human possessed.
Astronauts must be highly intelligent, in good physical condition, and most importantly, must have their minds in the right place.
Out in space, anything can go wrong in a moment’s notice. If one isn’t fully dialed in to their tasks, it can mean disaster.
That means staving off pushing away fear to get the job done.
John Glenn’s generation was (and still is) part of that group we call The Greatest Generation. They won a world war on two fronts, built interstate highways across a massive nation, and built machines that could send people into space.
What is it about that generation? What makes them so great, so unrelenting?
I’ve spoken to several members of that generation and asked them those same questions.
Their answers were remarkably simple.
Surfer’s have an interesting mindset. I was speaking to a few a long time ago, and I asked them how they dealt with the challenges the ocean presents. Waves can be erratic, inconsistent, and just when you think you’ve got it figured out, you get knocked off the board.
Their answer was simple. They said the secret to being good at it is to acknowledge and move on. You acknowledge what happened and keep pushing forward.
That’s exactly what people told me when I asked them what made The Greatest Generation so great.
They said that they had a job to do, so they just put their nose down and got to it.
One of their greatest strengths was acceptance. They accepted their challenges as part of life. They didn’t sit down and complain about troubles. They couldn’t!
If they did, the world would look much different.
Find Your Courage
You don’t have to be an astronaut to have incredible courage. You don’t have to be a soldier.
People in all walks of life must face challenges and trials. It’s part of the deal.
Your challenges may be physical or medical. They may be financial. They may be familial or social. They could be romantic.
What determines your greatness is your ability to put your nose down and get to work at overcoming the challenge. Bravery or courage isn’t always charging headlong into gunfire. For some, it is just rolling out of bed in the morning because that act takes so much out of them.
I once heard someone say that to achieve greatness, it takes time, pressure, and persistence.
Heck, that’s how I’ve published so many books. When you look at a blank page in a blank book and know you have to fill all those pages with words, it can be daunting.
What challenge are you facing? What must you do to overcome it and achieve your own greatness?
Whatever it may be, you can handle it.
Whether you’re a Christian or not, this verse from the Bible rings true. I’ve seen it over and over again in life.
Corinthians 10:13 says you will not be tested above what you are able.
That means whatever life throws at you, you can handle.
All it takes is the courage to put one foot in front of the other and keep marching.
That’s how all battles are won.