Five Point Eight Minutes
August 18, 2015
It struck me as funny the other day when I once again realized that in this life, no matter what, someone who has a habit of being successful will always find the way to be successful.
A successful person has it within them. They will always find the way to win. They may get knocked down, but they always get up. And they get up better and stronger. They use what they have learned. Everyone in their life is a teacher. They use every scrap of knowledge they have learned to turn the tables in their favor. They win because it's what they do.
The words of one of my close friends, John Cline, keep ringing in my ears here: "If you have been successful in the past, you can do it again." Makes perfect sense. In the end, a person will be as successful as they make their mind up to be. These teachings go back to the time of Abraham Lincoln ... and before!
John Cline makes total logical sense. If you are programmed to win, you win. You find the way, and you win. It becomes a question of how do you see yourself becoming a winner. In what way will you do it?
The very next day after cleaning out my office at work, I sat with my son Daniel, and we were laughing about the whole thing. He has just graduated from college, and I have hired him to work for the family business to get his feet wet in the real estate ownership field. He is now a full-time Property Manager, starting off by managing seven of our properties that we own, all of them vacation rental condos next to Disney World. It came to me while we were laughing about the situation. He said "What are you going to do"? I said "Go for TLI." He said "what?" I said again, "GO For TLI!"
THE LOVE OF FLORIDA
We live in central Florida. We love it here. We will continue, God willing, to live the rest of our lives here. We will always hold the Midwest in our hearts; it is who we are and where we are from, but we'll be living here as a primary address. Not to mention the zero state income taxes, but another big reason is because of Kennedy Space Center and the entire space program.
Imagine how geeked I was when one day I figured out that the Condo Association board I sat on had a former member of NASA on it, who worked on the Apollo moon program! These people are here and they wouldn't live anywhere else either.
I can step out of my front door on a beautiful Florida evening and watch a Delta 4 rocket lift into the eastern sky out across the Atlantic ocean to orbit. I set my alarm clock repeatedly and watched the last five Shuttle launches from my yard or at work as they actually happened. I have been awakened at 6a by extremely loud window-rattling sonic booms when the Shuttle returned home each time from orbit to land at KSC. One night I drove over to the cape to watch an unmanned rocket blast off to Mars. It is so amazing it can bring tears to your eyes. You just can't get that everywhere!
TLI stands for "Trans Lunar Injection." The Apollo astronauts would launch from Florida and into orbit atop the mighty Saturn V. Once in a low earth "Parking orbit," they would determine after a few orbits that everything was GO or NO GO for the moon.
After all the checks, double-checks, and triple-checks, it was GO for the moon. To get to the moon, you must leave the safety of earth orbit. To do that, you have to re-fire your rocket engines that will push you out of earth orbit and toward the moon. That burn is called Trans Lunar Injection, the famous TLI. You are leaving everything behind and striking out anew. It was described by many Apollo astronauts as the most scary and yet exciting time of the entire mission. This is the point when you leave the safety of earth orbit and are truly headed out on a trajectory that is taking you to an entirely new world.
The very first manned spacecraft to ever perform a TLI was Apollo 8, when they fired the Saturn V 3rd stage J2 engine for 350 seconds - five-point-eight minutes! That pre-dawn burn was visible and recorded by people on the ground in Hawaii. It was described from the ground as looking like "a car headlights coming over a hill in fog." I wish I could have seen that. At the end of the five-point-eight minutes, the TLI is over, the J2 engine shuts down, with the spacecraft going so fast that it escapes the gravity of earth and is headed to the moon, like it or not. The TLI is five-point-eight minutes of thrust which accelerates the spacecraft from 17,000 MPH to over 24,000 MPH, and breaking the bonds of earth.
GO or NO GO
In many small ways, we feel like those early Apollo astronauts about to execute a perfect TLI. Parking orbit has been achieved, systems are checking out fine, all is GO and now all we have to do is push that little button for the ride of a lifetime. There's no turning back.
Things happen for a reason. You learn what you learn in life to be able to take on the next assignment. The next assignment will always be bigger, more challenging, more difficult, but far more rewarding. But to get there, you must have your TLI moment.
What is your TLI? Where are you headed in your career and in life? Have you planned it out? You have worked, sweated, learned, laughed, cried, and made it this far.
Ladies and gentlemen, you are GO for TLI. Let's light that J2!