The Pioneer 10 vs. the Energizer Bunny
It was March 3, 1972 and NASA launched Pioneer 10.
It’s primary mission was simple…
Reach Mars. Photograph the planet and its moons. Then beam back the data to earth.
That was it! It was a simple plan. But, based on the technology of the day, it was considered a bold plan, because no earth satellite had ever made it past Mars.
So they launched Pioneer 10, hoped for the best, and then waited and waited.
And then something unexpected happened.
Pioneer 10 reached Jupiter on November 6, 1973. It sent back 500 images.
Here is one of them…
And that’s when Pioneer 10 did something surprising. It kept going! It crossed the orbit of Saturn in 1976. It crossed the orbit of Uranus in 1979.
By June 13, 1983, it crossed the orbit of Neptune and achieved the honor of becoming the first human-made object to leave the proximity of the major planets of the Solar System.
And here’s the crazy part: Pioneer 10 kept going!
The Pioneer 10’s mission came to an official end on March 31, 1997 because its signal finally became too weak to send back any helpful information to us here on earth. By this point in had reached the incredible distance of 67 AU from the Sun.
As it continued traveling through space, scientists could still pick up a weak radio communication from Pioneer 10. They picked up the last, very faint, radio communication from Pioneer 10 on January 23, 2003.
The total duration of Pioneer 10’s mission was 30 years, 10 months, 22 days.
That is amazing considering that it’s been said that the engineers who built Pioneer 10 only planned on it having a useful life of just 3 years!
Long-Time Perspective: The Most Accurate Predictor of Social and Economic Mobility
This story reminds me of something that Brian Tracy once said in an issue of his Time Management Success Newsletter.
It was in an article called, “Consider The Consequences.” This is what he said…
“Doctor Edward Banfield of Harvard University, after more than 50 years of research, concluded that “long-time perspective” is the most accurate single predictor of upward social and economic mobility in America.
“Long time perspective turns out to be more important than family background, education, race, intelligence, connections or virtually any other single factor in determining your success in life and at work.
“Your attitude toward time, your “time horizon,” has an enormous impact on your behavior and your choices. People who take the long view of their lives and careers always seem to make much better decisions about their time and activities than people who give very little thought to the future.
Think About Your Future
“Successful people have a clear future orientation. They think five, ten and twenty years out into the future. They analyze their choices and behaviors in the present to make sure that they are consistent with the long-term future that they desire.
“In your work, having a clear idea of what is really important to you in the long-term makes it much easier for you to make better decisions about your priorities in the short-term.”
Did you catch the part where he said, “Long time perspective turns out to be more important than family background, education, race, intelligence, connections or virtually any other single factor in determining your success in life and at work?”
That fact reveals the amazing power of seeing farther into the future.
A Superpower in a Nearsighted World
We all crave “different” so much, yet the strange fact is that we all continue to desperately cling to “the same.” We continue to copy the majority, instead of choosing originality. We think like everyone else. We act like everyone else and we focus on the same things they do.
The engineers of Pioneer 10 were only thinking three years into the future, but the fact is that most people aren’t even thinking three years ahead.
We live in a world where the reality is that most people only see a few weeks or months down the road. (The fact is that a lot of people are even more nearsighted than that. Many can’t see farther than the “now” and they make most of their decisions based only on it.)
That means that you don’t need to see that far ahead in order to see new and better options than most people around you perceive. Did you notice that Brian Tracy DIDN’T say that in order to be successful you had to only (or always) think twenty years into the future?
No! He said that sometimes successful people think ten years into the future and other times they think five years into the future!
Let’s go back to the story of the Pioneer 10 for second.
Imagine what information could have been obtained, if they only had longer plans! What if they just doubled the length of their plans and planned for it to be useful for 6 years? I bet that their actual results would have increased exponentially!
(It was estimated that on January 1, 2016, Pioneer 10 was predicted to be 114.07 AU from the Earth, which is about 10 billion miles. It’s calculated to be currently traveling at 12.04 km/s or 26,900 mph, in relation to the Sun. And it is continuing to travel further and further away at a distance of 2.54 AU per year.)
So start by doubling whatever your current long-term perspective is and keep increasing it until you are regularly imagining, thinking and planning five years ahead in your life and business.
It might take awhile, but you’ll make it. What then? Keep increasing and stretching your “time perspective” muscles until your perspective reaches ten years and finally twenty years into the future.
If you’ll start by just looking a little further, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you start to see things differently and you’ll begin to make such uncommon decisions that you will begin to actually experience the “different” we’re all craving so much.
I guess it all comes down to this fact: if we really want to experience a different tomorrow, then we need to begin by thinking more about it and all the days that come after it.