Telling Yourself No

“I really believe that if the political leaders of the world could see their planet from a distance of 100,000 miles their outlook could be fundamentally changed.” – Michael Collins – Apollo 11 Command Module Pilot

Tonight,we were fortunate to be in the audience at the McGlohon Theatre in Charlotte to hear astronaut Terry Virts speak.


Virts started as a pilot in the United States Air Force flying F-16’s, then became a test pilot, and finally a NASA astronaut performing extensive work on the International Space Station including over 200 days in space. Amazing stuff indeed.

Being a bit of a space nerd, I was excited just to hear him speak and see some of his candid photographs from the ISS. He took over 300,000 photos from space… here are 3 to give you some flavor, courtesy of his Instagram page: @astro_terry

One thing from his talk immediately struck me however. While recounting his days in the Air Force and his path towards being an astronaut, he shared the story of first applying to be a test pilot.

Virts was still in flight school when word spread that NASA was taking applications for the next round of test pilots. Literally everyone around him discouraged him from applying. After all, he still hadn’t even graduated flight school, the others had more experience, etc etc.

“Never tell yourself no”, Terry said, emphasizing that this alone was his driving force behind filling out the application. Spoiler alert: he was accepted and became the youngest test pilot in history.

How often are we the ones to say we are incapable of doing something?

If you want to be a doctor or a lawyer or an astronaut, sure, there is a path you must take. It can’t and won’t happen tomorrow. And you may fail. But if you tell yourself you could never do it in the first place… you’ll never know.

After all, you don’t want to get to the end of your life and ask: What if my whole life has been wrong?

Those are the 8 scariest words I can think of.

If there is something you’ve dreamed of doing, but have told yourself you can’t, for any reason…when would now be a good time to change that?

See you on the journey…

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