3 Universal Lessons I Learned from Naveen Jain and Richard Branson’s “Moonshots”
Naveen Jain is an ambitious philanthropist and innovative entrepreneur who is creating new solutions to the world’s greatest problems. His companies boast pioneering technology that will change the future, such as Moon Express, a space rocket that will be designed to mine the surface of the moon to create abundant clean energy here on Earth.
A Moonshot is an “unachievable challenge,” a goal which may be crazy to all others but inspires you. In his book, Jain outlines the mentality, habits and a formula to create a prosperous entrepreneurial mindset and make innovations materialize. While Jain’s book is written for entrepreneurs, the core principles are valuable to all professional backgrounds and can help to inspire you to take your own Moonshot.
A Mindset of Possibility is Cultivated
Our daily routine is orchestrated by the goals we have set out to accomplish: we forge every new habit to fulfill our primary mindset, whether or not we’ve even consciously decided what our goals are. By examining our actions as a projection of our mindset, we can understand if we are driven by a “scarcity mindset” or one of possibility.
A scarcity-driven mindset promotes maintaining the status quo: it will swat away any thought of fulfilling a larger goal by discouraging your dreams as unrealistic or not cautious. Having a possibility mindset doesn’t mean being irrational; it means using your imagination to visualize what the world would look if you accomplished your goal. What would change? What would you feel like? How would others respond to your goal?
Practicing assertive imagination allows you to create various drafts of how you could get to your new goal and over time maintain you on course because your mindset is inherently self-adjusting: you can always come up new path to the same destination.
Choosing to look at yourself and the world through a lens of beneficial possibility can open your horizon to accomplish virtually anything you can imagine.
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Unfortunately, my morning routine — being a human whirlpool of flurry so I can graze my basic checklist before I get out the door — isn’t as harmless as I hoped it would be. These collections of daily unmindful habits intoxicate our lives and cannot be just stuffed away to think about later. Even in just practicing thinking about waking up earlier to improve my morning routine, I was instantly thinking of reasons why that wouldn’t work.
Restructuring your mindset to work for you, not against you, is an exercise in and of itself. But by taking control of our mindset, we can be sure we are always working to build our aspirations. Consider the goals you had in the beginning of this year. How many of them have you accomplished? Imagine if this coming year, you had a mindset geared to consider new strategies that would help you persevere and accomplish your objectives. How much more would you be able to achieve?
For entrepreneurs: What would your community, your country, and the world look like with your business? Far from blindly jumping into an unwise venture, a mindset of possibility helps you to deeply consider your strategy, prepare for your upcoming projects, imagine future struggles and take precautions without ever having to spend money.
Look for Solutions and Be Curious
Ventures such as landing on the moon, airplane travel, and even elevators were ideas that the majority of society considered absolutely absurd until the technology gradually became mainstream. Looking at the world as a beacon of opportunities rather than a sea of impossible problems is how inventors and entrepreneurs who have changed the course of history approached issues at hand.
Currently in our lifetime, innovators like Naveen Jain and Elon Musk are actively preparing for a world where we could celebrate Christmas on Mars. Instead of thinking how ridiculous that is, they are asking: “How?”. It is important to put into context how ideas that were once disapproved daydreams have become a part of everyday life: computers, electricity, and cars were all once thought to be unuseful and dangerous.
Even experts are not immune to close-mindedness. According to Jain, “Once you become competent in a particular domain, you can only improve it incrementally — you can never disrupt it. Disruption happens when someone who has no idea about your industry begins to challenge the very foundations of everything that the experts have taken for granted.”
An innovator approaches the great problems of our generation by asking how this can be done, how can we as a society harvest abundant clean energy or efficiently produce enough food for our growing population. Even if we are not entrepreneurs or inventors, we can be open to new ways to solve our collective problems and have an open mind to support the new current and future technologies that will help humanity.
Merge Different Fields of Knowledge
In order to encourage innovations in oil spill recovery technology following the Deepwater Horizon Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Jain and the team at XPRIZE initiated Women’s Safety, a global competition that challenges teams to leverage technology to empower communities with a transformative solution that ensures women’s safety. One of the teams that made the finals was a dentist, a mechanic, and a tattoo artist. The machine they built, using their respective knowledge of their fields and combining them, was twice as efficient as the existing oil spill recovery technology.
Approaching problems by tapping into your own accumulated knowledge can help forge an unique solution. In whichever area you wish to study or work for, knowing you can contribute constructively because of your professional background and hobbies will help you to be more confident in finding solutions.
Having a discouraged mindset, that a certain area is beyond your capabilities, not only stunts your growth and self-esteem, but will also rule out the possibility of connecting with others and creating exciting possibilities. Whether you are looking into a career, hobby, or lifestyle, know that you are not starting from scratch but have the opportunity to bring a special informed take that others will also grow on.