A sudden enlightenment hits me as I am interviewing Naveen Jain, the billionaire entrepreneur disrupting space travel. His company Moon Express is the first private enterprise in the history of space travel to get permission from the US government to leave this world to explore another. There are two types of awakening – kensho and satori. Kensho teaches us lessons through pain and adversity while satori is a momentum in which a certain truth just comes to us and expands our consciousness. We mostly learn from kensho but every now and then we experience satori. I don’t just hear and record Naveen’s words. I experience them with satori:
– Absolutely nothing is impossible. The minute you believe something is impossible, it becomes impossible for you, not for someone else. The fact that you are the one who believes it’s impossible means that you are not the one who is going to solve that problem. Someone else is going to solve that problem. To some extent, you create your destiny, you create the future. The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.
I have heard similar messages before but the combination of his willingness to talk to me in person, the story we were co-creating for my book, and my presence in a VIP lounge full of extraordinary entrepreneurs make this moment so powerful. At the time, kensho is also present in my life – I was in a situation where I had to make a month-long trip across Spain and attend a tech conference in Portugal with less than €10 per day. Low rates and delayed payments – I decided to go on that trip despite all the adversities. My intuition was telling me that I had to and so I took a risk and boarded that plane. I took a small loan, I hitchhiked, I slept at strangers’ houses, I ate pasta with plain tomato sauce. But I made it to that conference where I meet with Naveen Jain and a few other brilliant minds who help me raise above my limiting beliefs.
‘I need to set more powerful goals and have bigger dreams. I can achieve so much more than what I am achieving right now. I am stronger than my adversity.’
Naveen is not only dreaming of going to the Moon, he and his team from Moon Express are about to achieve more than what took three superpowers (America, Russia, and China) to achieve in the past. Moon Express’ landing on the Moon will showcase that a small group of people are capable of doing something that only the superpowers were capable of doing before. It will show that the next superpowers are going to be the entrepreneurs, not the countries.
Naveen is going to the Moon but he is also taking us with him. I ask him if space traveling will become affordable for ordinary people like me, in this lifetime. I expect the answer to be set in the far future when we will either be too old or dead. But he tells me that space traveling will become affordable in the next 10-15 years. As affordable as $10,000 for a return flight with Moon Express. Imagine going to the Moon for a weekend to have fun, or taking your honey on a honeymoon there. It will take as long as it is to fly from San Francisco to Sydney.
– We choose to go to the Moon not because it is easy but because it is a good business – he paraphrases John F. Kennedy.
Where others see nothing but hurdles, Naveen sees opportunities. He tells me that it is much more important to understand how successful people think, rather than follow their habits and what they do. ‘Follow their mindset,’ he says. ‘The way of looking at the problem is what makes someone successful or not so successful.’ Naveen is not afraid of failure as he sees it as a stepping stone for success.
– The sky is not the limit because there is no such thing as a sky. The sky is a fragment of our imagination. Our imagination is the only limit. When you go from the Earth to the Moon you never call mom and say, ‘Mom, I just passed the sky.’
The interaction with Naveen gives me a lot to think about and so I sit down and ponder. I realize that my dreams are too small. In this moment, I quit doing what I do and change my direction. Lately, I have been feeling under-appreciated but it was me who was responsible for appreciating myself and my work. I have undervalued myself and as a result, others have undervalued me too. I can achieve so much more. Schools and universities teach us to be ‘realistic’ when setting our goals. For so long, I have been afraid of expressing my crazy ideas in front of other people who wouldn’t get it and might even laugh at me. I now give my imagination full permission to launch my goals into space and it starts to paint the dream of me having written a book and impacting the lives of millions. I need to keep traveling the world, meeting more awesome people like Naveen Jain. From this moment on, I know I will.