The presence of Sir Richard Branson triggered me this week.
Sir Richard Branson, who added the accomplishment of 'Astronaut' to his very long list of achievements.
It wasn't Sir Richard himself, nor his spacey activities that triggered me, however. It was everyone on social media who, without thought or consideration, chose to condemn him for his 'selfish' non-environmental behaviour in a time when the world is struggling, in a time when we need people to step up and do good, thoughtful things that make a positive difference to humanity and the world, at large.
And, yet, here was Sir Richard flying up into space.
And being brought down to earth with words and phrases like "rich white man" and "privileged" and "gigantic ego", to name but a few of the descriptions I read about him.
When did we turn into a race which only saw, and happily condemned, what we perceive to be the bad in others? When did we choose to so openly and so freely spread hurt, anger, condemnation, hate towards a person because we think we know them based on our personal judgements of how others should live, should behave, especially those who are deemed privileged with apparently gigantic egos, the rich white man?
Who are we to judge another?
I am not a religious person, I choose a spiritual path, however, the phrase that has been going round and round in my head since I read the first damning post about Sir Richard has been: "let he who is without sin, cast the first stone".
Why do we look to highlight the negatives in others? Why do we seek to uncover the flaws in others? Why do we so quickly and so hungrily judge others and try to sully their name? Have we, as a species, evolved so little from the witch-hunts of the 17th century?
Is it not a better road to walk where we look for and celebrate the good in people? Isn't it better for our vibrational energy, the vibrational energy of those we are connected with and who are impacted by our thoughts and words, the vibrational energy of our species and the world as a whole?
Sir Richard is an easy target, for those who wish to condemn him but, I have gratefully found, for those of us who wish to celebrate and thank him.
It took only a few seconds to unearth articles about him which said things like:
"Branson, 70, has made a pledge to give away half of his fortune to charity, which could be a significant amount since the Virgin Group founder has a net worth of about $5.9 billion." [Source: Market Realist]
"Branson has pledged to commit $3 billion, all profits from his travel firms over the next ten years, to the reduction of global warming." [Source: Look To The Stars]
Indeed, in 2004, he created the non-profit foundation, "Virgin Unite", designed to unite people and entrepreneurial ideas to create opportunities for a better world. Since its conception, Sir Richard, through Virgin Unite, has created initiatives such as The Elders, Ocean Unite, the Carbon War Room, to name but a few. I could go on...
Sir Richard has a vision to make space travel accessible to everyone. And yet, those who understand so little of what this could achieve, sit comfortably in their armchair and criticise him.
If you google astronaut quotes you'll inevitably find quotes about how looking back on our planet, Earth, changes a person forever. They return from space a different person. It's called the "Overview Effect":
"Orbiting Earth in the spaceship, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it!" ~ Yuri Gagarin, Cosmonaut
"When we look down at the earth from space, we see this amazing, indescribably beautiful planet. It looks like a living, breathing organism. But it also, at the same time, looks extremely fragile … " ~ Ron Garan, Astronaut
And whilst it's not his famous quote, I feel this quote from Neil Armstrong, the first man to step onto the surface of the moon, is much more poignant and significant, especially in today's world: "It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth."
Space travel changes a person's perspective. It turns them into an earth citizen, not one who is defined by religion or nationality, but defined by their home planet and, as a result, return passionate to create a better world. So, perhaps space travel is our last and only hope to change as a human race. Certainly Mother Nature's recent cries to open our eyes and become better earth citizens has, sadly, fallen on deaf ears as so many people crave to 'return to life as normal' without first changing that normal to better.
Sir Richard Branson is a passionate visionary. Something that we cannot survive without. Visionaries see things differently, visionaries find solutions, visionaries have imaginations and are unafraid to step outside their comfort zone, forever challenging it's restrictions. Without visionaires, much of what we take for granted today would not exist. So those who create so little, should they condemn someone who envisions and creates so much?
Indeed, thanks to his very success in the pursuit of space travel, thanks to his inventiveness and innovative attitude, Sir Richard Branson has found ways to clean up a heavily polluting industry. Space travel will not go away. Man will be forever fascinated by what lies beyond what we can experience from Earth. Now, should the industry choose to follow the lead from this visionary, it can continue to pursue its adventures in space in a way that is kinder and more environmentally friendly to our home planet, Earth.
However, the one thing I admire most about Sir Richard's success this week is his determination to turn his dreams into a reality. We all have dreams but how many of us can say, hand on heart, that we have pursued those dreams until they have become our reality? How many of us have pushed past the obstacles, climbed the mountains standing in the way of our dreams? How many of us have ignored the disbelievers, the condemners, the nay-sayers and continued on our path to fullfilling our dreams? Most of us, if we do not fall and fail at the first hurdle, certainly lose momentum until our dreams fade and die away, unachieved, unrealised.
This week, the lesson that I took away from Sir Richard, Astronaut, was that dreams should drive you forward, dreams should be achieved. Indeed, dreams need to be achieved. Never give up. Not everyone will support your dreams or will celebrate with you when you achieve them, but never ever give up. Your dreams are your dreams. And, inevitably, its dreams that create a better you, a better future, a better world.