Updated: Mar 16, 2020
Consider a guided missile in flight. What percentage of time is it heading perfectly towards its intended target with exactly the right pitch, roll, yaw and attitude? Any guesses?
When I ask my audiences that question, invariably, the quickest answer is usually something like: “Less than 1%.” To which I quickly reply: “Less than 1%? That’s like a North Korean missile: ‘We’ve launched it, but we have NO CLUE where it’s going, so look out!’ It’s a very unpredictable and dangerous weapon!”
That’s usually followed by some loud, nervous, laughter.
Kidding aside that low number probably isn’t all that far off. The actual number varies, of course, but some estimates are as low as 6%. Imagine that! Just 6% perfectly on-target, which frighteningly means that 94% of the time, it’s off course!
Onboard gyroscopes regularly adjust to feedback received from accelerometers. They spin to shift the missile’s pitch, roll, and yaw, altering the missile’s attitude as it travels. In aviation and space flight, attitude provides information about an object's orientation with respect to the local level frame (horizontal plane) and True North.
94% of the time, it is off-course, yet with constant adjustments, it manages to reach its intended target. Interesting.
Have you ever been on an airplane when right before landing, the pilot makes a major change of course or direction, perhaps adjusting to a big gust of wind? Or worse yet, you’re just about to touch down on the runway when the pilot hits the thrusters urgently and you take back off? Ever have an aborted landing like that?
“Whoa!” you exclaim, tensing up. “What’s going on?”
Big corrections, right before landing, are never good. They can result in an ‘unplanned landing’ – a ‘crash!’
Conversely, small corrections, farther away from the runway, are imperceptible to passengers aboard. You touch down perfectly at your intended destination, even though you’ve been off-course some large percentage of time.
Finding your purpose and living a life of significance is not about ‘getting it perfect’ all the time. It’s about regularly taking stock of where you are, relative to where you want to be, and making appropriate course corrections along the way.
There’s a great deal of uncertainty around us at the present moment. The novel #coronavirus #COVID19 is impacting all of our lives to some degree. For most of us the days ahead will afford us more downtime from the busyness of life than ever before. Why not invest some of that time taking stock of where you currently are with respect to the most important relationships in your life? In what areas are you currently off course and would benefit from making some adjustments?
We’ll pick up right here next week in Part 2 on this same topic of ‘Calibrating your Guidance System.’
Until then, keep on being significant!