Meteor Hunting – A perfect failure – 21st October 2016

The Apocalyst is taking me to some strange places. The four of spades on my list is to witness a meteor shower, and earlier this week my friend Luke informed me that there was meant to be a meteor shower in England towards the end of October.  So I did my research, and on Friday 21st October, whilst most people were tucked up in bed, or drinking in a bar, I was with a friend packing up the car with hot chocolate and food to go meteor hunting at 1am!  We drove for a while, trying our best to find somewhere devoid of light pollution and set up camp.  Unfortunately, I live in England.  For those of you that haven’t visited England, we aren’t known for our great weather or clear skies.  In fact most of the drive was spent trying to find pockets of clear sky. We began by driving north towards the North Yorkshire Moors, but as the clouds were heading south we decided to turn around and head south towards the Peak District and outrun the weather, with Counting Crows providing the soundtrack.  In the hour we were there, between clouds and an over-sized moon, only one meteor decided to show itself.  Admittedly, not really a meteor shower. But once again my thoughts turned to opportunities.  This was a spur of the moment, stupid, fun idea; an adventure.  On Monday at work, when most people are talking about their visit to the pub or what was on TV, I can say I was hunting meteors.  I laughed, I tried to outrun clouds, I lost far too much sleep; I lived.  And even though it wasn’t a shower, for the rest of my life I can say I’ve seen a meteor; a shooting star if you will.  Obviously I can’t cross this off my list yet, but I have been able to experience something brand new for me.  It was a failure, but in doing so I had a great experience, one that I wouldn’t change.  What meteors have you hunted recently?

We are, as a species or perhaps as a product of our society, programmed to fear failure; we view it as such a negative thing and it leads to us never trying in the first place.  It leads to us forgetting to dream.  Personally, I think what separates successful individuals from others is their ability to embrace this failure. It is only through failure that we learn.  I watched a TED talk recently from Astro Teller of X (formerly Google X) who was explaining that at his company they reward failure.  It’s a strange notion, and one that seems counter-intuitive, but it has led to some surprising results.  Because employees are no longer worried about failing, they no longer fear trying out new things.  They can dream again. They don’t get it right first time, but they get it right. I think we could all learn something from this; we don’t need to get it right first time, we don’t need to worry about the times that we fail, we need to worry about how we are going to get back up, how we are going to carry on.  Hunting meteors is one of those failures, and it’s a failure that makes me smile every time I think about it.  Don’t be afraid to fail.  Be afraid to never try.

The Orionid Meteors should be present for the rest of October, and in November there will be another show of meteors, the Leonids.  You haven’t heard the last of this!

Astro Teller’s TED talk – The unexpected benefit of celebrating failure –


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