The Astronomer Versus Astronaut Dilema

Ever wonder why so many kids dream of doing great things, like being a doctor curing cancer or a lawyer fighting for justice? I believe we’re hard-wired for greatness, in some form or another. This means everyone can do great things. But the way you can go about doing great things might vary a bit depending on how well you resolve the Astronomer Versus Astronaut Dilema.


The Dilema is based on this assumption: there are two ways to explore the universe. One way involves safety while the other involves danger. The astronomer can observe the planets and stars from the relative comfort and security of Earth, while the astronaut is launched into the galaxy to experience these other-worldly bodies up close. Which is greater?

On one hand, the astronomer builds a foundation for his work through years of study and observation. Astronomy involves mental fortitude. The astronomer has to be patient and goes through many sleepless nights. Gazing at the stars is difficult during the noonday sun. Astronomy involves the study of other fields (math, physics) and has centuries of accumulated knowledge and practices that have made the science what it is today.

On the other hand, the astronaut builds a foundation for his work through years of training and preparation. An astronaut demands physical strength and agility. The astronaut goes through countless dangers and puts his life in the hands of others on a daily basis. Astronauts have come from all walks of life, from teachers to pilots, and have just recently began the journey in to space.

Without the astronomer, space would be a much more dangerous place for the astronaut.

Without the astronaut, space would be much more boring and impersonal for the astronomer.

Too often, this dilema plays itself out in the business entrepreneurship world as well. People with a dream of being their own boss are encouraged to launch themselves out into the wide world of business and learn as they go. Or, they spend years observing and studying the business practices and case studies of others who have tried, failed, or prospered as they mentally prepare themselves to do something great.

Which path is right?

Whichever one you’re ready for.

If you’re in business or hoping to be one day, you need to be both. You need to observe, and you need to float around in space. You need to put your career and livelihood in the hands of others and you need to help prepare others to follow after your discoveries. You need training, preparation, and several thousand pounds of fuel to catapult you to unimaginable heights. You need mental fortitude and physical stamina. You need to walk in the footsteps of others that have been through exactly what you have been through while you simultaneously explore new worlds up front.

Welcome to the new Dilema we call “business.” The rest of us expect great things from you.