#105 May 1997
Section 188.8.131.52.105.of the Artemis Data Book
Development and cultivation of one's talents and aptitudes is everything. These are the raw tools we are born with, and most of us underdevelop at least some of them. It is through these very personal tools that we can most effectively affect the world around us. Our excuses? Not enough free time (but we have only one life to live and every moment spent not being up to par is a moment whose potential we waste); not enough money (but more often than not, by neglecting talents or their development, we suppress our full income potential).
We have always rejected the "party line" that the space activist is the one who is involved politically in the promotion of the government public space program. That is a drum to whose beat not all of us are comfortable marching.
The true space activist is any person who strives to effectively use whatever mix of talents and aptitudes he or she has to promote the earliest realization of an open space frontier. Each of us works most effectively doing what comes naturally, working with the grain of who we are, according to our talents and aptitudes. Forced or cajoled into another mold by others, we can scarcely do our best. Don't ever let anyone reduce you to such a common denominator (phone dialer, letter writer, wallet opener). You may have much more to give than that.
Individually, we need to prioritize those hobbies and/or types of income earning activities which exercise our talents over those activities which contribute nothing to personal development but only serve to pay bills. Doing so may come with at least temporary cost, reduced earnings. But the rewards of self-fulfillment, and our effectiveness in interfacing with the world at large are a priceless perk. Again, we only live once.
For some of us, a rededication to developing our talents and aptitudes may affect only the way we budget our spare time, that is, our hobby activities. For others, a more difficult eventual occupation or career change may be in order. The sooner we start, whatever our age, the better, the more we have to gain and contribute by changing the man in the mirror. If you think making such changes in how you use your time and energies is difficult, consider how much more difficult it will be to change the world, without so changing yourself first!
Take stock. What do you "know how" to do fairly well? What things have you always felt you might have it in you to do, but never got around to pursuing (you got waylaid by life and family and job and their demands first)? What abilities have you let atrophy? Not sure? Take a professional aptitude test. Ask to see results of tests you have taken already at school or work. Identify areas that have not received enough attention. Make a practical plan to do something about at least one of them. A start! Talent development is a life-long process. We need the habit of self-improvement. We can't get up to talent-par by some facile abracadabra. It takes time, patience, determination, and overcoming many setbacks.
Time management will make or break your project. Look at your day (work, home), your week, your month. Be frankly honest in writing down all the ways you (find to) waste time -- we all waste time, but the list of ways we do it differs for each of us. This is time that could be given to talent/aptitude improvement. We only live once. Inertia is the enemy.
You may have to demand sanctuary both in terms of physical space and hours on the clock for self-development. This does not cheat your family. Indeed, not to do so in the long run cheats your family more. You will be the best you can be for them only if you take care to become the best you can be in yourself. It's a matter of patience, on your part, and on the part of those with whom you share your life. They owe you that. Insist on it!
Just as not everyone in the army carries a rifle, "the army for space" will be its strongest, when each of its very individual soldiers has taken every effort to see that he or she will "be all that we can be." False generals would reduce us all to trigger pullers!
The realization of mankind's future in space proceeds on many tracks in as multiversal a fashion as has the development of "World One" since time began. All of history's legislators, leaders, and politicians would have gotten us nowhere without countless unsung farmers, scientists, educators, artists, craftsmen, tradesmen, entertainers, writers, poets, and others, even lawyers. Many less direct, less prestigious, less obvious roles and contributions to the breakout from Cradle Earth are waiting to be made. There is a role that is unique to you and your own identity, one that will build your identity further. Start with "the man in the mirror."
-- Peter Kokh
Contents of this issue of Moon Miners' Manifesto