Big thinking required for our post-COVID futureWednesday, September 22, 2021
On July 11, 2021 the world watched in awe and admiration as Sir Richard Branson, accompanied by two pilots and three crew mates, boarded his Virgin Galactic rocket plane and made the world's first suborbital tourist flight to the edge of space. That experience lasted for an hour.
Eleven days later they were followed by Amazon founder Mr Jeff Bezos, his brother, an 18-year-old student, and 82-year-old Ms Wally Funk who had spent the past six decades trying to get to space.
The Bezos team travelled in his Blue Origin rocket and, while they were in space for just over 10 minutes, the rocket went higher than Sir Richard's Virgin Galactic and crossed the Kármán line, which is recognised as the boundary between Earth's atmosphere and outer space.
Both Sir Richard and Mr Bezos, who experienced weightlessness and enjoyed extraordinary views of the Earth, are said to be determined to make space travel available to people who have not had the benefit of astronaut training.
On his return to Earth, Sir Richard — a man known for pursuing his dreams of adventure — told the BBC, “I've wanted to go to space since I was a kid, and I want to enable, hopefully, hundreds of thousands of other people over the next 100 years to be able to go to space.”
That both Sir Richard and Mr Bezos are big thinkers is no secret. One merely has to look at the businesses they run to appreciate that reality. The fact, though, is that the massive enterprises that these men operate started with an idea. By dint of hard work, belief in themselves, and, we are sure, detailed planning and execution, both men have made positive contributions to mankind. Their venture into commercial space travel is just the latest of their exceptional achievements.
Our reference to their accomplishments is influenced by our insistence that there is great value in thinking big.
With each opportunity that comes our way we will reiterate that the people who are successful in business did not get to where they are by thinking small. The majority of them actually started with a single thought which they cultivated and nurtured over time. As their businesses grew, their penchant for thinking big was infused in their DNA, pushing them to achieve their objectives.
Additionally, there are other individuals who, armed with even more drive to succeed, go the extra mile, creating products and providing services that exceed expectations.
It is not an easy feat. It requires a fixity of purpose, belief in what you are doing, and an ability to withstand criticism and doubt because those are usually the responses from people who lack vision.
It also demands strength to recover from disappointments and the dexterity to respond to shifts in global trends.
That is the kind of thinking and fortitude that this country's leaders need to adopt and display at this time as we battle one of the worst pandemics in human history.
We have, before, urged the Government to start planning how Jamaica will move forward at the end of this pandemic. Outside of our recommendation for a significant expansion and upgrade of our public health system the Administration needs to establish the mechanisms that will make this country a vital source of knowledge, expertise, and skills for the global community post-COVID-19.
Combating the pandemic, we accept, is difficult and consumes a lot of resources. However, that should not prevent us from laying the foundation now for our future.
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