Every now and then, an individual does something amazing that inspires all of us. Whether its introducing a revolutionary product, an extreme act of grace, a historical speech, a feat of engineering, or breaking a previously held record, such actions momentarily set aside our differences, unite us in common awe, and remind us of the great potential ourselves.
This past Sunday, Felix Baumgartner did just that by skydiving out of a weather ballon in the stratosphere, setting the record for highest jump at 128,000 feet (24 miles) and the fastest free fall at 834 mph (Mach 1.24) – yes, he broke the sound barrier falling.
In case you have no clue what I’m talking about, watch this highlight video on the Red Bull Stratos Project:
So after all the time, talent, and money that went into this project, how does this actually benefit humanity? Does it immediately solve a practical problem? Well, not really. But that’s not the point.
For me, Felix went out to prove a point. That the real barriers aren’t practical or tangible. The real barriers are our own fear, doubt, and dare I say, contentment. There really was no need to jump from space and break the sound barrier in a skydive, but the fact that he did something incredibly amazing that had never been done before, a feat once relegated to the realm of “impossible,” well, that just makes us wonder what else we could achieve.
What Felix, Red Bull, and all the companies involved did through this project was ignite a fire in the souls of everyone who watched in amazement. It fanned into flame that burning inside all of us to do something risky, something great, something impossible.
I watch this video over and over again, but it doesn’t necessarily make me want to go skydiving. It does, however, make me re-evaluate and wonder what great things I’ve always wanted to do, but have discarded to be impossible. This jump didn’t solve any real world problems. But it quite possibly inspired a generation of problem-solvers.
Watch the entire jump here: