Shoot for the Moon | Richard Wiseman

Summary of: Shoot for the Moon
By: Richard Wiseman


In ‘Shoot for the Moon’, Richard Wiseman takes us on an exhilarating journey to explore the incredible power of determination and innovation that led to the historic Apollo 11 moon landing. Through captivating tales of teamwork, competition, and adaptability, this book uncovers the strategies employed by the Apollo team and demonstrates how to apply these lessons in our own lives. Key themes include discovering one’s sense of purpose, embracing competition, understanding the importance of taking breaks and getting sufficient sleep, maintaining a positive outlook, cultivating a growth mindset, breaking free from procrastination, making tough decisions, and fostering adaptability.

Purpose, Competition, and Motivation

The Apollo team was motivated by a strong sense of purpose and healthy competition, both of which can be applied to any team to boost performance. At the University of Pennsylvania, former beneficiaries of a grant program spoke to a call center team responsible for contacting alumni for donations, resulting in a dramatic increase in funds raised. Studies by psychologists Norman Triplett, Kou Murayama, and Gavin Kilduff revealed that competition can increase motivation even further, particularly when team members monitor their performance against their rivals. However, balance is crucial, and knowing when to take it easy is just as important.

Rest for Creativity

A good rest can help with generating new innovative ideas. The lunar orbit rendezvous, a crucial component of the Apollo 11 moon landing, resulted from months of brainstorming and rest periods. Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are some of the famous advocates for taking breaks and energizing activities like long walks. A 30-minute walk can increase creativity by up to 60%. Similarly, restorative sleep has benefits for innovative thinking. Participants given a tricky task in the evening and allowed to finish it after a good night’s sleep, produced more innovative results than those who did not get enough rest. Leading companies such as Google and Nike are encouraging their employees to take naps. So, when faced with a problem, it’s better to have a good night’s sleep and rest on it for a better solution in the morning.

Cultivating a Positive Mindset for Success

Overcoming adversity and maintaining a positive outlook are essential for achieving ambitious goals. The Apollo 11 team had to develop a strong belief in their abilities to overcome the many challenges they faced. To maintain positivity, focus on past successes and keep visual cues to remind you of them. Additionally, look to strong role models like Helen Keller for inspiration. Adversity can be overcome with a strong will and a positive mindset.

Growth Mindset for Success

The fixed mindset limits your abilities while a growth mindset can lead to success, according to Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck. In her study, high school students with a growth mindset outperformed their peers. The growth mindset allows for the belief that anyone can improve and change, which enables individuals to recover from failures, take on challenges, and learn from their mistakes.

Overcoming Procrastination

Avoid procrastination by breaking down complex goals into smaller achievable targets, being flexible, and setting smart deadlines.

Jerry Bostick was a flight controller during the Apollo 11 mission who shared some words of wisdom that apply to everyone. He reminded people not to procrastinate by waiting for the perfect scenario that might never arrive. To overcome procrastination, one should avoid dwelling on potential difficulties and instead break down complex goals into smaller achievable targets.

For instance, if you aim to lose 10 pounds at the start of a new year, it may seem daunting, but setting a goal of losing one pound each month makes it appear more achievable. Similarly, if you want to launch a software startup but have a steady paycheck, it is best to be flexible and work on the weekends. This approach can help to avoid burn-out, which ultimately leads to procrastination.

Another useful method for overcoming procrastination is to set smart deadlines. A 2014 study revealed that some deadlines are cleverer than others. For example, deadlines that spill over into the following year, month, or week can lead to unnecessary procrastination. It is best to set deadlines that are achievable within a reasonable timeframe.

In conclusion, avoiding procrastination requires a goal-oriented and flexible mindset. One should break down complex goals into smaller achievable targets, be flexible, and set smart deadlines to avoid needless procrastination.

Want to read the full book summary?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed