Salto Mortale

A few weeks back, I was wondering why space expeditions and movies have a big influence on me. It made me go down memory lane. Apart from my parents and my close relatives working in a space agency, I felt that there were other factors too. One of my childhood superheroes was Captain Kirk from the series Star Trek. I recollected how I used to sit down with my friends, on a Sunday morning around 11 AM, and watch Star Trek. We would never miss any show and post the show we would still have the after-show effect of what Kirk and Spock did in that episode.

Sometime back, I came across a podcast where Seth Godin said to Tom Bilyeu that he cried when Leonard Nimoy (who played Spock in Star Trek) passed away. I was curious to know. I listened to that interview again today to know from Seth. Seth mentions some reasons. One was the human he was and the work he did behind the scenes. He cites examples of how he cared for others and did things for them. On the work front, he mentioned the day when Nimoy became Spock. A key moment came in one of the first episodes. Everyone on the bridge was freaking out about something or the other, and Spock’s line was a simple word: “Fascinating.” In his blog, he writes Leonard Nimoy created one of our culture’s singular fictional characters. Gene Roddenberry gave him the opportunity, but it was Nimoy who developed Spock.

Nimoy first delivered it in the same excited, scared tone as everyone else.

The director took him aside and said, “be the different one.”

Easy to say, difficult to do.

According to Seth Godin, Spock’s character was a combination of Buddhism, rationality and the best of what an emotional human is. He says, “I would prefer to have more Spocks than Kirks”. I was a big fan of Captain Kirk growing up but now I appreciated Spock too.

Now I understood why I like Seth Godin and Space movies and documentaries. It speaks directly to me. In the last few months, I have seen Interstellar ( first time) and Apollo 13,

I was initially tempted to see Interstellar for Mathew Mcconaughey. I had seen a couple of his films and I was very much in awe of his acting capabilities. In that movie, I liked the scenes between him and his daughter.

Apart from those captivating scenes how can I forget these lines from the poem “Do not go gentle into that good night”

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

I had heard about Apollo 13 several times and I finally got a chance to watch it. The best line being, ” Houston we have a problem”. I enjoyed that movie on a Sunday afternoon when I was looking for an uplifting movie. I was very touched when Ed Harris played the character, Gene Kranz and there were a couple of scenes that were imprinted in my mind. One such scene was where they had to get the crew back and his punchline…

Gene Kranz comes back with another killer towards the end, ” With due respect Sir, this is going to be our finest hour “. Those were goosebumps moments for me. The key message from the movie was “successful failure” which brings me to the concept of “Salto Mortale.”

So what is Salto Mortale?

Below is an excerpt from the Medium

“The Italians have a wonderful phrase, ‘Salto Mortale, the dangerous leap, the leap into the void. The fear we get in the pit of our stomach before we commit, fear that it’s not going to work out. It’s too soon. I am not ready. And so we wait…”Seth Godin

Salto Mortale literally means a scenario very much like jumping off a cliff hoping that you will somehow magically grow wings before you hit the ground. And that is exactly what we need to do. However, what we need to hope for isn’t wings that magically pop out. But instead, we should trust that the small steps we take each day will, by time, be built up to make us achieve our ultimate goals.

I was reflecting on my writing and speaking experiences. There were so many moments when I had that feeling inside me that what I am going to put out in my blogs or through my videos will not be good. I still do have those moments coming up every now and then. As somebody said, ” Don’t wait until you feel you are ready to do it. The truth is that you will never feel that way.

Movies, characters and dialogues help me to create a self-narrative which I identify to push myself to keep shipping out one blog per week. This particular blog is an example of salto mortale. I got up today at 5 AM with the intention to post my 214th blog. I was having a vague idea of the theme which was my love for space movies and documentaries. So when I sat down to write I remembered Seth Godin’s line on Spock who was also a relatable character for me. In the process, I was drawing a connection with the theme of Salto Mortale which cryptically captured what I felt in the beginning. I was leaping into a void called “space” today and I just had a look at the time, it took me 2 hrs to write this blog.

To me I just need to make a statement like Gene Kranz, be the different one like Spock and who better than Seth Godin who blogs every day to overcome Salto Mortale.

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