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The landing of the Philae probe on the surface of a comet has rightly been hailed as one of the triumphs of modern times. Steering a craft the size of a fridge across billions of miles of space to land on an object which itself was hurtling through space is no mean feat and that the success was achieved by the comparatively modestly funded European Space Agency is a cause for celebration.
Amid jubilant scenes at the European Space Agency one comment stood out. Talking about the project on Radio 5, one of those involved at the ESA said that “the hardest thing about success is that it looks easy.” That remark could equally be applied to so many endeavours and it is one which could be engraved on every project leader’s door. Whether sporting achievements or a great work of art, the development of a new piece of technology or successful exploration of the galaxy, it is all too easy to accept success as being something which is of right.
But success is not easy, nor is it an automatic right. True success comes from planning and scoping, from innovating new concepts and from creating a team which is united in that drive for excellence. True success comes from hard work and yes, true success comes from being prepared to fail; from not being afraid to try new things, to stretch the boundaries of possibility. As the team behind the Philae probe celebrate the rest of us may look on in awe at the immensity of the project but above all we should salute the hard work, innovation and attention to detail which has resulted in another giant leap forward for mankind.