I know that I’m talking a lot today and I hope you’ll forgive me, but I just looked at Anousheh Ansari’s Spaceblog  at www.spaceblog.xprize.org .

Wow–people from all over the world have been watching her, reading her diary and writing to her. 

I wanted to leave a comment of my own, but it appears that so many people have written that the comment forum has been shut down. It was kind of a bummer until I realized that I have a blog too—so I’ll say what I wanted to say there, here:-).

The thing that draws me to people like Anousheh or Paul Allen or Peter Diamandis is that with all of the things that are going wrong with the world, I can look at them and see that somewhere on the planet (or sometimes off:-) things are going right. 

The top news stories today are discouraging at best—nukes in the hands of people who don’t seem to care about the consequences, senseless, heartbreaking murders, scandal — but when I turn my focus towards these people I see that there are also Visionaries in the world–brilliant, dynamic people who are intent on moving humanity forward.

It makes me proud to be human to see people who are so fearless, so passionate and so interested in making the world a better place.

More than anything else, it gives me hope for the future.

In one of her posts, Anousheh quoted a line from Marianne Williamson (via Nelson Mandela). She said:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

No one has expressed this light in her life better than Anousheh.

She emigrated to this country from Khomeini’s Iran at the age of 17, knowing very little English.

That alone would be a stumbling block to most people.

But it didn’t stop her from attending George Mason University a few years later and graduating with a degree in electronics and computer engineering, and even later getting a Masters degree at George Washington University.

In 1993, she and her husband, Hamid started a small business from a $50,000. employee stock option. There were times when they floated credit cards to make ends meet, but  7 years later they sold the company they had built for $750 million dollars.

When Peter Diamandis approached her about funding the Xprize contest, she enthusiastically agreed. Her support was vital–the Xprize might not have lasted past 2001 were it not for Ansari’s infusion of money.

See:

 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6248958/

“By 2001 friends and family worried privately that Diamandis might go bankrupt trying to keep the race alive. Investments had dried up, though Diamandis was working 16 hours a day trying to find backers. Maryniak was beginning to view his friend as a tragic hero.

Diamandis didn’t care; Lindbergh had had his doubters, too. And the competition had already generated enormous funding for space research, which was one of the goals of the X Prize. (Allen, who financed Rutan’s SpaceShipOne, ended up spending over $20 million.)

Then, in September 2001, Diamandis read a Fortune magazine article about two wealthy Texans who longed to “see the stars.” He flew to Dallas, met Anousheh Ansari and her brother-in-law, Amir, and flew back to St. Louis with a commitment of more than $1 million. The competition was renamed the Ansari X Prize. The infusion of money attracted more investors and the race was back on.”

And now she has just fulfilled her own lifelong dream to travel into space, just a few days after her 40th birthday.

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Anousheh, there is a saying, “reach for the moon; even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

You have reached for the moon your whole life, and you have ended up with both the moon–and the stars! You are an inspiration to all of us!

 

 

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