Copernicus, Galileo and the centre of the universe

This week the world has been gifted shots of the Galilean moons, courtesy of the Junos expedition , a reminder of the paradigm shifting work of Copernicus in the 1500's and then Galileo in the 1700's of the truth that the earth is NOT the centre of the universe. That indeed we are part of a vast swirling mass of space and in fact our solar system is on the edge of it!

 The wonder of space - the possibilities, the insignificance, the uniqueness of us

The wonder of space - the possibilities, the insignificance, the uniqueness of us

Every time we start thinking we’re the centre of the universe, the universe turns around and says with a slightly distracted air, “I’m sorry. What’d you say your name was again?
— Margaret Maron

Whenever I sit at night and gaze up at the stars ( winter is such a great time to do that, and our central west NSW sky is so great for star gazing) you can't help but be struck by the beauty, the magnificence and the vastness that is space. We are unique beings, individual and precious, but not the centre of everything.

As children, when our world is small, we might see our parents as the centre of the world, as teenagers we see ourselves as the centre of the universe and then as adults we start to see the truth of our place in the world.

Unique - but not the centre.

So why then do we often find it hard to accept things as they are and not see them through the prism of ourselves. Of course our experiences frame how we view and see the world, but if we only seek out negative ones then that frame of reference can be very wrong.

We can be like those astronomers pre-Copernicus and Galileo who insist that the earth is indeed the centre and the sun revolves around the planet. 

From our 21st century perspective we know that to be false. Our frame of reference has changed significantly. Copernicus created mathematical equations that theorised that the Sun could not possible revolve around the Earth, that in fact, it was the complete opposite. Even when Galileo built a telescope that confirmed Copernicus' model, the church and the scientific community at the time, did not believe him.

What is that quote, "there is none so blind, then those that will not see."

Such bravery to stand against the tide of 'conventional wisdom' and identify facts, to identify truth.

In our personal lives and our professional lives we can too suffer from the mistaken belief that we are the centre of the universe. When negative things happen in particular, we often can incorrectly put ourselves in the middle and only see and react from that (often) incorrect assumption.

When we aren't selected, we when aren't invited, when we don't win the job, when people are angry, when people say no.

This is one of my great challenges.

Acceptance of other people's decisions for reasons that are only known to them. Letting go of resentment when a choice doesn't go my way.

As a (reluctantly at times) recovering control freak, I can't just make someone do what I want. No matter how well I might construct my argument, lay out my case, or create that beautiful invitation, as an adult, a person's decision to choose or not choose my offer is one entirely in their sphere of control. A negative response from them in many cases will have nothing to do with me. 

In the realm of business that I am working in now, I am coming across this a lot. Not necessarily me personally, but seeing it in the responses from so many people to a knock back. That not agreeing to buy something from them is a reflection somehow on their own worth.

Over the years however, I have completely experienced this feeling, losing a client becomes all about a personal rejection of me. A completely irrational response to a business decision. One I need to consciously let go of, every single day, even now.

Of course these are all valid responses, when you invest yourself in anything, you want people to come along for the ride. When you believe passionately in something, it can be hard to accept that what you see as important may not be for them. Causes, products, politics, birthdays, parties, reunions. 

We are all in this vast expanse of a universe together.

Unique, special, precious.

But not the centre.