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Dare to be ambitious in 2017
16/12 - 2016

Dare to be ambitious in 2017

Very often people believe that pioneers are the ones with new ideas. It’s not true. Everyone can close his eyes for a minute and come back with a lot of new ideas. But will he implement them? No; because of the fear of going out of his comfort zone – the fear of failing. The pioneer is the one who gives himself the means to turn his visions into reality, who dares to be ambitious. By not being afraid to face the unknown, he will open new ways of doing and thinking.

When I initiated both projects of flying around the world in a balloon non-stop, and then in a solar powered airplane without a single drop of fuel, people told me it was impossible. This is exactly what motivated me to try. If it were easy, somebody else would have done it already. I repeated this sentence to the team so many times, probably almost every week, during the Solar Impulse adventure!

Just like our ideas, the limits we set to ourselves are only in our head: the fruit of our habits and convictions and of our own fear of the unknown. We need to go much further than what we think. As human beings, we all have that potential – as soon as we start fighting our dogmas and common assumptions. There is no boundary between dream and reality, if you are ready to throw your certitudes and beliefs over board – like ballast from a balloon – in order to change altitude and find a new direction.

That is pioneering spirit and it is precisely what our world needs if we want to solve today's big challenges.

The problems we face in terms of health, poverty, education, pollution, climate change, bad governance are the result of old ways of thinking, which are no longer valid in a globalized world. In this 21st century, exploration needs to be taken to another level. Not to go back to the moon, as this has already been done, but rather to improve the quality of life on Earth. 

The first dogma we need to throw over board is the need to burn fossil fuel in order to grow our economy. Today, people are beginning to realize not only that it is possible to get rid of this dependency, but also that it makes a lot of sense: not only to protect the environment and save natural resources, but also to create jobs, generate profits and boost the economy.

More and more individuals, businesses and governments are starting to understand that it's the best opportunity to create industrial growth. They are interested in implementing clean technologies and renewable energies even if they don't believe in climate change. They are daring to set more ambitious goals and implement the solutions to meet them.

Look at countries such as Morocco or Sweden, which this year pledged to become carbon neutral by 2045. They understand that clean technologies and renewable energies offer practical solutions that allow bridging the gap between ecology and economy. Solutions, which are no longer only eco-logical, but simply logical, that stimulate growth and represent an enormous market which is interesting for the investors, the industry and the consumers.

2017 will be a decisive year in terms of the global political landscape: elections in France and Germany, a new president for the United States, but also strong concerns about the financial health and strength of many countries. Could it also be the opportunity to see the political visions that have failed us until now for an ambitious energy transition? Could the pioneering spirit we have been waiting for in terms of governance finally be emerging?

My personal ambition for this coming year is to contribute to this transition with the World Alliance for Clean Technologies, which we recently launched during COP22, by bringing together the actors of the cleantech field and proposing at least 1000 tangible and profitable solutions to help governments and institutions around the world meet their environmental and health targets.

Does that sound like crazy and impossible idea? Yes. Will it stop us from trying to turn this idea into a reality? No. On the contrary!

To conclude, I leave you with two questions at the dawn of this New Year: What is the idea you want to turn into reality? Which are the believes that prevent you from succeeding? I hope you will be ambitious and you will explore new ways of thinking and doing in order to have both the exciting and meaningful life of a pioneer in 2017. I wish you a lot of success!

Bertrand Piccard

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Blog published in partnership with Caran d'Ache

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