When individuals choose to undertake seemingly impossible goals, their journey often creates innovations whose benefits ripple into society. Often, these breakthroughs improve quality of life for many and create new industries.

Consider how computers were first invented – we needed them to win the space race. Now, computers are integral to nearly everything we use from children’s toys to smartphones.

Likewise, the Apollo 1 launch pad fire spurred engineers to develop better protective clothing for our astronauts. This mission-critical need created the flame-retardant clothing worn today by firefighters and race car drivers.

Heart monitors, non-invasive imaging systems, packaged foods, weather information technology… we take these and thousands of other inventions for granted every day. But the only reason they exist is because a group of visionary leaders, engineers and scientists were determined to send a men to the moon and return them home safely.

Studying the lessons of the “Apollo era,” we will not again achieve greatness until we once again learn how to strive for and achieve impossible goals. This applies not only to private companies, but to all organizations including government, military, and to each individual citizen.

To achieve the impossible and innovate with unlimited creativity as we once did, we must adopt models of business similar to what we had during Project Apollo. That model worked because we had shared visions, missions and value systems created by visionary leaders, embraced by everyone.

In creating and executing such a grand mission in the future, we must adhere to the core principles that founded our country. That is, people acting together to create excellence. Just as our forefathers, we will succeed if we all work together under a common purpose, without segregating our culture into winners and losers.

If we continue to focus on symptomatic relief of common issues, like “alternative energy” and government dependency, we will become the most colossal failure since the Roman Empire. We have already created mediocrity from greatness by not learning from history. Must we destroy our Republic by repeating the mistakes of others?

Since the beginning of time, we looked to the stars for the answers to the mysteries of the universe. They are out there for the finding. We just need to come together in unified purpose and unselfish dedication to our common success. And follow the proven “business model” of Project Apollo. Only from this model will we invent the technological and bio-medical advances to save mankind from ourselves.

Tom Taormina has written 12 books on business process excellence and leadership.