That’s Impossible (until it isn’t)
People will say “that’s impossible!”
…until it isn’t.
People will say “that will never happen!”
…until it does.
People will say “you’re wasting your time!”
…until it pays off.
The 4-minute mile? Impossible!
Man in flight? It will never happen!
The electric lightbulb? You’re wasting your time!
History is filled with examples of the Crazy Ones being ridiculed and persecuted by the Lazy Ones, but some how the Crazy Ones usually come out on top and the Lazy Ones… well… no one ever seems to remember their names.
Here are three things the Crazy Ones have in common that allow them to do the impossible:
- They possess total belief in the outcome
They may not know HOW they’ll accomplish their task but they never doubt that they will. It is reported that doctors and other authorities on the matter proclaimed the 4-minute mile to not only be impossible — but perhaps even lethal. They said human body wasn’t designed for running at that pace. The muscles, sinews, and other physical mechanics simply couldn’t withstand the stress and strain of such a feat. That is, until Roger Bannister proved them all wrong in 1954. Once that threshold was crossed, it was amazing how many more athletes were able to not just match Bannister’s achievement, but to surpass it.
- They don’t take failure personally
When Thomas Edison was trying to find a long lasting filament for his electric light, he tried every material he could think of — and then he tried a few more. Legend says he tried to make it work anywhere between 1,000 and 10,000 times, but he never looked at those attempts as failures, but as merely weeding out the materials that wouldn’t work until he found the one that did. How many times do you think Edison was told he was wasting his time after his 100th attempt didn’t work? (…or the 500th attempt??)
- The application of compound knowledge
I am sure you are familiar with the financial term “compound interest” but do you understand (and put into practice) “compound knowledge?” Compound knowledge is taking pieces of a dozen different things you know about and combining them to create something new. Gutenberg did this when he combined his knowledge of minting coins with a wine press and forever changed the world of printing with the development of movable type. The Wright Brothers applied this same principle when they began combining their knowledge of bicycles, printing presses, motors, and even a flying toy they received in their youth to create the world’s first successful airplane. What sort of disparaging remarks do you think those two guys got every weekend as they hauled that metal contraption out to work on? Think about it — where do you suppose the term “it’ll never fly” originated?
The next time someone tells you that what you’re working on is impossible, will never happen, and is a waste of your time, just tell them that they may be right… For now.
But not forever.