Christopher Columbus, Sir Isaac Newton, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Thomas Edison, Edmund Hillary, Yuri Gagarin, Neil Armstrong, Marie Curie, Mahatma Gandhi, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, Roger Bannister, Eliud Kipchoge, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk.
These brilliant names are just a fraction of a fraction of the wonderful women and men who were the firsts in some field or the other and who forever changed the world by inspiring others to follow suit. They were and always will be the FIRST though.
It makes me really upset (yet at the same time angry and determined to prove the other the contrary) when someone says “But it’s never been done before.”
No one stepped on to the moon before Neil Armstrong. No one ran a mile in less than 4 minutes before Roger Bannister did it. And no one made something known as an airplane to be able to fly in the sky, before The Wright Brothers. IT HAD NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE. Yet, it was POSSIBLE. Probability and possibility are two very different things. We MUST focus on the possibility in these situations. NOT the probability.
So do you think those brilliant people said, “Oh too bad, it’s never been done before, I can’t do it.” and wrecked their wonderful ideas only in need of bringing about the plan into objective reality? NO, they didn’t otherwise someone would have never invented the Internet and we would never have had this sort of connection on sharing ideas. They didn’t whine on something they wanted to do but which had never been done before. Instead they said, “It’s never been done before so I am going to be the first person to do it.”
And they did. They became the first people to do something. Isn’t that so cool? The Firsts! Only because they had the courage to break the infinite chain of constancy in what had never been done before. And when they broke that chain … everyone started to follow in their footsteps, doing that thing, breaking the limits of which had never been done before again and again and again. When Roger Bannister ran a mile under 4 minutes in 1954 which was deemed impossible by many, just 46 days later, John Landy, an Australian runner broke the barrier again, with a time of 3 minutes 58 seconds. Then, just a year later, three runners broke the four-minute barrier in a single race. Over the last half century, more than a thousand runners have conquered a barrier that had once been considered hopelessly impossible. Same with the people going to space, then subsequently to the moon. One person launches off the planet and next thing you know there’s a horde of others who just did the same. Something that was imPROBABLE and given up on by many people was done by one person by taking one small step, and then so many others did the same thing; and then we laughed and said that we knew all along it was possible.
If it’s never been done before, well … somebody’s gotta do it. Might well that somebody be you!
- Breaking the 4 minute mile / HBR article by Bill Taylor
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