It Can’t Be Done

It was widely accepted that a computer could never beat a grand master at a game of chess. Until, of course, when IBM’s Deep Blue computer bested the reigning world champion, Gary Kasparov, in 1996. What was once unimaginable had become reality.

A new game from Matel called Mind Flex allows you to use your brain waves to control a ball without any other device ( ). I’m sure hundreds of people along the way told the engineers that a person could never move an object with only their mind.

There was a time when many of the things we take for granted today were deemed “impossible”. The telephone, electricity, the motor car, airplanes, computers, cell phones, and iPods were all originally criticized as fanciful dreams. In fact, for nearly every major breakthrough, there were herds of doubtful, finger-pointing critics.

And yet, we now enjoy all these things, along with breakthroughs in healthcare, art, science, business, manufacturing and more, due to “fanciful dreamers” that refused to accept the status quo. The nay-sayers are never the ones that make the history books. Instead, we celebrate those with the intellectual curiosity to imagine a better world and then the courage to make it so.

In the words of German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident.” So why do most of us get caught on the first stage and end up throwing in the towel?

Think of all the amazing ideas that were never brought to life due to the harsh criticism and doubt that plagued their inventors. Think about all the ideas that you have had, but never pursued do to your own doubts and fears. What would happen if you unleashed your currently shackled creativity? Even if nine out of ten of your new ideas stink, that one remaining idea could be that gem. It could just be the breakthrough that changes your career, your company, or even your life.

This week, silence the critics (both the external ones and your own internal critical voice). Think about the possibilities instead of the obstacles. Imagine the ideal solutions to your challenges, rather than the safe ones. Leave the words “It can’t be done” for others. While they are worrying about what can’t be done, you can get on with actually doing it.