Making the Improbable Possible

If you read or listen to the news you know by now that Neil Armstrong, American astronaut and the first person to ever walk on the moon passed away at the age of 82 on August 25, 2012. I am sad to think that many of you may not know who he is as his accomplishment came on July 20, 1969. He was the first of 12 men to walk on the moon and no one has done it since 1972. But when he stepped down and made the first footprint in the dust of the moon he made the improbable possible.
It is funny how sometimes you read things and they just seem to connect. A Seth Godin comment in his post Persistence and possibility dovetailed quite well with Armstrong’s feat. Seth, in telling his story, said “That’s the benefit of having a hero, a case study, a role model for what came before. The fact that it’s been done before makes just about any task more amenable to persistence.” Armstrong was such a hero. Many astronauts  became astronauts because he showed the impossible and improbable to be possible. They then persisted in their pursuits to become astronauts.
So as we go about our day-to-day tasks and get frustrated because things are seeming impossible or improbable take a look around your profession. Has someone else done what you are trying to accomplish? If yes then you know it can be done and that should provide you with the “courage” to persist in the task. After all, if a man can step on the moon using less computing power than you have in your “smart” phone nothing in HR, or any job, should ever be deemed to be impossible.
By the way, in psychology there is concept called the “significant emotional event”. Typically these are cemented in your memory. Armstrong’s feat was one such event for me. I know exactly where I was and can still hear the cheer when that first footprint was made. I hope you have some such event in your lifetime.

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