I'm Sorry But This Isn't For You : Innovation, Evolution and a Side of Badassery
Guest post by: Matt George
Before 1954 there was a story of impossible in the distance running community. A mythology. Everyone believed it. They had reason to believe it because they didn’t have a champion; nobody had ever disproved the belief.The mythology was that of the 4-minute mile. We’ve all heard the story. No runner had ever breached the 4 minutes mile mark and it was likely that no runner ever will. Roger Bannister must’ve been sent by the Gods because the mythology could not contain him. In 1954, at Iffley Road Track he ascended the stairway to the miraculous. The running world had its champion.
The story told about Iffley Road Track is almost always wrong. When the 4-minute mile mark was broken on May 6, 1954, leagues of runners did not suddenly join Bannister in his glory. There was no such national-epiphany. But without question, the world now saw that the once-impossible became a now-possible. Once something is now-possible it is forever-possible. End of story. It’s in the annals of history. The 4-minute mile was still incredibly difficult, only 10 runners in the next 2.5 years could manage it but the deed was done.
To me, this is a natural evolution in the story of impossible, not a superhero story. Problems are hard and then they eventually get solved by someone willing to do what it takes to solve hard problems.
In the modern world impossible has a serious problem on its hands. This is the era of the forever-possible. We instinctively see problems as a challenge; you can bet your boots it isn’t impossible. Diamandis has the X Prize. Malala is going to educate every girl on earth. Gates has global health. Hayhoe has climate change. Godin has value, and Musk has Mars.
To impossible, a nod to your history of victory but a wink to your departure; you’re not needed anymore. Instead, a welcome to the Muse, that thing inside of us all that is begging for great work. For your life’s work. Allow her to come across the threshold and welcome her with grace and poise. She is the symbol of the era of the forever-possible.
We were taught to conform to the market and find our fit within it. Business plans, market valuation, seed rounds and mass-marketing. If you walk the forever-possible road and see to its end, the market will change BECAUSE of you. The market will change because you went this way. Because you took a deep breath and said: “I’m sorry, but this isn’t for you.”