Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What Stops People From Creating New Possibilities?

"Out of chaos, comes order?" Nietzsche

In 1983, Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPad. However, it seems the world was not ready. It failed. Or did it? What if Jobs’ idea was the catalyst for chaos that employees and vendors wanted to avoid?

In every era, there are beliefs that are held as facts. While no one questions the facts, the belief
shapes and constrains actions. And is therefore considered reality. For example, there was a time when the world was flat. Also, there was a time when science claimed that if the human body traveled at speeds greater than 40 miles per hour, it would explode. As a result, all trains and automobiles had a top speed of 40 miles per hour.

As you can see, reality does not need a basis for its existence. There only has to be a sufficient amount of people who believe in it. In time, everyone goes along to get along.

On the other hand, when someone questions that reality, the believers of the existing paradigm adamantly resist the new possibility. It appears we are taught to protect reality or status quo. If we don’t, there is a chance we can be invalidated in the new paradigm. In fact, the new paradigm may cause self-doubt and could make us wonder if our knowledge, skills and competencies are relevant. Ultimately, it causes us to fear looking bad.

With that said, perhaps Steve Jobs did not fail at creating the iPad in 1983. His idea may have caused people to have the same resistance that Columbus incited with his notion of a round world. In Columbus’ case, the thought process of society was for a flat world. No one saw their belief as a constraint. With an iPad in 1983, the thought process was just beginning for a computer on our desks. In the early 80s, with the iPad, Jobs was promoting a computer in the palm of your hand. This would have required a significant leap in the way Apple employees and vendors thought about the design of a computer. Perhaps for them it was better to prove Job’ idea was impossible than to stretch oneself into an uncharted area. It would have been an area where no one had expertise. The threat may have been the fear of no longer being needed.

If we take this a step further, we can observe the natural resources on planet earth. Since 1983, there have been no new natural resources added to the planet. Therefore, everything that was needed to make the iPad in 2008 existed in the 1980s. In fact, there is no reason the iPad was not created 1.000 years ago. The clear distinction between now and 1,000 years ago is the belief in what’s possible. While this seems farfetched, there are possibilities right in front of us today. Except, current day thought processes will not allow it. 

Whether it’s creating the iPad, flying to the moon, or sailing around a round world, people will always be limited by that which they are taught to believe. Opening your mind to possibility is a social risk and it takes practice. However, it is far from impossible. Today’s reality will become a laughing matter in tomorrow’s reality. Will you protect and defend status quo for fear of looking bad? Or will you question the reality you were given from birth? Columbus, Jobs, Tesla, Einstein, etc. had no special gifts. They only questioned what was believed to be reality. You can too. What possibility will you discover today?  

What do you think? I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know.

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