“No visions are ever rendered to us in the dead of night that we are incapable of pursuing at the break of dawn.” – Matt Higgins

(Credit for this story goes to Walter Isaacson’s new biography on Elon Musk)

It’s Labor Day weekend, 2001.

Elon Musk is driving to Manhattan with an old college friend, Adeo Ressi, who asks him what he plans to do next.

“I’ve always wanted to do something in space,” Elon replies.

“But I don’t think there’s anything that an individual can do.”

Rockets are too expensive for a private person to build…

…Aren’t they?

Elon doubles back to check his assumptions:

Rockets are basically metal and fuel, which don’t cost much.

Elon’s about to make $175 million from the sale of PayPal — he’s got a little cash.

Could it be enough to build a rocket?

Ressi says:

“By the time we reached the Midtown Tunnel, we decided it was possible.”

In that moment, the mythical chain of events that led to SpaceX was set in motion — all because Elon challenged his assumptions.

How many world-changing ideas are lost because we assume they’re impossible?

What could we be capable of if we stopped assuming we’re incapable?

Who are we to say what we can or can’t do?

If there is a fundamental difference in the way earth-shakers like Elon think, it’s this:

They don’t ask if it can be done, they ask how it can be done.

“I can’t build a rocket because it’s too expensive” becomes “how can I build an affordable rocket?”

“I can’t start a business because I don’t know how” becomes “how can I learn how to build a business?”

“That career path won’t work” becomes “how can I make this career path work?”

“That isn’t possible” becomes “how can I make it possible?”

All it takes is one extra step in thinking:

Instead of assuming your assumptions are true, challenge them, and watch a new dimension of possibility fall open in front of you.

– T

P.S. Thank you, sincerely, to everyone sending amazing feedback on this week’s 3-part series on Backsliding.It’s inspiring to see how quickly this simple but powerful lesson has been put into action.

Well done y’all 🙂

“I know of no better life purpose than to perish in attempting the great and the impossible. The fact that something seems impossible shouldn’t be a reason to not pursue it. That’s exactly what makes it worth pursuing. Where would the courage and greatness be if success was certain, and there was no risk? The only true failure is shrinking away from life’s challenges.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

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