I have mentioned before that possibility goes together with risk and uncertainty. There is never one without the other. And possibility is about making what isn’t into what is. An egg is an actual egg, but it’s a possible omelette, poached egg, fried egg, scrambled egg, a missile thrown at a car or a person, and sometimes a chicken. The limits of all possibilities are as extensive as the complexities and reach of your imagination, the depth and range of your past experience and your willingness to risk moving into the unknown.
Why do some people see possibilities where others do not? The difference lies in the individual’s ability to step outside the domains of their ordinary living and ask “What if this were so? What if I tried that? What if? What if?” We are used to living in our comfort zones, and there is stability and familiarity in that. It is where we spend most of our time. It gives us security. If you want new possibilities, you have to give up some of your security. You have to move into new domains. You have to hang out with the unfamiliar, and most of all you have to ask new and different questions about yourself and your surroundings. All innovation comes from this willingness to ask such questions. Einstein imagined riding a light beam and looking back at a clock and realized that the light from the clock would always show the same time. From there he went on to create his theory of relativity. Picasso saw a bike seat and handlebars on a junk pile, took them home and created a unique sculpture of a bull with horns. Newton watched the apple fall from a tree and asked why didn’t the earth fall towards the apple? This led to his famous three laws of gravitation. Columbus asked if the earth was really flat, decided it might not be and discovered the Western hemisphere. Steve Jobs asked what do people really want and gave us the Iphone, the Ipad and user friendly software. Every inventor and creator asked new questions, questions that others didn’t think of or couldn’t imagine, and because they did we have all the wonders of our modern world: from electricity to jet planes, computers, cell phones, electron microscopes, space shuttles, safety pins and paper clips. The list is endless.
What questions are you not asking?