Asking “Is this possible?” is rarely relevant. The real question is, “Is this worth doing?” – Andrew Sliwinski
What does that mean?
This is the measure of human ingenuity. So many things which were once considered impossible are now routinely done. The word impossible is almost a punch-line in a barely funny joke.
We humans seem to take the label ‘impossible’ as a challenge. And with amazing regularity, change the impossible into the possible, and then into the practical. That’s just how we roll.
The quote finishes by asking the question of worthiness of the challenge and of the product. Is it possible to build a rocket ship to take people to Mars? Yes, but is it worth doing, given the astronomical price?
Is it possible to get a set of flat-ware made from Titanium? Sure, but is it worth doing, given the expense and difficulty? We can accomplish almost anything we set our minds to do. Do you really need that much strength and lightness?
Why is “Why?” important?
That is a probing question, one of the famous “5 W’s” used to gather information. If you know why you are doing something, you have a start on your motivation. With that in mind, you have your driving force already in hand.
Without knowing why you want to do something, how will you know if it is worth doing? What price are you willing to pay, both the monetary price, as well as the time and effort you will have to invest to accomplish the task.
In one example above, we considered sending someone to Mars. It was in the news recently, but the cost was quite high. Why would we put the effort in time and money, as well as risking the lives of the people?
If the answer was “Because I wanna go!” we are talking a whole different ball game than “For the sake of Science!” right? Answering the question “Why?” can help make answers much more clear, and highlight what we think is worth doing.
Where can I apply this in my life?
At one point in time, flying was impossible. Yet many of us have flown. At one point in time, you either walked or rode a horse (if you had the wealth to support such an extravagance). Now we walk for exercise or fun, and travel by something considered impossible, an internal combustion engine in a car, bus, or train.
If you learned to ride a tricycle, you probably considered riding a bicycle the next step, until you tried to balance on one. Then it became impossible. But with effort (and crashes), you learned how to do it. Why? because you thought it was worth doing.
If you had told me five years ago that, in five years, I’d be almost three years into blogging, have nearly a thousand posts, and starting to close in on one million page visits, I would have said, “That’s impossible. I don’t even like writing!” But I found my answer to “why?” and to “Is it worth doing?” so here I am.
My answer to the question “Why?” was fairly easy at first, it was a challenge, it was something I considered impossible. But with practice, it became fairly easy. To me, that alone made it worth doing, just to say I did it, and prove to myself that I could.
Then what? Why am I still at it? My “Why?” answer changed. I began to enjoy the challenge of each new quote. I began to enjoy the interaction with the people who have left comments on my blog. The answer to “Why?” was to help others, to pass on what I knew, and try to get people thinking about new ideas, or old ones.
With that, my answer to “Is this worth doing?” went from a luke-warm yes, to a very definite yes! Helping others is something I have always enjoyed, but had only limited outlets. Now, with the help of the internet, I have touched nearly every country on the planet, even Cuba, Iran, and North Korea.
We all have things we have thought about doing, but haven’t, for whatever reason. It is possible, but you need to know why you absolutely have to get it done. If it’s just something you’re curious about, you’ll work on it until the first rough spot, then you’ll work on something else instead.
You can do pretty much anything you can think of, if your “Why?” is bigger than your fears and the obstacles in your path. Then you only have to make sure it’s worth doing. As long as you stay on course, and learn from your experiences, the “How?” will resolve itself. Eventually.
- Five Questions (ephereallitter.com)
- What Makes It Worth It? (danieloppong.wordpress.com)
- Who Are You? (thedailypickmeup.wordpress.com)
- Far and away, the best prize life offers is (philosiblog.com)