Are you a possibility thinker?
There’s power in thinking purposefully about possibilities. Often it takes the seemingly impossible awaken it.
Consider the heroic efforts by the Apollo 13 crew and the NASA engineers who worked tirelessly to jury-rig a carbon dioxide removal system when an electrical short in a cryogenic oxygen tank rendered the command module inoperable. They had only what was on board to help them. Trips to Radio Shack were not an option. They were consuming their limited battery supply and oxygen. Unlimited time was not an option. Their space ship was quickly becoming a casket.
As Samuel Johnson once wrote, “Nothing focuses the mind like a hanging.” Fortunately, the NASA team was focused. And from it emerged possibility thinking. For them failure was not an option.**
It’s possibility thinking that inspired Steven Callahan too. In 1982 his sloop sank seven days off the Canary Islands after being struck by a whale. With few supplies in his six foot inflatable raft, he survived 76 days eating raw fish he harpooned from a make-shift speargun and by drinking rainwater collected in devices he jury-rigged on board. In his words:
“I must work harder and longer each day to weave a world in which I can live. Survival is the play and I want the leading role.”
Stories of those facing impossible situations and finding the possible abound. What’s common among them is the presence of possibility thinking.
Possibility thinking is the disciplined combination of optimism, creativity, and perseverance. It’s a fervent belief in a better future outcome mixed with a willingness to defy convention and a never-say-die attitude.
When you’re facing the impossible, when your back’s to the wall, remember the stories of those who’ve triumphed over greater odds and consider the possibilities for your own success.
**This oft-quoted line has been attributed to NASA Flight Director, Gene Kranz, but was actually written by Bill Broyles for the movie.
What have you found to help you be a possibility thinker?