I don’t think the first people who considered flying to outer space began by asking, “Is this reasonable?”
If they had, there may have never been a footprint on the moon, when July 21, 1969 rolled around.
Is this reasonable, feasible, sensible? When starting a project, we often begin by asking these questions. They really mean, “Is this safe? Can it be done? Has this succeeded before?”
There is value in working smart, thoughtfully, in learning from past and present successes. The danger comes when we fear any risk at all; we stay comfortable running in the same circles, instead of taking steps forward.
Writer, critic and Nobel Prize winner, George Bernard Shaw writes:
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
Sometimes our “reasonableness” can lead us to adapt, instead of innovate. Creativity and thought leadership advance, when we learn to use our reason to be a little unreasonable at times.
Don’t ask, “Can it be done?” We can only know what has been done, so when we ask this question, we limit ourselves to the seen and heard. Rather, ask, “Does this idea have potential?” Instead of viewing past accomplishments as the boundaries for the possible, view them as stepping stones that allow you to reach for new possibilities.
Every so often, take a step back and think about how you approach the creative process. Do you set bounds on the possible before you even begin? Don’t be afraid to dream as big as footprints on the moon. You may not get there right away, but you will have expanded your horizon of possibilities and your potential by simply entertaining forward-thinking.
Be a little unreasonable today.
Last week, we gathered the team and trekked up to Tahoe for our staff retreat. It was a time of team-bonding and reenergizing. We believe work and fun should not be mutually exclusive.