The next time you feel yourself feeling confident, challenge yourself to do the
impossible. You just may. There are legions of people with unchallenged genius potential.
In 1912, two Irish music hall players were spending an afternoon in a pub at Stalybridge
in Cheshire, England. They were extolling the musical traditions of Ireland. It is said
that on that day they boasted they could write and perform a song in the same day. It
might have been a gimmick to stimulate attendance or it could have been genius jumping out
of its bag, for It's a Long Way to Tipperary was performed that night at the
Stalybridge Grand Theater by Jack Judge and Harry Williams. It was an overnight success
that gained tremendous popularity during World War I as an Allies marching song.
Bits & Pieces, May 28, 1992, pp. 18-19.
When I was research head of General Motors and wanted a problem solved, I'd place a
table outside the meeting room with a sign: Leave slide rules here. If I didn't do that,
I'd find someone reaching for his slide rule. Then he'd be on his feet saying, "Boss,
you can't do it."
Charles F. Kettering in Bits & Pieces, Dec, 1991, p. 24.
Years ago new engineers in the Lamp Division of General Electric were assigned, as a
joke, the impossible task of frosting bulbs on the inside. Eventually, however, an
undaunted newcomer named Marvin Pipkin not only found a way to frost bulbs on the inside
but developed an etching acid that gave minutely rounded pits instead of sharp
depressions. This materially strengthened each bulb. Fortunately, no one had told him it
couldn't be done, so he did it.
Bits & Pieces, December, 1989, p. 20-21.
Automobile genius Henry Ford once came up with a revolutionary plan for a new kind of
engine which we know today as the V-8. Ford was eager to get his great new idea into
production. He had some men draw up the plans, and presented them to the engineers. As the
engineers studied the drawings, one by one they cane to the same conclusion. Their
visionary boss just didn't know much about the fundamental principles of engineering. He'd
have to be told gently--his dream was impossible. Ford said, "Produce it
anyway." They replied, "But it's impossible." "Go ahead," Ford
commanded, "and stay on the job until you succeed, no matter how much time is
required." For six months they struggled with drawing after drawing, design after
design. Nothing. Another six months. Nothing. At the end of the year Ford checked with his
engineers and they once again told him that what he wanted was impossible. Ford told them
to keep going. They did. And they discovered how to build a V-8 engine.
Napolean Hill, Think and Grow Rich, 1960.