We recently came across two monumental tasks worth sharing. The first being, Lenka Clayton and Michael Crowe’s attempt to send a personal letter to everyone in the world in an effort to build community and combat loneliness. Check out some of their letters here or listen to CBC’s podcast “The Current” discuss it here.
Our second seemingly impossible task we found amusing was an anonymous blogger who is attempting to draw every person in New York city (quick fact: New York’s population is estimated to be around 9 million). If you want to be drawn, you can email him a time and location and he will try to make it happen. His blogpost can be found here if you’re looking to check up on his progress.
Now these tasks may be considered quite impressive to some, and flat out ridiculous to others, and regardless of how you feel about them, you’re still left asking “what’s the point” and “will they actually do it”? To this we say, why should it matter if they succeed or not? What if in taking on such monumental tasks, these people inspire others to adopt their own seemingly impossible objectives. What if we all believed that no job is too hard, no challenge too big, no mission impossible?
Consider these other monumental tasks from history that were once considered “impossible” missions in their own right:
- Mapping the planet (In the early nineteenth century David Thompson surveyed over three million square kilometres of largely uncharted land from Hudson Bay west to the Pacific Ocean – his map was so accurate it was used for the next 100 years)
- Incredible buildings: the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids, Peterhof (Peter the Great’s Imperial Estate), The Eiffel Tower, and all the seven wonders of the medieval world and seven wonders of the ancient world
- Landing on the moon
- The invention of the submarine
- Learning to fly
A great discussion related to this topic is taking place a little closer to home, as The Tyee (a left-wing BC web magazine) is once again offering its “Big Ideas” series. Idea #6 is on Vertical Agitation. They describe the most common form of agitation as horizontal agitation (otherwise known as peer pressure). In this article, Jennifer Jacquet argues that in order to make change happen on a large scale, we need to start practicing vertical agitation – in ways such as going straight to the top of organizations and governments to convince them on what needs to be done. To us, this sounds like an attempt at the “impossible”, but she cites examples of people she knows who have personally been making this happen. A great example she lists is a colleague who convinced Nicolas Sarkozy (the French President) to support a CITES listing of bluefin tuna, which resulted in a mass EU ban on porbeagle shark fishing.
Maybe you don’t dream of saving the planet or changing the world, but whatever your impossible goals may be, consider that your actions may be just enough to inspire others to go after their lofty aspirations too. Maybe this is just what the planet needs right now to accomplish the biggest of “mission impossibles” like world hunger, world peace, and global warming. As they say: you never know until you try – who knows, you just might accomplish the impossible!
So after reading about these “impossible” tasks, we decided to create one for Eclipse, and here it is: we promise if you bring us even the most difficult or “impossible” marketing / branding task your business faces, we will try our darndest to make it a reality!