Bullets could do it.
Cannon balls could do it.
But no one knew whether a human being could do it.
The smartest people in the world didn’t know whether it was possible for an airplane—or a person inside—to withstand the physical pressures of travelling faster than sound.
There was only one way to find out: Try.
It required a group of people dedicated to the mission and the will to build something theoretically capable.
A group of people willing to ignore conventional wisdom. Who wouldn’t listen to the excuses for why they couldn’t.
And it required courage. Someone brave enough to be the first to do something new and different and dangerous.
A decade later, on Oct. 14, 1947, a huge boom reverberated across the Mojave Desert.
U.S. Air Force Capt. Chuck Yeager piloted a rocket-powered plane faster than the speed of sound—the first known instance of man breaking the sound barrier.
A little hard work and bravery.
Changed the world.
I’m not a very brave person sometimes.
As a single guy, not a week goes by where I don’t see some girl I wish I had the courage to talk to, but I rarely do. Because I’m irrationally afraid of rejection as if I’ll be sitting around five years from now (or even five days from now) giving two shits about being rejected by some stranger I may have ended up not liking anyway.
And of course, she might say yes.
But sometimes I am brave. Sometimes I have the courage to ask. And sometimes they say yes.
There are moments when I feel awesome. Maybe it’s because I’m looking handsome-ish. Maybe it’s because my jokes are working. Maybe it’s because I’m surrounded by friends. Maybe it’s because of magic.
I don’t know how to bottle that magic, otherwise I would and drink it every day.
What if we could bottle that magic?
One of the world’s most-brilliant marketers is a man named Seth Godin.
He wrote this yesterday:
Halloween gives you permission to dress up. April Fool’s, a chance to play a prank.
What if there was one day of the year where you had permission to do things that made people say, “wow.”
Acts of generosity or bravery or insight…
What if you focused and practiced and got your nerve up and leaned way over the edge, just one day of the year? If you could get out of your comfort zone for a few hours in a way that benefitted and delighted people you care about, what would that look and feel like?
Today might be your wowday.
Up to you.
That guy often gets my wheels turning in ways others cannot.
I love being rebellious. Challenging the bullshit I observe. It’s because I almost never do it, and when I do, it’s because I strongly believe in whatever I’m fighting for or against.
My job in Corporate America has bullshit rules.
And our domesticated lives in the suburbs have bullshit rules.
And we walk around doing so many things—school, work, church, marriage, etc.—because we’re programmed like robots from the womb to do them.
A girl I went to high school with in Ohio moved to London for nearly three years.
Some of you are like: “Yeah, Matt. No big deal. People do things like that.”
Others are like me.
Move to another country? Are you insane? That’s big and scary and wayyyyy outside the box!
And listen, I don’t want to move to another country. I like the States. A lot. I live here on purpose. But it’s really just a metaphor for all of these things we do, somewhat thoughtlessly. Because it was sort of pounded into our heads from a young age that this is just what you do.
It’s okay to do these things because we want to. Because we choose to. But, because we were brainwashed to? Because of habit?
Some habits are bad. Even if most other people do them, too.
Bullets broke the sound barrier before man because bullets are smart enough to stay out of their own way. That probably isn’t true. Bullets probably aren’t very smart at all.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from them.
If we strip away the doubt—all of the excuses for not doing something. If we ignore the people who tell us we can’t do it—that we’re not good enough. If we challenge the status quo—can’t we change the world like Yeager and his flight team?
Can’t we be bullets?
Can’t we break the sound barrier?
What if the only thing we did today was make or do something that made people say “wow”?
Just a bunch of people making magic?
I bet people would hear that for miles and miles.
I bet people would write about that day.