The 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing really highlighted what can be achieved when we set audacious goals. Within 10 years of Kennedy’s historic goal-setting speech, we had achieved the inconceivable, impossible feat of landing a man on the moon. You don’t achieve great things like this by taking the easy path, you have to make things hard for yourself if you really want to make your mark.
Now we may not all get to be President of the United States (although the barrier to entry has been lowered considerably in recent years) so we may not get the chance to set audacious goals for the nation and humanity, but we can apply the same thinking to our own endeavours.
Making things harder on ourselves can actually give us a better chance of success.
It seems like a very counter-intuitive idea, but it was a theme that came through at Jason Calacanis’ recent Launch Festival in Sydney. If you are trying to do something easy, chances are there a bunch of other people already doing it as well. There is little chance of differentiating in a crowded space. But by setting audacious goals, by making things hard for yourself, you have the potential to solve a whole lot of problems that everyone else thinks are too hard, and if you manage to solve those problems, everyone will take notice.
Take Rahul Vohra, Founder and CEO of Superhuman for instance. By setting himself the task of creating the fastest email experience ever made, as Jason pointed out, he was not only taking on the biggest tech company in the world who owned the most popular, integrated and user-friendly email platform in the world, he was going to charge people for a service they were already getting for free. That’s one hell of a bold move, but that’s the sort of idea that attracts seed funding, and Superhuman is already proving enormously popular with its user base.
Newcastle entrepreneur and Founder of Eatsee, Jessica Koncz was another who reinforced the need to avoid the easy path. After winning the pitch at Launch Festival 2018, Jessica rocked up to San Francisco 12 weeks early for her accelerator program so she could sit in on the course that was running before hers. Her reasoning – you have to be way over-prepared to have any chance of making it. She wasn’t taking any chances. She was making sure she ran into every possible obstacle before she had to actually tackle it, so she would be twice as prepared as the next person to overcome difficulties.
By making things harder for yourself, you make things so much easier and more enjoyable for the end user. Nobody outside of the Apollo program had to solve the problem of how to get a man on the moon, but the experience for everyone else on earth was exceptional – so good in fact that we are still reveling in it 50 years later.