The power of imagination

The problem with young people today is that there are so many opportunities to pursue but so little knowledge of what is actually right for them.

People tend to say "oh yeah I wanna be a doctor, I'm gonna try to get into this med university", without actually validating if this is something they really want to do.

If you applied the same process to building a company, your company would crash and burn: trying to get into med university without knowing if this is really something for you would be the equivalent of building the whole product - it just won't work and it certainly doesn't scale.

You need to figure out what the MVP could look like, do you really need to go to med university to find out if you want to become a doctor? Or do you just need to take a first aid course? This whole idea revolves around Steve Blanks's concept of "getting out the building" and actually knowing things for facts rather than taking risky assumptions. But where would you start? Which things should you try first and far more importantly, what CAN you even try? In short, you need to be able to imagine. And that's where education becomes crucial.

We live in a world in which you can literally become almost anything you can think of. That’s a problem.

Because your imagination is the only limitation.

Why exactly is that a problem? Because in order to imagine, you need to have a clue about what's even possible in the first place.

That's the reason why education is so incredibly crucial to success: it powers your imagination. Let me explain: You are born and essentially know nothing. As you get older, you learn your imagination develops.

Who’s imagination do you believe will be more developed? A kid who’s sitting in front of the tv all the time and looks at their smartphone or a kid who’s given books to read and is told stories about entrepreneurs and the greatest thinkers of our time and what they achieved even though no one believed in them?

Think about it this way: How could you ever become a doctor if you don’t even know doctors exist? Education is the foundation for knowing what's possible → having ideas about what's possible expands your imagination → imagination drives success.

In my opinion, this is the single most important reason why kids of people coming from an academic background have a higher chance of becoming successful - they are simply shown what's possible and achievable.Another example to emphasize: When the only thing you think is possible is working at McDonald's (for example as shown by your parents or friends), then that will be the only thing possible for you.

This text excerpt from the startup genome project is when this notion of "what's possible" really hit me: "In 1964, Roger Bannister became famous as the first person to ever run a 4-minute mile — breaking a barrier that had stood for decades and many thought humanly impossible to reach.

Once he showed it could be done, the same barrier was broken by John Landy, an Australian runner, only 46 days later. And as Bill Taylor relates in a Harvard Business Review article, just a year later three runners broke the barrier in the same race. Once Bannister showed the possibility, that level of performance that had never been achieved for decades became achievable.

Since then, over 1,000 runners have completed a 4-minute mile."What we should really strive for as a society, as entrepreneurs, or as parents is to empower imagination through education.