When I was a kid growing up I was a big fan of the television show Star Trek. Okay, so maybe my fascination with the show has lasted a little but beyond my kid years. I still like the show and the movies it spawned.
One of the more amazing things about the TV series, the original Star Trek and it’s successors, is just how much of the science “fiction” turned out to be not impossible fiction but real technology that is actually in use today.
Think about it.
In several episodes, we were amazed at the universal translator, which decoded what aliens said in real-time—and in the later shows, it was integrated into the communication badges (which explains why basically everyone, regardless of home planet, spoke English). Now, there’s an app for that. Voice Translator by TalirApps understands 71 languages (no Klingon yet, though). You speak in your native tongue and the app translates your phrase into another language.
Lieutenant Commander Geordi Laforge used a tablet computer (what they called Personal Access Data Devices, or PADDs) to punch in coordinates for the next star system. Other Starfleet personnel used them to watch video and listen to music. Sounds a lot like an iPad to me.
In the Star Trek universe, you can talk to a computer (voiced by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, Trek creator Gene’s wife) in casual conversation. Today we use Apple’s Siri and Google Now, and while they aren’t fully developed yet, they are first steps toward technology like Star Trek’s computer, which has a complex understanding of context. Google even codenamed their voice-based service “Majel,” in honor of Barrett-Roddenberry.
Captain Kirk was pretty handy with a phaser, and he didn’t always set his to stun. We’ve been using something similar since the first Iraq War. Known as a dazzler, the directed-energy weapon sends a pulse of electromagnetic radiation to stop someone cold in their tracks.
I could keep going with more examples but I think you get my point. Most of that fiction on Star Trek was impossible right up until the moment it wasn’t.
So what is really impossible?
Apparently nothing! At least not until every person living today, and every person who will live in the future agree that “it” is impossible. That’s a whole lotta people.
The lesson of Star Trek is simply; don’t let people tell you that “it” can’t be done. Don’t let other people limit your potential with their small thinking. Do what you think you can do and if you think you can’t do something think again. If someone else can do it then you can do it too. You only need a strong enough desire to make it so.
If no one else can do it then make yourself the first. Most of what we take for granted today was once considered impossible. It was impossible right up until the moment someone decided to make it possible.
Are you the person who will turn one of today’s “impossibles” into tomorrow’s “possible?”
You are if you decide you are.