Don't Stop at the Obstacle...Build a Bridge and Get Over It
One of my favorite places to travel to is San Francisco where there is history, culture, and a lot of inspiration. Intrigued by the city after one of my first trips I had read the below story about some of the history that was interestingly applicable to where my own company and many other companies are at with the need to make constant changes, keep up with the struggling economy, and even the doubters that say it can’t be done. You can follow the trail lead by the group that says it can’t be done or you can blaze your own trail and go where no one has gone!
Against All Odds….The Golden Gate Bridge
To those who said “it can’t be done” and “we don’t want it”, visionary Joseph Strauss replied “Don’t be afraid to dream!”
Before the Golden Gate Bridge was constructed, ferries were the only means to go across the San Francisco Bay. Being less time consuming and financially viable, ferry services became an important mode of transportation in this region. But when the water body began to get crowded with vessels, an idea to build a bridge across connecting San Francisco to Marin County came up. Initially experts thought it was impossible to build a bridge across the 6,700 ft strait. A bridge in this location would have to withstand brutal winds, tide, and fog. It would also sit less than eight miles from the epicenter of the most catastrophic earthquake in history. The strong currents, swirling tides, depth of the water, strong winds and dense fog made the construction of this bridge nearly impossible. Only one engineer, Joseph Strauss, was willing to gamble that his bridge design could withstand such destructive power and he didn’t give up on the pursuit to make the impossible possible!
He came up with a design, where 2 massive cantilevers built on either side of the strait, were connected by a central suspension segment. Though the local authorities accepted the proposal, Strauss had a hard time getting support from many people and departments. The engineers from San Francisco City also estimated that the total cost of building the bridge would be around a $100 million, which was extremely large for that time period and the financial and economic struggles people were faced with. But with continuous efforts and passion he was finally successful in convincing the authorities and the land required was then allotted for constructing the structure to the “Bridging the Golden Gate Association” in May 1924. Strauss made safety and quality a top priority which required much time and effort up front but has proved to withstand time, wind, traffic, and natural disasters! Today, the bridge is often referred to as one of the “most spectacular bridges in the world.” What seemed to be an impossible task, an unnecessary fix to a problem that seemingly already had answers ended up literally bridging the gap not only between two towns, but between one man’s dream to a reality through relentless pursuit and perseverance through others doubt and countless obstacles.
The concepts are all too familiar to many of my personal goals and the goals of the work I do!
- Taking a pipe dream with many logical reasons to support why it can’t work ….and defying the odds
- Redefining what IS possible and what SHOULD happen
- Proving to the critics that it CAN and WILL be done
- Having a dream and following through with it
- Comitting to doing what is right for the long term while realizing that what is right is rarely what is easy…but doing it anyways
- Taking the time up front to make the best decision or create the most spectacular product for long term success, not a short term quick fix
- Creating a product, process, and service that can help people get from one point in their life to the point they dream of
The moral of the story is, believe passionately in where you are going and don’t stop until you get there….regardless of what people say along the way. It really is all in our attitude and how we CHOOSE to view things and do things. Within every gift lies adversity and within all adversity lies a gift. If you look back in history whether in our country, our company, and even in most of our lives, the most profound changes were never the ones that came easy. The most profound changes NEVER come from the path of least resistance and almost ALWAYS require a leap of faith in believing more in the excitement and possibilities of what could be than the comfort of what IS. Its knowing the risk of complacency is far greater than the risk of change and moving into unknown territory towards the direction of what’s right.
So when you come across those people telling you it’s impossible, a hardship, or an obstacle in your path….don’t quit! Be the visionary, not the critic! THINK big, DO big, and FOLLOW THROUGH big! Don’t stop at the obstacle…BUILD A BRIDGE and GET OVER IT!!