Punching through the stratosphere

by maximusaurus

Imagine trying to explain to someone in the year 1900 that before the century was out, humans would have traveled to the moon, put robots on Mars, and invented a global electronic network through which information could be shared almost instantaneously.

In all likelihood, they wouldn’t believe you, because in their mind, such things would be beyond the limits of reasonable probability. People tend to think that nowadays we’re more enlightened, but the truth is, all too often we see the world through a similarly limited view. We place restrictive limitations on what we believe ourselves or other people are capable of.

One of the privileges of my position is that I get to see these limits shattered on a daily basis.

I work with a guy on the spectrum whose parents were once told that he wouldn’t be able to go to a mainstream school. He is currently nearing the end of a PhD in medicine.

I’ve worked with students who in the space of a few months have gone from being too scared to utter a word in class, to giving a speech in front of hundreds of people.

I know numerous individuals who were expected to never finish school, or get a job, or live independently, but who managed to surpass these limiting predictions like a rocket breaking free of Earth’s gravity and hurtling into space.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to never underestimate someone’s potential. If you showed that person from 1900 the Apollo 11 rocket, they’d probably say it would never get off the ground. And yet there are footprints on the moon.