We ask this all the time. “What is possible in this task, where could my efforts lead?” Others ask us the same question in different ways. And we’re not very good at answering it.
Here’s one: How fast can a human pedal a bicycle? Really, pick a number in Miles Per Hour. Answer this question of what is possible.
The reason we often aren’t very good at answering these questions is that we often aproach them from the wrong end. We look at what is Past, and then answer with what is Probable. We don’t actually answer with what is Possible.
In finding your answer to the bolded question above you likely when back to some time when you rode, or saw someone ride, a bicycle very fast.
Maybe you did like me: I once rode down a hill and past a speed-trap sign that displayed 35MPH. I doubled that, and you liked did your experience too, and so when asked this I said 70MPH. That is how fast I think it is possible for a person to pedal a bicycle.
That answer was what I thought was Probable, and the truth is that the answer to “what is possible” is likely not realized even yet. But Fred Rompelberg has gotten close.
In 1995 Fred Rompelberg pedaled his bicycle 167MPH! He did it on flat land, under his own power. And that blows my mind.