When I was 12, a wormhole to my future self opened up. It happened while I was building a Lego model of Big Foot, the iconic monster truck. With a fully functional transmission, snowplow, even a working winch, it was the most advanced model that I'd ever tried to put together. To me, it looked impossible.
But I kept at it, hour after hour, bit by bit, building and rebuilding. Until, after several days, I pushed the final piece into place. I marveled at my finished truck, which I named Big Toe, and I remember feeling like I'd surprised myself that I'd been able to do it.
I didn't know it at the time, but that was my first step on the path to becoming a designer—someone who thinks up and builds things for a living. For years I was a product designer here in the Bay Area. And I got to build everything from sunglasses to anesthesia-delivery devices.
When you choose to become a designer, early on many of the things that you're asked to do seem impossible. One of my first assignments was to construct a working bicycle ... made entirely out of paper.
But over time, designers get more comfortable doing what "can't" be done. Because they learn that if you just keep working and re-working a problem, you'll gradually find your way to its solution. The impossible becomes, simply, the eventual. And before you know it, you're riding a paper bike!