How to do impossible tasks

Back on August 16th, we in Auckland celebrated TEDxAuckland # 5 with another series of inspiring talks from locals with big ideas and great stories. Now a number of those 2014 talks are online and you can check them out.

One of the talks I was most looking forward to was by Vaughan Rowsell who is the founder of software startup Vend. Vaughan’s talk is about his experience at doing the impossible and how he has worked on series of annual challenges over the past 7 years.

“We are all capable of incredibly impossible things…I know this because I do impossible things on a regular basis.. I am a regular guy”

Vaughan’s first challenge was to quit watching rugby for a year. He also stopped watching the TV news and quit alcohol for year as other challenges.

Then he started doing new things like cycling from the bottom of NZ to the top. From Stewart Island to Cape Reinga in just over 40 days. Last year he ran 1 million metres which works out to be 3km per day and in 2010 he wanted to start a $100m company which is Vend.

Vend has now raised around $35m in funding and has about 150 staff and is growing very fast so that challenge will take a few more years but like the other “impossible things” it is the result of deciding on a goal and just keeping at it.

What I personally like about the story is that Vaughan is low key and doesn’t oversell the story at all. He talks about his mum who overcame many things to raise him and his two brothers despite being a solo parent in a wheelchair. For Vaughan doing impossible things gives him the inspiration to keep at it and he hopes it will inspire his children and others. Watch the “Living Impossibly” clip below. I especially love the line “Dude – do you know your mum is in a wheelchair?”

Note: the clip was deleted and reposted so new version has been updated below.

A number of the other TEDxAuckland 2014 clips are out now. “No regrets” by standup comedian Urzila Carlson was one of the earlier talks and was one of my favourites.

If you have kids you know that they can invent amazing things – partly because they haven’t yet learned about what is not possible. Luke Nola started a TV show called “Lets Get Inventing” many years ago and here is his talk from the same event. His talk “Ideas are nothing” is below.

For a playlist of all the 2014 TedxAuckland talks go here. It was actually held on Sat August 16th but for some reason is dated here as being August 15th which must be a timezone issue.