When someone says “it’s never been done before,” what words follow – “but let’s try it anyway” or “so we shouldn’t be doing it”?
Maybe it depends on the context in which the phrase is said.
Maybe there is a big decision that must be made, requiring careful consideration.
Maybe there is a lot of uncertainties and risks that cannot be quantified (or even identified) beforehand.
So what makes some people take the “never been done before” as an opportunity, while others see it as a threat?
Maybe they have a strong belief that there are great benefits that outweigh any costs?
Maybe they have a good hunch that it will succeed?
Maybe they have no fear of the unknown?
I do not have the exact statistics, but from my own experience, I get the impression that those who find the “never been done before” opportunistic have no stronger belief or better hunch or less fear than those who find it threatening… if anything, they tend to be more suspicious and rational and fearful.
Rather, maybe they knew that there is a first time for everything.
And maybe they somehow knew that the time was now (or fast approaching).
Maybe knowing that it is inevitable, they chose to be better informed and prepared to ride it out better.
When my people says “it’s never been done before,” it is quite often seen as a threatening situation and equated with “so we shouldn’t be doing it.” The second half need not be said – you can just hear it in their tone!
And to these people, before they say the second half, I bud in and say “but there’s a first time for everything… and there’s no time like the present to think about it.” And I explain the beliefs / suspicions and hunches / rationales and fears, and try to persuade them to at least consider trying anyway.
It does not always work. But in most cases, it is the first time that they have had someone bud in and steal words from their mouths, so they learn firsthand what it is like to experience something that has never been done before… and I get to enjoy the look on their faces every time, long after I have experienced the first time doing so. You would be surprised how quickly the “never been done before” becomes customary in you!