On knowing it can be done
Can you imagine how difficult the crossword puzzle would be if any given answer might be, "there is no such word"?
The reason puzzles work at all is that we know we should keep working on them until we figure them out. Giving up is not a valid strategy, because none-of-the-above is not a valid answer.
The same thing happened with the 4 minute mile. It was impossible, until it was done. Once Bannister ran his mile, the floodgates opened.
Knowing it was possible was the hard part.
And that's how software leaps forward as well. Almost no one seriously attempts something, until someone figures out that with a lot of work, it can be done. Then the shortcuts begin to appear, and suddenly, it's easy.
As soon as we stop denying the possible, we're able to focus our effort on making it happen.
[PS Tomorrow is the first priority application deadline for the next session of the altMBA.]