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Sarah HartlandSep 13, 2016 12:00:00 AM5 min read

Nothing is Impossible: The Life and Work of Dr. Harold Finch

A young boy was sent to the principal’s office for doodling rocket ships in his math book. He wasn’t a bad little boy, just a dreamer, and space seemed much more interesting than the lesson he was supposed to be paying attention to. His name was Harold Finch.

The principal, who he would later describe as “a scary individual,” would tell him that day, “Harold, if you don’t get your mind out of the clouds, out of space, you’re never going to amount to anything.” He could have listened to this woman; some would say he should have. After all, she was older, wiser, and his authority. This visit to the principal’s office could have been the end of the story. Instead, it was just the beginning.

Harold’s aunt would later tell him the story of a boy in her fifth grade class in Kansas City, Missouri. This boy’s name was Walter, and he had recently moved to the area after his parent’s crop in rural Missouri had failed. She recalled that Walter was a bit ornery, not bad but just mischievous, and always getting in trouble for doodling in his textbooks. “Harold,” his aunt told him, “you remind me so much of him.” Her childhood classmate was Walt Disney.

From that day on, Harold began reading about this other doodler. He said, “I figured if this kid, who was a loser in grade school, not memorable to his classmates, if he could become something not just really good but amazingly great, extraordinary, why can’t I?”


Harold Finch at NASA, Project Director of Apollo Space Mission

Harold did become extraordinary, and he ended up exactly where his grade school principal said he never would: in space. Harold Finch worked himself through school and became the project director of NASA’s Apollo space mission, the first to land astronauts on the moon. He developed the technology that regulated the dramatic temperature swings of space, nicknamed the “Barbeque Roll.” He would go on to own two wildly successful businesses, work in orphanages in India and South America, host countless seminars on success, coach Fortune 500 executives and write a book called, “Success!: 4 Keys to Unlock Your Unlimited Potential,” which you can read for free here.

Throughout Harold’s life and career, when anyone said, “You can’t,” his response would simply be to let his success answer back for him. “I’ve spent probably 50 years... reading biographies about extraordinary people,” Harold said, “not people who were born wealthy but people who made it on their own, and not just in terms of money but in any kind of endeavor.. I just spent 50 years trying to find out what made these ordinary people become extraordinary.”

After years of studying stories like these, Harold concluded: “Most all of them were pretty average people to start with, almost boring people. And that gave me a lot of hope, because that was me. But also, although they were very different, they had three commonalities that I could tell- and that was the basis of my teaching of three keys for great success.”

From NASA to Hollywood


Harold Finch and Fred Thompson on the set of "Unlimited"

For the last twenty years, Harold has been teaching these three keys during free seminars he hosts around the country. It was these same seminars that inspired the film, “Unlimited.”  The idea for the film came after representatives from Youth With a Mission (YWAM) attending one of Harold’s seminars. They were impressed with the way young people seemed utterly engaged during Harold’s teaching, when YWAM was struggling to connect with teens and young adults. They thought, why not turn Harold’s success seminars into a film that would engage a wider audience and endure past Harold’s in-person teaching? And with that, Unlimited was born.

Producing the movie was not without it’s challenges. Opposition didn’t discourage Harold, though - in fact, quite the opposite. Harold told Pure Flix Insider,

“A pretty well known producer read the script and he said, ‘It’s really a good script but the odds of you turning that script into a movie are a thousand to one, and the odds of getting it into theaters and Pure Flix and international distribution is six hundred to one,’ ... and he said ‘Harold you can’t do that, you don’t have any experience and frankly you’re too old.’ Well, that just pumped me up! Tweet: That’s the idea of That’s the whole idea of the film, Unlimited, there’s no limit to what can be done, the only limits are what people place on us.”

The idea of no limits is echoed throughout the movie, “Unlimited.” In the film, a brilliant MIT student named Simon finds himself stranded without a passport in Mexico, tasked with finishing an invention that accomplishes the impossible. The film’s tagline is “All Things Are Possible,” and it’s a slogan appropriate for the movie and for Harold Finch’s life. Weaving fact and fiction together in an entertaining and captivating way, “Unlimited” is a science fiction family movie with elements of Harold’s real life and a plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

“I’ve really come to love those words when people say, ‘You can’t do that,’” Harold told Pure Flix Insider. “That’s just my history, people telling me, ‘You can’t do that,’ and me being stubborn and believing what I teach, that if you tell me I can’t do it then I’m going to do it and prove you wrong. And I believe everyone can do that. I believe God has implanted within everyone deep down in their souls great, extraordinary dreams, and all they have to do is harvest them.”

You can read more about Harold Finch and the facts and fiction of “Unlimited” here, read about how a NASA scientist reconciles faith and science here, and read Harold’s book here. Also, be sure and catch the family movie “Unlimited” on You can watch it and thousands of other family-friendly titles for free during your one month subscription.


Sarah Hartland

Sarah Hartland knew she wanted to be a writer from the time she wrote her first short story in the fourth grade. By the time she was in high school, she had written two novellas and countless short stories. It was her love of storytelling that led her into marketing and media.

Sarah freelanced throughout her time at Colorado Christian University, where she graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration. At CCU, Sarah competed in speech and debate across the country, securing multiple awards and a national debate championship. She co-lead CCU's first-ever broadcast media program, CCU.TV, and served as the program's Student Producer during her senior year.

When she's not writing blog posts or editing a video, Sarah loves to swing dance, ski, travel, or visit her seven younger siblings in Montana.