Friday, March 24, 2017

Making the Impossible Possible

Nothing is impossible; the word itself says “I’m possible”. Audrey Hepburn


I remember the first day of physics class in college. A man walked in looking like something out of a cartoon: little pot belly, disheveled shirt, the bald spot on his head surrounded by a thin ring of hair that stuck up in every direction. He started writing something on the chalkboard:

“Definitely YES!

Probably yes.


Probably not.

Definitely NOT!”

He asked the class not to raise their hands, but to just think about where on that spectrum they were on the following question.

“Do you believe ghosts exist?”

After a short pause he drew a line between “Maybe” and “Probably not” then said, “Anyone from here down is going to have trouble with this class because if you can’t believe in something you can’t see, you’re going to have trouble believing things do what we say they do.” He then went on to add another fun little wrinkle by saying that some of what we’d be talking about as “laws” of physics weren’t really laws, they were just “hypotheses no one has proven wrong yet”.

Uhm. . .so, just believe it 'cause we say so until we prove differently. Sure. Okay. Needless to say this was not exactly what I expected to hear from a physics professor. LOL

Nice little trek down memory lane, but what’s it got to do with anything right now?

Well, we often limit ourselves because we can’t believe something we can’t see yet. Or we get stuck on a past experience, using that as “proof” that we can’t do something because we didn’t do it when we tried before.

What would happen if an ice skater kept thinking he/she would never be able to execute a triple axel because they’d fallen before and therefore didn’t try again? They’d be right. It wouldn’t be possible to ever execute one.

What if Thomas Edison believed that it was impossible to create the light bulb? Or if the Wright brothers believed it was impossible for man to ever fly? Sure it wasn’t possible at the time, but they proved it wrong. Granted it took a lot of effort and lot of trial and error, but they didn’t let the “impossible” limit their belief or keep them from trying.

We do this often on a much smaller scale, telling ourselves we “can’t” do something before we even start, or setting our goals so low we never stretch and grow.

Before I joined a praise team at church, I didn’t think I could sing harmony if I didn’t have the notes in front of me. I can – I just had never tried. I didn’t think I could ever write a book. It may not be complete yet, but now I know I not only can do it, I AM doing it.

Six months ago, I didn’t believe I could make enough progress in a short time to do well in a body transformation contest, then something clicked and I started to really believe I could. I certainly didn’t have any evidence of that yet. At one point during the challenge, there was a guy who posted this excel chart where he’d crunched all kinds of data and thought he could predict based on his data who was going to be in the top three. I was barely in the top 10 and that only in 1 of the categories he chose. The rest - not even close. I could have believed that because it was something I could see; hard data that “proved” it. But in reality, it was just his hypothesis and it hadn’t been proven wrong yet. I chose to believe I could still win, and that there were many factors he had no way of measuring. You know what? I was right! I proved his hypothesis wrong! I won first place in the women.

The point is, if I kept on with the belief that I couldn’t do those things, I would never have accomplished any of them because I wouldn’t have put forth the effort to do so.

If you already have the proof you can do it, then it’s not going to feel like you accomplished much. But if you aim higher, I assure you it will feel great when you get there. So dream big. Set goals that scare you a little. Then believe you can do it, visualize reaching it, and go for it.

Instead of accepting only what you can see already, instead of acquiescing to the idea that something is “impossible”, listen to the whisper in your mind that says “I’m possible”.