Have you ever once said “That’s impossible!” in your life?
Many times, and I even do it to this day, still not having learned from my mistakes (although I’m getting better).
It is always amazing to me that I can still utter those words today, knowing the history and potential of humankind for better or for worse.
All the “Impossibles” of Life:
- That the world is actually a sphere and ’round’, not flat
- The widespread usage of ‘horseless’ carriage (a car) or personal computers
- Our ancestors could conceive of and build things like Stonehenge and Pyramids without modern technology
- A telephone would be small and portable enough to hold in the palm of your hand
- Man could one day, walk on the moon and go into outer space
- People would FLY through the air in huge, heavy, metal contraptions to get from one country to another
- We could talk to each other over something called the “Internet” without having to call or see the person
- … or have people we consider ‘friends’ without ever having met them in real life?
- All those “ordinary” people who get their college degrees while being a single parent/in poverty/without any education, etc etc.
- Helpless, defenseless 4-month old baby could survive such a wave of horrific disasters happening in Japan?
I could go on of all the Impossibles that shouldn’t have been Possible, and I’m sure you have plenty of examples of your own.
So why is it that we don’t think that for ourselves that what others can do is ever Possible for us?
How can you say for certain what is possible and impossible?
Whenever my clients ask me: Is that possible?
I always say: Everything is technically possible. The question is more of Time, Money and Resources!
A person who can say what is impossible, cuts themselves off from growing and refuses to be challenged.
Being a huge geek and fan of Japanese samurai manga from a very young age*, those pages made into easy-to-understand stories really shaped my worldview and perspective growing up.
While I am not as flexible ‘as a willow in the wind’, I try to be, even though I sometimes fail in my endeavours to do so.
*Lone Wolf and Cub, Samurai Executioner, Usagi Yojimbo, Lady Snowblood, Path of the Assassin
My own world view as an adult now consists of these three basic principles:
- POSSIBLE: What can be done because it’s been proven before
- IMPOSSIBLE: What cannot be done
- NOT POSSIBLE: What cannot be done…. at this moment or in this place
Not possible not the same as Impossible, because it just means this isn’t the time or the place.
Once, I told myself as a student: It’s just impossible to take time off and travel for a month or two wherever I want.
First, I don’t have the money and second, if I got a job to make the money, where would I ever get the damn time!?
Frustrated, I put it out of my mind and didn’t travel until recent years, thinking I simply didn’t have the means to do so.
I was admittedly envious of students who jet-setted off to Europe or even NYC for a week(s) at a time after high school, during college and after college before starting their jobs.
Now, I am publicly eating my words because 2011 is the Year of Travel for me.
Surprisingly, I overcame my own mental and resource obstacles, and thankfully I now have the money and the time to travel.
Best of all? I have someone to travel with, which makes it all the more special.
Never say never, they say.
So how does all of this mumbo jumbo apply to you?
The next time someone tells you that your goal, your plan, your idea, your life is impossible, don’t immediately dismiss it, but take it with a grain of salt.
There is a truth in what they are saying, and instead of it being negative, it’s more of a concern (most of the time, anyway).
My new approach is to find out why they think it’s impossible and try to think of creative ways to overcome, or guard against it.
Example: That’s impossible, how can minimalism apply to my life?
I’m a mother with 2 kids, a husband, a house, a mortgage and 2 cars. I’m the antithesis of minimalism!
When you encounter such “impossibles” such as the above, it means that they’ve never tried it before, and:
- They’re a hardcore skeptic who has made up their mind and nothing you will say or do, will ever change it.
- They’re really trying to find a way to make this ‘minimalism’ thing work for them even with their modern, urban life.
For all skeptics and cynics, you’re wasting your breath. Don’t bother trying to convince people who don’t want to change or be convinced.
It’s futile and a waste of energy. Smile, nod in pleasant agreement and quietly move on.
For those who are just frustrated with trying to see how it can work in a life such as theirs, I lead you to my blogroll.
I am not yet a parent, but these folks are, and they’re giving it their best shot:
- Jarkko Laine
- Simple Black Coffee
- The Simple Llama
- Steven K. Griffin
- Minimalist Mum
- ..and not to be confused: Minimalist Mom(Canada)
- Minimalist Moms
- Jurino (Netherlands)
- What Matters Right Now
- We Live Simply
- Minimalism, Defined
- The Suburban Minimalist
- You, Simplified
- Crunchy Minimalist
- Rousing Rowena
(My apologies for missing anyone. Please let me know in the comments and I shall update accordingly. See? I’m self-admittedly laaaaazy. )
Sure, they’re not perfect and they admit it, but I think they’re amazing inspirations for when I eventually become a parent and want to continue being a minimalist.
Who’s to say what is possible or impossible?
Example: That’s impossible. You can’t start your own business.
You have no training, no college diploma, you BARELY passed high school and who the hell would go to someone without credentials?
This was said to someone who had a learning disability during school.
BF told me this when he was in France, working for a company there. He happened to meet a guy who recounted this story to him on the job:
The guy said that as a kid, he couldn’t understand things as fast as the other kids, and had dyslexia, which caused him to mix up words and create all sorts of aggravation.
He ended up becoming a simple mechanic after high school, fixing cars and enjoying tinkering under the hood.
Eventually, he saved enough money and had the brilliant idea to start his own business as a mechanic.
Then he encountered The Impossibles from his family and friends.
He told BF he was “too stupid at the time to listen to them“, seeing as he couldn’t grasp the magnitude of what they were saying to him, and stubbornly opened a shop anyway.
Guarding against what they said would be roadblocks, he made sure to do excellent jobs for cheap or even for free just to build a reputation.
Soon, he had more business than he could handle, and his passion for cars and being the self-proclaimed “honest mechanic around the corner who is supposedly too dumb to trick you”, worked.
He now owns shops across the area he lives in, has retired at 45 and is living a simple life by choice.
He occasionally works on cars because he loves it, but he doesn’t have to for the rest of his life. He does whatever he wants, whenever he wants.
Granted, he was a mechanic and not an aerospace engineer who would need a college degree to get into such a field, but even so. They all told him it was impossible.
Who’s to say what is possible or impossible?
Example: That’s impossible to juggle everything being a parent, an employee, a friend, a spouse, a child and a sibling!
It isn’t impossible, it just is not possible because more than likely, your time is filled with other non-important things.
I catch myself wasting time ALL THE TIME.
I have a list of 50 draft ideas for posts I should create in my free time or in between contracts, but what do I do instead?
Go on Twitter. WatchVideos. Answer Emails. Laze around. Read Blogs. Read books. Cook. Do Anything But Post.
Granted, it’s because I have all this free time and posts up scheduled a year in advance that I can relax and use time so luxuriously.
I could be more productive, but I choose not to be, and that’s the simple truth.
I know it, and you know it too.
Who’s to say what is possible or impossible?
DO NOT quit your job after reading this
I am not telling you to quit your job, become a nomad, travel the world and volunteer in Africa.
Even though things are now Possible for you (regardless of age restrictions — this is not just for young people), it doesn’t make it right to do at this moment. There is a practicality involved in the reality that we live in.
So come up with a goal, and if traveling the world is what you want to do, then figure out a plan to go ahead and do it.
Start by examining all the steps you need to take to formulate such a plan, and work towards it.
Perhaps your goals are a lot simpler. You want to pay off your house, get out of debt, and visit China for 2 weeks to see the Terracotta Army.
Right now, you think it is not possible because of your mortgage, debt and kids, but why not try?
Give it a shot, learn how to manage your money (if you haven’t already done so), save up and make the dream come true.
You’re only limited to your own self-imposed limitations
You are most likely not the first person to ever have thought of the idea exclusively!
Maybe lots of people have done it before you.
Find them. Learn from them. Ask questions. Come up with a plan and execute it.
Things we want in life are never really Impossible, they are just Not Possible Right Now.
You may never get to do what you want to do until the age of 70. Or even at all…. but why give up before trying?
You may fail 999 times trying to launch different ideas, but on the thousandth try, you could make it.
How can a lion be friends with a human?
Story of Christian the Lion
How can you play a piano without fingers?
Story of an armless Chinese man who plays with his toes
How can a ballerina stand on someone’s head en pointe?
Great Chinese State Circus – Swan Lake
How can 2 people fit into a tiny box?
Contortionists and a Small Box (skip to 2:19 for the major moment)
How can pole dancing ever be called elegant or amazing?
May not be safe for work (NSFW) but there’s no nudity: Felix Cane Winner of the 2009 Championships
(She does some pretty amazing moves. Such grace, skill and strength!)