Arguably, no word in the English language is more daunting and discouraging than I-M-P-O-S-S-B-L-E. It is like a giant flashing red stop sign that halts impetus in its tracks. It drains energy from any endeavor. It is just a really long word that means N-O. No, it cannot be done. No, it is not achievable. No, it is not realistic. It is the favorite word of skeptics, naysayers and negative ninnies. It renders requests as unreasonable and ideas as ridiculous. Impossible is the destroyer of potential, promises and prospects. As the word says so clearly, impossible is the slayer of possibilities.
And yet, the history of the world is littered with the multitude of things that were once thought “impossible.” Flying machines, now known as airplanes… a $706 Billion industry. Motorized carriages without horses, now referred to as cars…. A $1.2 Trillion industry. Devices that let you talk to a person on the other side of the world; the ubiquitous telephone… also a $1.2 Trillion industry. Walking on the moon, which now seems quaint and dull. Image-capturing mechanisms, better known as the camera. Portable music players; first the Walkman and then CD player. And more recent impossibilities. Self-driving cars. Smart phones. Digital cameras. Hoverboards. Living in space.
The list of things once thought impossible goes on and on. Given how much of what was once deemed impossible has become possible, do we even need the word “impossible” in our vocabularies? What would it take for a person to start seeing that impossible is just one small keystroke away from I’m possible? And what might a person who thinks anything is possible be able to accomplish?
The Effect of Saying Something is Impossible
There is a French proverb that says, “To believe a thing is impossible is to make it so.” Is that true? Does the mere belief that something is impossible render it so? Is it all in the mind, and only a person can give the word impossible the power to inject doubt into possibility?
It’s been said that impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact; it is an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration; it is a dare! Therefore, impossible is temporary and fleeting… just waiting for the right someone to come and prove it wrong.
Anything is Possible
If IMPOSSIBLE can have the effect of killing potential, then what does the word P-O-S-S-I-B-L-E do? Perhaps it has the opposite effect. Maybe all it takes is to believe in order to make an idea possible. Imagine if we stopped seeing the world as it is, and instead imagined the world as it could be. What might a world without limits or barriers look like? The more unlikely, improbable and untenable the design, the better. Imagine all the things in the world that we hope for but, deep down, actually doubt they are possible… imagine if suddenly those dreams and hopes were suddenly thought to be “possible”.
- Sufficient stainable sources of food to feed every person on the planet
- Clean water for the billions of people who do not have it.
- A clean, renewable source of energy.
- Cheaper and easily reproduced construction methods to be used all over the world.
- Eradication of disease.
At first blush, talking about dreams and possibilities may sound like wishful thinking and not seem like it has anything to do with business opportunities. But making any one of these ideas possible would require creativity and innovations that could not only revolutionize the world but also develop into new, thriving industries. Many of today’s mega-industries started out as ideas that were thought impossible just a century or two ago, until the right person came along who believed it was possible.
Being Open to New Possibilities
The first step is believing that the impossible is possible. That opens the door to infinite possibilities. Here are some more suggestions to seeing the possibilities.
1. Fear not. The number one thing that affects people’s lives and decisions is fear. People are afraid of failure, afraid of rejection, and afraid of change. But there is no growth or experience in fear! In keeping things the same, the possibility of new, enriching experiences is lost. Just know that everyone feels fear, and that’s fine, but it’s not okay to let fear turn the possible into the impossible.
2. Try new things. Getting out of one’s comfort zone can be hard. There is a feeling of being watched, which can be pretty intimidating. But the best part of being open to possibilities is knowing that it might lead to new opportunities.
3. Grow. You can’t expect a plant to grow if the seed is never put in the soil. The same is true for expanding one’s mind. Finances, personal background, education, upbringing, socioeconomic status, job—There is nothing that can hold someone back if you really want to grow.
4. Try new things. Take piano lessons. Learn French. Hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Open the mind to new things and see where it leads. No excuses!
5. Imagine the best you that you can be. It’s hard to be happy or successful without goals. Ask, what does the ideal you have that the current you doesn’t have? Is it a certain attitude? More confidence? Better skills? A more composed demeanor? Study someone that has what you want and see what they are doing. Then imagine yourself as that person. Set goals to get there.
6. No boundaries. It’s important not to restrict oneself by thinking there is something beyond reach. Each person pre-defines in their head what it is they are “able” to do and not do. But this puts limits on opportunities! Open the door to the world.
7. Stop the Negative Self-Chatter. Negative talk halts progress and growth in life. Negative talk hinders from doing something that may be challenging but is possible.
8. Develop positive habits. Forget bad habits. Focus instead on creating positive habits. It starts by saying “Yes, I CAN!” to goals and dreams. Yes, I CAN get the promotion. Yes, I CAN find a new, better way of doing that. The right mindset leads to the right results.
If the power of believing in potential and possibilities can affect whether we can make the impossible possible, then it is key to dream, set lofty goals, and strive toward things that seem unreachable. Shoot for the moon. And then ask the question. The question isn’t whether or not these things are actually possible. The question is whether you believe that it is possible.
Quote of the Week
“If you develop the absolute sense of certainty that powerful beliefs provide, then you can get yourself to accomplish virtually anything, including those things that other people are certain are impossible.” William Lyon Phelps
© 2016, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.