post written by: Marc Chernoff

How To Achieve The Impossible


Achieve The Impossible

The impossible is what nobody can do until somebody does.

Teleportation is the new air travel.  Humans can walk on water.  And there is a cure for cancer.  These things will happen eventually because, quite simply, the nature of progression dictates that they must happen.  And because there are people on this planet who believe they can make them happen.

Are you one of these people?

3 Short Stories on Achieving the Impossible

When I was a high school freshman, a 260 pound freshman girl showed up for track and field try-outs.  Her name was Sara, and she was only there because her doctor said her health depended on it.  But once she scanned the crowd of students who were trying-out, she turned around and began walking away. Coach O’Leary saw her, jogged over, and turned her back around.  “I’m not thin enough for this sport!” Sara declared.  “And I’ll never be!  It’s impossible for me to lose enough weight.  I’ve tried.”  Coach O’Leary nodded, and promised Sara that her body type wasn’t suited for her current weight.  “It’s suited for 220 pounds,” he said.  Sara looked confused.  “Most people tell me I need to lose 130 pounds,” she replied.  “But you think I only need to lose 40?”  Coach O’Leary nodded again.  Sara started off as a shot put competitor, but spent every single afternoon running and training with the rest of the track team.  She was very competitive, and by the end of our freshman year she was down to 220 pounds.  She also won 2nd place in the county-wide shot put tournament that year.  Three years later, during our senior year, she won 3rd place in the 10K run.  Her competitive weight at the time was 130 pounds.

When Charles Darwin wrote The Origin of Species, which proposed the groundbreaking idea of evolution by natural selection, it launched a worldwide debate.  Supporters included scientists, historians, and others whose professions and worldviews required that they carefully analyze new ideas and adopt those that seemed to make sense.  Critics included theologians, conservative extremists, and others who were convinced that the current explanation of our ancestry was the only possible explanation.  This group of people, the ones who refused to accept the possibility of new ideas, eventually alienated themselves from the debate, and arguably failed to assist in the progression of mankind.  The people who didn’t blindly reject evolution, who instead questioned it, researched it, and sought to explore its possibilities, were able to achieve previously impossible feats by making important advances in various fields of study from sociology to history to medicine.

When Sergey Brin and Larry Page founded Google, they had absolutely no intention of building the most powerful Internet-based company in the world.  In the mid 1990’s the Internet was already saturated with hundreds of established search engine companies like Yahoo, Lycos, and Alta Vista.  Competing and succeeding in such a competitive environment seemed impossible to them.  So instead, they tried to sell their search technology to these companies.  And although Google, with its PageRank algorithm and efficient scaling, was clearly more cutting-edge than any search technology currently in place, none of these established companies wanted to get their hands dirty with Google’s new technology.  So after exhausting their options, Brin and Page decided to release Google to the public and directly compete with the biggest names in the business.  As we know, they blew them out of the water.

‘Impossible’ is Simply a State of Mind

If we can find the patience to see the world for what it is – dynamic, flexible, and loaded with untapped potential – and if we can accept the fact that change is an inevitable and brilliant part of life, then we can partake in the thrill of progression, and help shape a world in which the impossible becomes possible.

To achieve the impossible, we must first understand that the ‘state of impossible’ is simply a ‘state of mind.’  Nothing is truly impossible.  Impossibility only exists when we lack the proper knowledge and experience to comprehend how something can be possible.

Sara was convinced that it was impossible to lose weight because, in her past experience, it had never worked-out the way she had hoped.  19th-century theologians laughed at Charles Darwin’s theories because his theories didn’t come from the Bible, which, at the time, was their sole source of knowledge and truth.  Google’s old competitors didn’t recognize the next big thing when it was offered to them on a silver platter.  Why?  Because they didn’t want to bother with a new technology that they didn’t fully understand.  This ultimately forced Google’s Brin and Page to achieve their version of the ‘impossible.’

Conclusion

When people say something is impossible, what they really mean is, “I can’t imagine how it could be possible.”  But with more knowledge and experience, they’d begin to realize that anything is possible, it just takes a change in mindset.  Because ‘impossible’ is what we get when we haven’t trained our minds and our hearts to see past the systems that currently exist to ones that don’t yet exist.

So let’s start the training our minds and our hearts, today, so we can turn today’s impossibility into tomorrow’s possibility.

Photo by: Rajeshvj

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36 Comments

  • Hi Marc,
    This is such a power packed post..I loved it!
    The three stories of achieving the impossible are indeed very inspirational and hit just the right nerves.
    I agree with you completely, that Impossible can truly be achieved with an open heart and mind. A change of mindset with the realization that we are meant for greater things and truly believing in it, is all we need to fly high and achieve the impossible.
    Thank you Marc for this truly inspirational post :)

  • This is a very inspirational post Marc. I believe people who are optimistic are always better of than their counterpart. They dare to imagine the impossible, they do not put restriction to their capabilities and they strive hard to prove that they can. Pessimist however…

  • Excellent! We make this mistake all the time, even with evolution to this day. Just because somebody can’t see “how” something might have happened they assume it couldn’t have. The point missed is that mindset assumes you have some kind of perfect knowledge. We are still infants as far as understanding how the world truly works.

    I have a book called “Making the Impossible Possible”. I haven’t read it yet. I guess I need to get busy. Thanks!

  • A thought provoking piece. I would say it is important, however to not define a challenge as “impossible” but simply that it is a challenge. When we are facing challenges and trying to achieve any goal or to make a change, we must put fear aside and trust in our abilities and the abilities of others.
    Personally, I have found it harder to get others to see the possibilities that exist and to move forward with a positive change.
    Peace and thanks for your many inspiring posts.

  • Such great inspiration here! Thank you!!

  • Great point Marc. In the end, something is only impossible if we decide it is. Conversely, anything is possible if we decide it is. So the question is, do we see a world of possibility or impossibility?

  • Impossible is truly a mind state. If you feel something is impossible, it came from you repeating it to yourself on an ongoing basis until you believed it.

    ‘ Whatever the mind can conceive and Believe it can achieve”
    - Napoleon Hill

    If you want to end these thoughts of impossibility, begin to imagine yourself actually doing what you thought was impossible inside your mind. Because the only limitation is what you place within your concsious mind.

  • Hi Marc,

    Great Story, Coach O’Leary really knew how our human mind work and behave with the conditioning that build up when we were young. We often see bigger goal “impossible” to achieve because we only see the vast differences and gap and never realize that we just need to take one bite at a time.

  • My partner is an incredible man who in my mind can do just about anything. One day I asked him what his secret is, he said simply, “If one man can do it, so can I.” When he wanted to do all of the electric wiring in our house, he read a book and did it. To me, it is mind-blowing! (Let’s say I am not very mechanically inclined.) But I know that more than his “abilities” it is his STATE OF MIND that allows him to do these things.

    Your article reminded me of this. Truly, nothing is impossible. I love it.

    Cheers!

    -Dena
    Evolution

  • Audrey Hepburn said it herself…”Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’m Possible!”

  • Very inspirational post filled with great insight. When trying to accomplish something, it seems obvious that you need to devote time to working hard, practicing or doing whatever else that is necessary to help you reach your goal. However, one of the main things we should turn our attention to that may not be so obvious, is our mind and our thoughts. It is all about clearing away any seeds of doubt and once we are genuinely able to do that, anything really is possible.

  • This post is so true. Our limitations are what we define them. While this speaks of a very high level often in the daily run of things we hesitate to do something because we feel we can’t do it. But just like the stupidest question is the one you don’t ask, it is equally stupid to hesitate doing something new and daring in the fear of failure.

    Some very inspiring quotes related to this:

    “The greatest achievement was, at first, and for a time, but a dream.” – Napoleon Hill

    “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” - Elbert Hubbard

    Thanx for your wonderful posts.

    -Aly

    http://discomaulvi.wordpress.com/
    http://www.twitter.com/DiscoMaulvi

  • @all: Thanks for the added insight and the kind remarks. ;-)

    Oh, and some of the positive quotes you all are sharing are awesome too.

  • excellent post - especially for people like myself, whose weight has been a constant challenge and a lifetime struggle to lose it often proves fruitless.

    I am inspired to try again

  • Of course the post was very inspiring. It reminded me of a story I had read a month ago - the second story under the heading determination on this site: http://www.indianchild.com/inspiring_stories.htm

    It is about a young man who dreamt of building the largest bridge in the world, got paralyzed in the process and build it anyway by issuing instructions by moving the one part of his body he could move - his finger.

  • Very inspiring post. One thing I’ve found in the blogging community is that we tend to have the mindset that anything is possible. That is the aspect of blogging and reading other blogs that I find most invigorating.

    Great concrete examples of people who saw the “possibilities”.

    Best,
    Bob Besssette

  • This is a very motivating post Marc…I loved this article. Do keep on writing more…The best thing about your blog is that you make people think, you motivate people to look inside them and see what they have missed all this while…Thank you :)

  • What a brilliant post. I think your quote summed it up best that really, nothing is impossible. It really is a state of mind.

    Thanks again for the great read!

    Cheers,
    Dayne

  • Marc, this post is so inspirational and reminds me of a quote I was reading this morning: “All difficult things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small.” –Lao Tzu

    As you explain, the first step to achieving the “impossible” is to adjust our mindsets. Then, one foot in front of the other, we can take the small steps needed to accomplish even our greatest goals.

  • This is so true. It’s we who set our own limits.

  • Inspiring post! We are often surrounded by people who tell us what we can’t do.

    It’s great to remember that most great ideas were called impossible at some stage in their development. It’s almost a necessary stage you have to go through on the path to success.

  • Thanks for always posting such inspiring stories. Against what I’ve thought, I started blogging… And have come to find that yes, there are people out there who are interested in what I have to say. I’m hoping that by keeping it up, it’ll really turn into something for me. Something that I could have just said was impossible… But why not give it a shot?

  • If I can add to Kaizan’s comment, not only are we surrounded by people who tell us what we can’t do, too often we’re the ones telling ourselves “it’s impossible” or simply, “I can’t”.

    Keep trying, people! You’ll amaze yourselves if you do!

  • I believe that impossibility is just a state of mind. You are right that we need to change our mindset.

    Even when a task is labeled impossible by the mind we must go and take the task; our remarkable capabilities will take its course. :-)

  • Very nice inspiration stories. I know a few cases of achieving the impossible first hand, so I know it is possible and truth.

  • What an inspirational post. I recall a quote I read once by William Lloyd Garrison, “The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and hasten the resurrection of the dead.” It’s the difference between action and apathy that determine our destiny.

  • We enjoy your blog very much. We sometimes talk in our meetings about some of the topics published here. Being creativity our main target, we try to focus on how to achieve what is possible… what is real and what is valuable.

  • Inspirational and magnificent. That’s why I never underestimate a person’s capabilities. Anyone can change or succeed in their endeavors.

  • Broadcasting audible sound (Radio) was impossible before Marconi.
    Talking to a person in a distant place was impossible before Graham Bell.
    Television was impossible before Logie Baird.
    … the list continues and so does the human spirit to drop the first 2 alphabets in the ‘impossible’.

    Thanks for a nice post!

  • Hi Marc,

    I would like to tell you that I’m your fanclub. But this’s first time for posting. Thank you for many good stories, that make me have a positive thinking.

    I’m a Thai girl (I think you know my country) who want to be a pilot, but I’m short, I mean understand of their requirement. But you told me that nothing impossible, so……..
    what’s going on? I just wanna know….I should continue to fulfill my dream or accept the truth.

    Help me, please.

  • I absolutely loved this post. I also have a firm belief that the (seemingly) impossible can and will happen. If we look around us, most of what we are experiencing would have been deemed impossible at some point in the past. Our limitations are a mere figment of our imagination.

  • nothing is impossible..thx..always good to hear..especially in this sometimes very negative world

  • My life motto: “The difficult we do immediately… the impossible takes a little longer.”

  • Wow, this is a great viewpoint. I found the 260 pound runner story to be interesting. When someone tells someone that they need to lose 120 pounds, it is intimidating and impossible. But when someone has to lose 20 pounds, it becomes achievable.

    I agree with your views. Thank you!
    Josh Lipovetsky.

  • Great article! I just shared it with my FB friends.

    Dream big dreams, everyone for big dreams are the fuel for change and the elixir of life.

    Doug

  • Thanks. This article reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:
    The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible– and achieve it, generation after generation. — Pearl S. Buck

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