post written by: Marc Chernoff
How To 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.’
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