Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said. “One can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes, I believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” —Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
We are our own worst enemies. God gave each of us so much potential, but we just can’t seem to believe in ourselves. We think all our dreams to be impossible. Fear of failure is often at the root of it. Our lives are spent telling ourselves that we aren’t good enough, smart enough, tall enough, strong enough, old enough, young enough, or that we don’t have the right body size, shape, or weight to do what we are meant to do. We write ourselves off like a moldy loaf of bread. We just don’t believe in impossible things. Like Alice, we shrug our shoulders and say, “There’s no use trying.”
Yet there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see something impossible achieved and posted on social media. For instance, I watched a video recently about a man who teaches veterans who have lost limbs in battle to climb mountains. These veterans think it to be impossible to climb mountains—until they do it.
My dream to be a writer was impossible for many years. Once I finally began writing, it was impossible to write a book. Now that I’ve written the first draft of a young adult novel, it is impossible to finish the book. If I would quit telling myself that it is impossible, it might be ready for my grandchildren to read by the time they are young adults. At the rate it is going, it really is impossible.
What if we were like the Queen and practiced believing impossible things for half an hour a day? Would we get to the point where we could believe six impossible things before breakfast?
My parents used to read me The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper. You know the story—the little train engine that says, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” The little engine is successful because he believes in himself. Self esteem is a difficult thing to come by in a world that is always pointing out our shortcomings. Unfortunately, when others don’t believe in us, we have a tendency not to believe in ourselves.
Recently, I was told by someone who holds himself out to be an expert that it is absolutely impossible to support a family as a salesman on 100 percent commission. He did not appreciate it much when I pointed out to him that my father supported his wife and four children the last 17 1/2 years of his career as a salesman on 100 percent commission. Great men and women can do impossible things. Was it easy? Certainly not—impossible things are never easy. Maybe what we all want is easy, but easy does not accomplish the impossible.
If you’ve been reading my column, remember the dreams and goals I talked about here and here? It’s all fine and dandy to set goals in January and make a plan to achieve them, but if we fall into the impossible trap, we may as well set fire to that list of goals. There is very little that is really impossible. Impossible is a cop out for laziness. I fall into the impossible trap more often than I care to admit.
I have a bad back and two bad ankles. I also have some arthritis that gives me some grief. None of this is bad enough to squelch what I really want to do in this life, but there are some mornings that just getting out of bed seems impossible. I do it every morning because it’s necessary, but sometimes it takes me a few minutes to work up to it. There are some days that I move slower than others simply because I fall into the impossible trap. I’ve spent the last three days telling myself that it is impossible to give the dog a bath because it is impossible for me to bend over the bathtub.
I’m going to try an experiment. For the next few weeks, I’m going to practice believing the impossible for 30 minutes a day. If I could believe six impossible things before breakfast, it would greatly improve the productivity of my day. My goodness, that’s 42 impossible things per week—and 2,184 impossible things per year! Ten minutes ago, it was impossible for me to do that math because simple math has always been impossible for me.
Will you join me in this experiment? I’d like to hear about your success. Please come back in a week, two weeks, or three weeks and report your success in the comments. I want to be inspired by your success accomplishing impossible things
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.