You know that saying, “nothing is impossible?”
Yeah, that’s not true.
There are a lot of things that are, for all practical purposes, impossible. At least, impossible for you right here, right now, given the resources you have right in front of you.
I’m not trying to rain on anybody’s parade. Seriously. If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know that I happen to think that most people don’t even scratch the surface of the things of which they’re capable, mostly because of beliefs they’ve developed about themselves, the world, and the future.
That is, a lot more might be possible for us than we THINK is possible.
But it’s silly to imagine we can, in the physical, practical universe in which we live, do literally ANYTHING we set our mind to. Just not going to happen.
Why is it important to acknowledge this?
Isn’t saying this just “defeatist?”
Doesn’t acknowledging that not “EVERYTHING” is possible for us focus us on our limits, instead of our strengths and possibilities?
I suppose you could look at it that way.
I choose to look at it in a different way.
I choose to believe that the FACT that not “EVERYTHING” is possible to us frees us up to focus on those things that ARE quite possible for us.
It’s my observation that when we hear “nothing is impossible,” instead of being inspired, most of us are actually intimidated.
We get to thinking, “Man…if nothing is impossible, the fact that I’m failing to do, have, or be ANYTHING I WANT must be MY fault. I must be a failure. I must need to work harder. Because, after all, this inspirational meme on the Internet tells me NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!”
Our brains like romance and fantasy and adventure. That’s why we go to movies.
But let me tell you what our self-esteem likes: realism.
Our self-esteem knows when we’re not being wholly truthful with ourselves.
Our self-esteem knows when we’re living in the real world, and when we’re not.
And our self-esteem infinitely prefers we leave the fantasies about accomplishing anything we set our minds to in the movie theaters…and that in the real world, we make reality-based and earth-bound decisions about how we’re REALLY going to achieve our goals and live our values in a world in which we DO have limits.
A lot of personal growth teachers out there say things like “nothing is impossible” because they want you to FEEL good about your life and your prospects.
I want you to feel good, too. But I want you to feel good because you’re living al life that is worth living and achieving goals that are meaningful for you.
If you must cling to the “nothing is impossible” fantasy, then at least do me a favor and modify it a bit: believe “nothing is impossible,” if you must, in the big picture. But acknowledge that right here, right now, within the twelve months that constitute this next calendar year, you have some limitations.
You don’t have unlimited time.
You don’t have unlimited financial resources.
You don’t have an unlimited attention span.
In the real world, you need to make choices about how you’re going to prioritize all of those finite resources.
You do not do yourself any favors by trying to deny that you have those limits because “everything is possible.”
Believe “nothing is impossible” if you want to…but behave as if you only have what you have in front of you to work with.
Contrary to what many people believe, I think that limits— including the real world limit of “there most certainly ARE things that are impossible to me right now”— are our best friends.
Limits inform us of what we have to work with.
Limits inform us of what we’re working against.
Limits give focus and shape to our efforts in ways that fantasies like “nothing is impossible” never, ever can.
Learn to love the fact that there are things that are impossible.
It frees you up to actually make real progress in the real world on the things that ARE possible.
Subscribe to the Doc’s free weekly email newsletter and never miss a blog or social media post!