I believe that most things are possible. I also believe that people often confuse “not likely” with “impossible,” and they live by and limit their life by that innocent ignorance. But there is a difference!
When I think of things that are truly (seemingly) impossible, I think of things like living until you’re 200 years old or beating an automobile in a foot race. For very plausible reasons, these things are understandably presumed “impossible.” Most people would agree with such obvious thinking… But what the majority of people call “impossible” could be more accurately labeled as “not likely.”
“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’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration; it’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” – Muhammad Ali
I’m not sure I could better articulate the words of the Walking Inspiration known as Muhammad Ali. It’s no wonder that he was able to accomplish such great things in his life and that he impacted the world so much. He understood something that most people don’t. And he lived his life to prove it every day.
So what am I saying? Here’s a real life example:
I come from a family of singers, songwriters, and musicians. My parents met as teenagers and formed a band that performed locally for about 20 years. They even did well at the famed Apollo Theater during an amateur night showcase. As the years went on, however, they never really reached the heights of the career they all wanted.
Slowly the band dismantled, and my father and uncle formed a songwriting and music production duo. Together they wrote and pitched songs for major artists and record label consideration — with no success.
This is an aspect of the music industry that most people don’t know about, as the usual assumption is that the most popular artists write their own songs. A lot of them claim they do (i.e. strong arm credit), but they actually don’t.
Still, every songwriter who’s been at it a while has that one friend-who-worked-with-so-and-so, and that friend serves an inspiration to keep going (my father’s long-time buddy was lucky enough to write one of Madonna’s biggest hits – Holiday!).
After a second career as a songwriter/producer didn’t pan out, my father became very jaded with the music business. I followed in his footsteps in becoming a songwriter/producer, and for the most part, he was supportive. But he was also disruptive.
I once had an executive from Universal Music Group come to our (small town) home to convince me to sign with the label. My father became quite combative and insolent with the man, running him off.
Fast forward to today…
It’s been some 20 years since my Father abandoned the idea of a music career and any success at the commercial level. Then, one day, he received word that a song he wrote back in 1985 had been recently sampled by a new, young dance group and was gaining popularity. It was obvious that this act of validation meant the world to him.
No, it wasn’t a #1 Billboard Hit. But it did well enough to deposit some decent cash in his pocket and some much-needed restoration in his idea of what is possible.
While it might be unlikely that this means a viable revival of his career as a songwriter, it’s certainly not impossible to think that another song of his could end up in the hands of a pop star, and he could become that one friend-who-worked-with-so-and-so.
So what do YOU believe is “impossible” for you to achieve?
Is it truly impossible, or just unlikely? Could it be that you are confusing “unlikely” with “difficult”? Are you protecting your feelings from failure and calling it “impossible”? I encourage you to take a time-out and think about what it is you want and why? How could you approach it differently? Practice thinking outside of the box and take a new action.
You never know where you might end up with a clear “why” and a fresh focus on openness to possibility.