As a medical student, I hear the word “impossible” daily from a myriad of sources. Medical students think certain board scores are impossible to attain. Patients think that physical therapy regimens are impossible to conquer, it is impossible for them to get better, it is impossible to enjoy their lives once again after a debilitating illness. Doctors think diagnosis and treatment for quick and deadly cancers like pancreatic are impossible to achieve. Unfortunately, the impossible usage does not stop there. I hear friends say it is impossible for them to do what they want because they haven’t had any training and they’ve had so many years of study and experience in their current field. I’ve heard people talk about their dreams, ideas, and life goals but then add “but that won’t ever happen” or “but that is impossible” to the end.
To which I always think: “Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
The most important innovations and dramatic influences on the course of human evolution develop from someone accomplishing something that was once thought to be “impossible”. From science and medicine, to technology and industrialization, architecture and social changes. I cannot think of a single field that has not been improved by someone transforming impossible to possible. Electricity, computers, motors, medicine, civil rights, the list goes on and on. Just look at your phone. 50 years ago, no one would believe that something like an iPhone could ever exist. If you traveled back in time 100 years ago, they would probably say you were the devil for thinking such a thing could exist. Every great idea, innovation or movement came from an idea that was deemed impossible at one point in time. The key to transforming impossible to possible is starting at the beginning. Most people see the final product and neglect the steps along the way. We didn’t move from caves to Manhattan skyscrapers over night. There are many accomplishments along the way that are crucial to making impossible happen.
People are not adverse to the impossible. Actually, we love it. Why do most people love the Olympics? Because it is a first row seat to watch athletes attempt the physically impossible. Usain Bolt’s world records prove that anything is possible. If people can believe that a man can run 100 meters in 9.58 seconds, why can’t they believe that they have the power to make their own “impossible” dreams a reality? If people get excited about seeing others achieve impossible, why can’t they light the flame within themselves?
Dreams are impossible to achieve when you tell yourself that they are, if you choose to put that limitation on yourself. Anything is possible if you truly believe in your dream and realize that making it a reality is not unicorns and rainbows, but more like pulling an anvil through a mud pile. No one walks out of the womb ready to break a world record, they have to train and exercise every ounce of willpower to make it happen. If you are 40 years old and have worked 20 years as a nurse but want to go to law school, do it. If you want to develop new technology to treat patients with a rare form of lymphoma, do it. If you want to organize a convention for gay rights, do it. If you want to take your savings and open up a new restaurant, go for it. Do not be scared to try your hardest and make your dreams come true. You only have yourself holding you back. It is not impossible. You can live your life the way you want to. It won’t be easy, but you have to work like it is the Olympics and go for the gold.
Most “impossible” things become possible because someone rewords the definition of impossible to “incredibly difficult to achieve but can be accomplished eventually”. Whether it is writing a new best selling novel, becoming a world famous fashion designer or making new computer software, why watch someone else accomplish your dreams when you can do it for yourself? You could be the next Thomas Edison, JK Rowling, Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Henry Ford, Coco Chanel, Steve Jobs, Usain Bolt or Nelson Mandela. The only difference between them and you is that they believed that anything was possible. That what lay between themselves and their dream was a battle they were willing to fight. You can do or be anything that you want as long as you are willing to work and can accept that the road to possible is not all success; it is filled with disappointment and failure, rejection and fear, sleepless nights and frustrating days. But even when you think you are at the bottom of the barrel, believe in yourself and be brave. Have courage in your dreams and you can make it to the end. The road is long and winding, but a journey truly begins with a single step. Maybe the first step is to start believing as many as six impossible things before breakfast.