People paragliding and parachuting. Thinking the Impossible Possible

Thinking the Impossible Possible

On this day, May 5th, back in 1961, Alan Shepard Jr., became the first U.S. astronaut to travel in space. It was a fifteen-minute flight in the “Freedom 7” spacecraft. Years later John F. Kennedy’s dream to send a man to the moon was realised. The impossible became possible because one man dared to think it so. His thinking made it so.

It’s not just about Space

The lesson there has been missed by so many people. The lesson we learned was not that man can go to space; it was that nothing is impossible. Some things are improbable, like humans growing wings so we can fly unassisted. But who is to say that there isn’t some geneticist out there wondering if it is possible and, more importantly, asking how rather than if. An extreme idea, but it puts the point across.

I used to have a white T-shirt with the slogan, “Impossible is Nothing” on it. At first, I thought it was a mistake and that whoever had written it got it wrong. But the more I looked at it the more sense it made.

It was saying that the word impossible is itself nothing, it doesn’t matter. In fact, it should be a word that ought to be taken out of every dictionary. That way it gets lost in history and the idea of impossibility, that is, it can never happen, disappears. Replacing it with the word improbable gives a feeling of possibility.

The idea that something is impossible is a concept that we hold onto as an excuse, to accept defeat when we are unable to see how to make “it” happen, whatever “it” is.

It is possible

There have been many times in my life when I have looked at something and thought to myself that I was not able to do that thing. Oddly enough, I proved myself wrong. That is how my subconscious mind was orientated – to prove me wrong. At times it served me and at times it didn’t. But I was sabotaging myself, without knowing it.

We all do this in one way or another because we make ourselves believe that something is not possible for us, but, at the same time, we think that someone else is capable of it. We don’t believe in our own abilities and skills but are willing to reflect the winning qualities on another person.

If you stopped and truly analysed, compared what you can actually do and are capable of, you’d find you are wrong. Another may have more and better education, but that is not all that important. Self-education trumps any formal education every time when it comes to life. Of course, when it comes to certain fields, like medicine, engineering, technology and so on, education is a must. Where you are educated is not the major part of it, so much who you become, your knowledge, your ability. We make and create ourselves.

We’re not done…yet

As I write, the world situation is changing. In decades to come, people will be recalling and talking about these times and what happened. Conspiracies are already widespread, starting from the first few days of this situation.

Regardless of the how, the why and the what, our responsibility is to move ahead. We owe it to humanity to ensure that we are ready for this the next time around, whether it happens in our lifetime again or not. This preparation will not be just about how to put control measures into place but also in how to resolve it.

When AIDS showed up there was no cure. Mistakes were made at the outset with transfusions because we didn’t know better. How could we? We were not prepared. But now we know how to deal with blood, the checks it must go through, what to look for. Eventually, treatment was found. Not a cure but a treatment.

The same happened with Polio, Meningitis, Influenza, Tuberculosis and many other diseases and illnesses. A vaccination was found to prevent the illness.

We are, however, still in the midst of a situation we all find ourselves in. The situation is not impossible. It never was. It is not in human nature to accept impossibility when it comes to the survival of our species.

Each and every one of us has that same instinct for survival, that lives in our “lizard brain”, guided by the amygdala, the emotional centre of our brain. Don’t underestimate who you are. In the same breath and for the same reasons, don’t underestimate those working to resolve the situation.

The last stretch

In the last post, we spoke about the fears to come. They will and it will be another challenge. Like everything else, that you have done up to now, endured up to now, dealt with, you will deal with what is around the corner.

You are going to go back to work. Your working hours will go back to normal. Your sleeping patterns will go back to normal. Your stress levels will go back to normal, whatever that may mean for you.
At the same time, will you be taking the experiences gained during this period back to work with you? Look at the past weeks and think about what you have had to do that you wouldn’t have thought possible before this lockdown. Did you have to do without something that you initially believed you couldn’t do without? Did you have to accept something that you didn’t think you could accept? Did you learn something that if it wasn’t for this period of time you wouldn’t have?

All those experiences don’t have to disappear. There will be times when you may have come to your “breaking point”, only to find that it wasn’t, that you dealt with it differently because you couldn’t walk away. Or you found in yourself a way to distress that you didn’t consider before. Yet again, you may have found that you have a shorter “fuse” to anger than you thought you did.

All these and many more experiences are now a part of you, that you can draw from as learning experiences to be better than you were yesterday. Do not ignore them. They are all a part of your subconscious programming, rising up because they weren’t given that opportunity before. Use the knowledge you have now to your advantage, to be better than you were before.

Final word

This may seem like an article on what has gripped us all recently. Or maybe I’m just talking about awareness. It’s both and neither. It’s about possibilities.

No matter what comes to you in your life, what challenges you may face, what may appear as an impossible action to take, remember that you have already dealt with the impossible. Remove the word from your dictionary.

When Henry Ford was told that the creation of a single block V-8 engine was impossible, he sent the engineers away until the impossible became possible. When John F. Kennedy asked Werner Von Braun what it would take to get a man to the moon, the reply was, “The will to do it”.

Impossible is nothing. Improbable maybe, but where there is a will there is a way. You just have to believe. You gain that belief by looking at human history – it’s a story of making the impossible improbable and the improbable a possibility.

Women, like men, should try to do the impossible. And when they fail, their failure should be a challenge to others.
Amelia Earhart

It always seems impossible until it is done.
Nelson Mandela

Photograph by: Lance Anderson on Unsplash

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