Doing the Impossible

Back sometime around 1492, Columbus went to the Spanish court and said to them, “I’m going to sail across the ocean and discover the New World!” I am sure people thought he was crazy and was not shy in telling him so. After all, the world was flat, it certainly wasn’t round, and he would probably sail off the end of the earth and be eaten by the demons and sea monsters awaiting him. Or he would just be sunk by some huge storm or starve to death in becalmed seas. Despite such negativity and seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Columbus managed to set sail with the support of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain and made it across the Atlantic Ocean, even though he and his crew experienced many hardships.
Fast forward many centuries to your childhood.
“Mom, can I go run a marathon?”
“Well sure, but you better watch out. You might hurt yourself. You might hurt your knees. It seems so long. Are you sure you can do this? Maybe when you’re older. Why don’t you go do something else?”
Fast forward to about 3 weeks ago in Time Magazine, an article entitled, “Bad Idea, You’ll Flunk Out” about women in the sciences:
“Then reality hit when I went back to my guidance counselor the next day and I told him that instead of being a lawyer or an interior decorator, I now wanted to be an engineer. He looked at me and said, “Bad idea. You have not scored on your aptitude test to be an engineer. You’re not inclined to be an engineer. You’re not made up to be an engineer.” Then I went to my math teacher, and she said the same thing, “Bad idea. You’ll flunk out.” ”
Thankfully this woman pushed past this comment and many more difficulties to become an engineer and flourish in a male dominated discipline full of antiquated notions and gender discimination.
Doing the Impossible
How many comments and situations have we encountered like those above?
The “impossible”: It’s something I’ve been thinking about quite a lot these days. The big questions for me are:
“What is truly impossible?”
“What makes something impossible?”
“What makes something actually possible?”
As I think deeply on this topic, I think on my own experiences in the “impossible”.
So far, I’ve now completed 2 marathons, several triathlons, and now a full Ironman.
At one point, if you asked me if these were possible, I may have said, “No.” And then, I would proceed to give you a list of reasons ranging from my age, to how much time it would take, to having bad knees, to god knows what else.
But something changed over the last year in my attitude towards things like this. I really started getting into “Doing the Impossible.”
Now what does “impossible” really mean?
I don’t mean things that are really impossible. Like deadlifting 500 lbs over my head.
I mean things that are most likely possible, but barriers exist in one’s own mind. A lot of these barriers were created from self-doubt and fear of the unknown. Or some external forces filled your head with doubt of your own abilities and capabilities. You trusted the external source who told you something was impossible so therefore, it became impossible.
But was it really impossible?
I am on a quest to see where the “impossible” line really lies for me on a variety of fronts, ranging from the physical to emotional to the intellectual.
After all, how can we truly grow if we do not test our limits? We all need to find out where our mental barriers are and remove all the doubts and fears about many things in our lives. It is these negative emotions which create walls and prevent us from reaching our potential.
Humans are pioneers by nature. It is only through our pioneering spirit in discovering our own unknown limits that we can become mature, well-adjusted, healthy, and happy individuals. Like Columbus, bust through the naysayers in your life, discover your New World and feel proud knowing you just did something that you thought was “impossible”.