NOTE: This is a book excerpt with minor edits from Doing The Impossible: 25 Laws For Doing The Impossible by Patrick Bet-David.
Many things that we take for granted today were once considered impossible. Visionaries know that what can be imagined can be achieved. Although people cross the world today in giant jetliners, one hundred years ago the Wright brothers had to first believe that human flight was possible.
On May 6, 1954, Roger Banister became the first man to run a mile in under four minutes. It had never been done before and was therefore considered physically impossible. But since 1954, many runners have accomplished the same feat. Roger Banister’s legacy is that he had faith that this act was possible before anyone else dared to believe.
No one ever thought that Buster Douglas would beat Mike Tyson. The odds were 42:1.
Prior to the sixties, no one ever thought we would land on the moon.
Back when mail was delivered via the Pony Express, who could have imagined a machine that sends mail electronically in seconds?
What would this world be without washing machines, cars, cameras, the Internet, cell phones, planes, televisions, or computers?
Ask yourself this: What if Armageddon happened tomorrow and everything was disintegrated except for you and ten other people? There’s nothing left. How would you build a washing machine? A car? A computer? How would you create the Internet? Do you ever pause to think about that? We don’t consider what that really means, to build the Internet from scratch. It seemed impossible to most people until it was invented.
Now, imagine that it is twenty years after Armageddon and you’re trying to explain to all the young people what the world was like with cars and computers and all the things that they have never seen. Would they think you’re crazy? What if they asked you to rebuild that lost technology? Rebuilding might take a long time, but at least you would get to start out knowing for sure that such technology is possible.
These are all things that we need to think about to understand that nothing in this world is impossible. The only limits are the ones that we place on ourselves. Whether it was the first automobile, the idea of electricity, or the moon landing, the believer who first imagined the impossible made it possible for others to believe it and achieve it.
If the impossible throughout history has become the imaginable, and then the actual, why do we think that our dreams are impossible for us to accomplish in our own lives? Are we afraid to try for fear of failure? Isn’t refusing to try the only real guarantee of failure? Remember, you miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take.
The first step to achieving the impossible is having the courage to attempt it.
To dare, according to the dictionary, is “to have the necessary courage or boldness for something; [to] be bold enough.” Achieving the impossible is not for the timid. It is not the safe and secure road. It means taking a leap of faith, leaving your comfort zone, and risking failure for the chance of success.
There will be failures on the road to greatness. Thomas Edison had thousands of failed attempts at the light bulb before inventing the one that worked. Roger Banister said his 4:03.6 mile in 1953 “made [him] realize that the four-minute mile was not out of reach.” Part of daring to achieve the impossible is letting failure motivate you rather than discourage you.
Think about some of the greatest stories of triumph and courage. Why do we love movies like Braveheart, Rocky, Gladiator, and Miracle on Ice? Yes, they are all stories of achieving the impos-sible. But more importantly, we admire the courage and perseverance of heroes who have overcome tremendous challenges. We find inspiration in those who reach for the impossible, fight against overwhelming odds, and turn past failures into stepping stones on the path to success.
So before you read the rest of this book, ask yourself: Do you dare to do the impossible? Most people let the fear of failure or fear of the unknown keep them from making the decision to pursue their dreams. Fear is the most destructive emotion for personal transformation. Fear thrives on the unknown. Our imaginations run wild with possible negative scenarios.
By choosing to put yourself in situations where you have to face your fear, you learn that it is far easier to face reality than the endless loop of possible challenges your mind creates. The feeling of overcoming fear in turn gives you confidence to face the next challenge.
Making the decision to pursue the impossible is scary at first. You will have to face your fears and throw away your excuses. Start out by believing two important things:
1. You are capable of greatness.
2. Facing your fears to realize your dreams will be the best decision you ever make.
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