Of all of the words in the English language, my least favorite word is “impossible.” The word is a conversation stopper, an ambition stopper and worse, a life stopper. Impossible is a word that others often use to define our dreams. If we are not careful, we can get to the point where we begin to believe the word ourselves, the word others give to our dreams.
Can a lonely, poor Scottish woman who suffers from Asperger’s disease overcome her challenges and fears to become an international singing star? Yes, her name is Susan Boyle.
Can a 5’3” basketball player play 14 years in the NBA, retire, and then become a coach? Yes, his name is Tyrone Curtis “Mugsy” Bogues.
Can a man who is virtually deaf compose some of the greatest pieces of music ever written? Yes, his name was Ludwig van Beethoven.
Can a paraplegic badly injured in an accident perform orthopedic surgery? Yes, his name is Dr. Ted Rummel. He performs surgery while in a standing wheelchair.
Can a woman who, as a child, was an undocumented alien find a way to high school, college, become a U.S. citizen and then a rise to a powerful stock analyst and trader for a huge Wall Street firm? Yes, her name is Juliana Arce.
The Secret Recipe!
I am the sort of person who has always been more motivated when people have told me that something was impossible. It is true—we can rise to great heights when we stop listening to the negativity or the laughter of those who mock us.
I knew a woman named Joan who was an incredibly proficient emergency room physician who has by now saved countless lives. She started her professional life as a pianist, but she wanted to help people instead of playing Chopin. In her quest to gain entry to a medical school, she failed physics twice, basic chemistry twice, organic chemistry twice and calculus. She re-took her admissions tests three times. She would not be deterred.
Remember the author of The Godfather, Mario Puzo? The Godfather was his third novel. The first two sold about 2,500 copies combined. Ken Follett started writing novels because he was so broke he needed to find a way to earn money to fix his broken-down car! Thomas Edison had tested something like 6,000 types of filament materials before he found the perfect carbonized filament for his lightbulb. He would later be the founder of the General Electric Company.
The comedian Rodney Dangerfield spent nine years as a salesman while honing his stand-up comedy craft. Comedian Chris Rock made ends meet by working in fast food restaurants, while comedienne Wanda Sykes worked in the government bureaucracy for five years while sharpening her stand-up routine.
John Paul Jones DeJoria, founder of Paul Mitchell Systems, Colonel Harland David Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken and Alfred Carl Fuller, founder of Fuller Brush, all started their businesses literally by going store-to-store, restaurant to restaurant and door-to-door. And by the way, if you haven’t seen the movie The Pursuit of Happyness, you must. It is a classic example of persistence and hard work.
Work Hard Dream Big
There are no overnight successes. The world is, was and will be full of people who spent years in a struggle to succeed. That is the catch. The willingness, the tenacity to pursue a dream, cannot be reduced to a few clichéd expressions or a social media poster.
My least favorite word truly is “Impossible.” You have greatness in you beyond your imagination, but if you embark on a journey, don’t let the dream be destroyed by the negativity of others. It always seems impossible until it is done.
There is something else about “Impossible” you must know. In your quest, there will be negative people giving you dozens of reasons why you can’t achieve your dream. But I guarantee that every so often mentors and supporters will appear to help you. They will want nothing, expect nothing and in the process will become your prime advocates. The key will be to let go of negative relationships that produce adverse thoughts and feelings that drain you of your energy. Instead, focus on all the good that is in your life. Think it, feel it, speak it. By doing so, you will send out positive energy and attract wonderful things into your life.
And before you declare to the world that you are too old, pull into a Kentucky Fried Chicken and enjoy some original recipe style chicken. Colonel Harland Sanders established the KFC restaurant chain at age 65.