I’ve lived 28 years without hands now and one thing that boggles my mind is hearing people say something is impossible. I’ve never been able to comprehend it. Especially, when I hear it come from people without disabilities. The word impossible is limiting and can set boundaries for your life and your ability to solve problems….if you let it.
Impossible is a privilege word used by those looking to release themselves from the responsibility of facing a challenge that may require more than minimal efforts to overcome. By pronouncing a task, challenge, or circumstance as impossible we begin to box ourselves in by dismissing the work required to develop creative solutions. This places focus on the problem as opposed to finding solutions. Below, I’ve detailed three reasons you should stop saying things are impossible:
1.) Impossible Limits Our Ability to Solve Problems
I was born without hands and have had to continuously adapt to a world designed for people with hands. (I no longer use prosthesis or adaptive devices.) This means I have to solve problems other people would not almost on a daily basis. The challenges have constantly changed over the years and if I were to admit something was impossible I’d begin to truly handicap myself. We become handicapped when we focus more on the problem rather than developing solutions. The only way to excel is to remain solution based. Circumstances cannot change unless solutions do. So problems such as learning how to write, buttoning a shirt, and changing the brakes on my car have taught me to focus on finding solutions. Continuously asking, “What can I do next?” when confronted with a task has always helped to diminish the problem and place more emphasis on finding solutions. Solutions can be greater change agents than the problems they arise from. If “necessity is the mother of invention” then she would have to reject that which is impossible to achieve her goal.
2.) Impossible Can Give Circumstances Power Over Your Life
This is a huge one. The moment we acknowledge challenging circumstances as impossible we begin to admit defeat. External circumstances and challenges are meant to provide us with learning opportunities that help us to develop character. If you allow life’s challenges to become impossible, you will relinquish the power you have to make a difference in the world around you. Most people don’t realize that they are affecting things around them constantly. People are akin to wet paint. Our character, actions and attitudes rub off on those around us. No matter the scale or magnitude YOU are influencing someone. So when you become defeated by circumstance you can bring others into your defeat as well. So be mindful, focus on building and you will build those up around you.
3.) Impossible Creates REAL DISability
As I stated earlier, I’ve lived 28 years without hands. I’ve noticed the most “disabled” people I’ve come in contact with are not those I’ve met with physical or mental differences ( not disabilities). To my surprise, the most “disabled” people I’ve met are those who have become defeated internally because things “seemed” impossible. Emotional defeat is the most crippling condition anyone can face. It can hinder people from reaching their potential by limiting their ability to focus on outcomes. This type of “disability” is something we all have to be aware of when we allow challenges to become impossible. The word impossible can stop people in their tracks along with hindering things like innovation, creativity, and producing measurable results in our career efforts.
I’ll close by saying this…Nothing is impossible if you take time to understand the challenges and constraints of a situation and focus efforts on developing solutions. This may require multiple attempts, a few failures along the way, and some late nights rethinking strategies but I can promise you the benefits and lessons learned along the way will prove immeasurable. So the next time you hear “that’s impossible”, reply with ” It’s really not, we just haven’t found the right solution yet.”