What’s possible will only get you so far

I was listening to a Ted Talks today on my morning commute. The episode was “How to find work you love,” by Scott Dinsmore, and really inspired me. He talked a lot about what we view as impossible, and how those things are total social and self constructs. Take the smallest example–I don’t believe I’ll ever be able to run five miles without stopping–and then think about all the other people who can do it. Why not me? (Also PS I USED to be able to do this and it’s obnoxious I can’t do it EVEN A LITTLE now.)

He also said that we are the average of the five people closest to us. Meaning who we surround ourselves with matters a great deal. If all five of my closest friends went on five mile runs every day, it might stop seeming so impossible, and just seem like a normal goal I needed to work towards.

There are other things, more important things, that feel impossible. It feels impossible that I’ll ever make money from my writing, it feels impossible that I’ll ever be my own boss, it feels impossible I’ll see as much of the world as I want to. (Though that probably actually is impossible, unless I somehow see the whole damned thing.)

But I’m surrounded by people at work every day who make money from their writing. There are so many blogs I read that get dozen, hundreds of comments. There are people living out my other impossible dreams–traveling, learning languages, being fairly location independent. If they can, why can’t I?

The mind is a powerful, powerful tool. The things we believe we can do happen so much  faster and with much greater ease than the ones we are sure we can’t. When study abroad ended, I had two close friends from America who were so sad to leave, but also sure they wouldn’t have the time or money to visit again. I wasn’t as sure as them, and now it’s been six years and my friendships and life there is even stronger than it was back then. I just made it happen. It wasn’t easy–I had to find a way to fund it and plan a lot of my life around finding time to make the trips. But I did it. I did it because it was important to me, and I refused to think it was impossible.

So that’s what I’m going to do going forward with my other impossible dreams. I’m going to start running for a mile, then two, then three, and eventually five. Maybe after that, ten. I’ll learn Spanish one day, probably after I convince myself that brain is actually capable of such a thing. I’m going to keep updating my blog, because I can. I can write and not care who sees it. I can write and stick to a schedule. I can do it. And I’m going to plan for a round the world trip. I’m going to save money and I’m going to research countries, and eventually, I’ll be living that dream too.


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