Why Impossible Only Seems Impossible Because Someone Hasn't Done It Yet

by Paul Hudson

The human mind is capable of extraordinary things. We can imagine and picture things that exist solely in our heads. We can solve complex problems. Most impressively, our minds are capable of turning a thought into an action and into a result in the physical world.

Our mind, an intangible thing, is capable of influencing, changing and creating in the physical world. The limits on our minds are actually limits on our imaginations -- limits that we install ourselves. We are the ones holding ourselves back by believing in false truths.

Human beings love to think they know things. The truth is that very few concrete facts exist. Scientific findings are almost always breaking and invalidating theories. Most often, when we believe something to be true, we simply don’t know it not to be true. Things that have been believed to be true for centuries are reexamined and redefined over the years -- most interestingly, the view that humans have on their own limitations.

Not too long ago it was believed -- ever since the invention of the stopwatch -- that a human being wasn’t physically capable of running a mile in under four minutes. It seems ridiculous to us now, seeing as most star high school track athletes can run a mile in under four minutes, but back only 80 years ago or so, people, including athletes and scientists, believed that it was physically impossible for a person to run that fast.

Runners only confirmed the belief by failing to hit the four-minute mark. The record was then raised to 4:01 in the 1940s, where it stayed for nearly the next decade. However, on May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister finally broke the four-minute barrier and ran the mile in 3:59. Then, the strangest thing started to happen. Other runners quickly began breaking the four-minute barrier, also. Now, if you can’t run a mile in under four minutes, then you’ll never be able to compete at a high level.

We, ourselves, govern the rules of possibility and impossibility. Things are only impossible until proven possible. Right now, a man by the name of Hicham El Guerrouj holds the record for the fastest mile, at 3:43. Who is to say that human beings will never be able to run a mile in under three minutes?

I mean sure, if our laziness only increases with our level of comfort on a global scale, then maybe we won’t ever break that new barrier. Then again, with advances in medicine, it’s very possible that one day, someone will break the three-minute barrier, and once again, the impossible will become possible.

We have a nasty tendency to believe that because something has never been done, it can’t possibly be done. If that were true, there would be no need for the word "innovation" in our vocabulary -- it wouldn’t be possible to innovate.

All that it takes to make the impossible possible is change. We live in a society that sets certain standards or trends for its people to adhere to, regardless of whether or not we realize or acknowledge that fact. Society sets the standard for what is and is not acceptable, what should and should not be done, and what can or cannot be done.

Society -- each person -- influences the remainder of the group in some way, shape or form, even if only to reinforce generally accepted beliefs. The societies or groups that we live in, the style and quality of life that we are exposed to and, most importantly, the beliefs of those in closest proximity to us, affect each of us, as well as our beliefs, profoundly. In a way, we only see the world that we create ourselves and are only limited by the limits we believe we have.

Have you ever played the what-if game? What if every person in the world were capable of accomplishing anything he or she sets his or her mind to? What if there were a way for every individual to find a way out of a very bad situation, to change for the better, to break the bonds of oppression? What if we had no limits to what we could do, where we could go or who we could be?

What if we could create anything we could dream up? What if our lives could be anything we dream up? What if most of the beliefs you have, and most of the facts you hold to be true about the way the way the world works, are one day proven to be false? What if the laws of physics don’t quite work the way we believe them to?

What if you could be happy? What if there were a way for you to escape, to run away to a place where you aren’t beaten or abused, a place where you aren’t starving or dying of thirst? What if the only thing holding you back was you?

Just because it hasn’t been done by anyone you know, or anyone ever, doesn’t mean that it can’t be or won’t be done. Would you rather be the one to break the barriers and lead the way for others, or the one of the ones waiting for a savior?