The world is not flat…

by Jan on October 28, 2011

“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

As you can see, this week I have been thinking a lot about possibilities — and impossibility.

It seems like a stretch to go from Alice and Wonderland to Mahatma Gandhi, and then to Audrey Hepburn. But in a sense, they are talking about the same things. They are talking about the nature of being human, and how we fool ourselves into thinking something is just not possible for us, when in reality, it is usually just a matter of seeing things differently.

We make up stories about how the world works, and then these stories become a reality. They can be so powerful they seem as if there is no other way they could be. We can’t see that our story might be an illusion. For hundreds of years Europeans thought that the world was flat. What were they thinking?! What about the moon, isn’t that round? But beliefs are just like that. For us today it is impossible to believe that anyone could have ever thought the world was flat.

It’s not just the big things that might seem impossible–like going to the moon or curing polio once did–it’s the little things in our lives, the things that make life worth living that we often don’t see as possible. Getting a dream job. Falling in love. Having children. Having a great relationship with your parents. Running the marathon. Climbing mount Everest. Even just getting started, on anything, might seem impossible.

All it takes is a shift in thinking. That’s what Gandhi, Audrey Hepburn and even Lewis Carroll are all saying. Everything is possible. Not everything happens the way we want it to — that doesn’t mean we should give up. As Gandhi says, as soon as you believe that something is possible, you can acquire the skills, or whatever it takes, to make it a reality. It might not happen overnight, but you can get there.

IT IS DIFFICULT TO SAY WHAT IS IMPOSSIBLE, FOR  THE DREAM OF YESTERDAY  IS THE HOPE OF TODAY  AND THE REALITY OF TOMORROW.  ~ ROBERT H. GODDARD