How many times have you heard someone in the workplace make this declaration: “We cannot do that. It is not possible”? Sometimes this is true – a customer makes a demand that cannot possibly be satisfied within the specified time frame. Or a client asks for a service far beyond your company’s expertise. Often, however, we conclude something is not possible because it seems like too much work, we do not know whether it can be done or not, or fear putting forth the effort only to fail.
My friend, Gary Highfield, has written an outstanding book called When ‘Want To’ Becomes ‘Have To!’, his story of overcoming formidable odds to become a successful business leader: He never knew his biological father and had a very unsettled childhood, even witnessing devastating family tragedy while he was a boy. Facing these hardships, along with financial adversity he encountered as a young husband and father, Gary undertook a very determined strategy for dramatically changing his circumstances.
He discovered many useful life principles during this process, including this declaration: “Impossible is not possible – until you quit.” This seven-word statement seems simple, but it is profound. Time and again, people told Gary what he could not do, such as becoming a top-producing, industry-leading salesman, an entrepreneur, small business owner and commercial loan officer. Yet he succeeded in achieving each of these goals. All because he refused to believe what he wanted to do was impossible.
There are many other examples of people who ignored negative voices, who recognized what people said was “impossible” in fact was possible – unless they quit trying. Michelangelo probably had his detractors when he embarked on painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Thomas Edison made multiple attempts at inventing an incandescent light bulb until he succeeded. He refused to quit trying.
In 1943, IBM chairman Thomas Watson stated, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” And Digital Equipment Corp. founder Ken Olson said in 1977, “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” However, through hard work, vision and innovation – understanding impossible is not possible until you quit – many men and women proved the one-time industry giants wrong.
The Bible directly addresses this issue. Faith in God, it declares, can move the “impossible” into reality:
We cannot do it alone. The fact is, many of our desired goals often are unattainable in our own strength. They are not impossible, but require more than the power we can muster within ourselves. We need power outside of ourselves. “I can do everything through (Christ) who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
We can – but only with God. If you have a God-sized dream or goal, accomplishing it requires willingness to turn to the One that gave you the dream. As Jesus told His followers, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27).
We need the right motivation. It makes sense sometimes to ask ourselves, “Why am I doing this? Why is accomplishing this so important to me?” If our inspiration is not self-gratification, but rather to please and honor God, we can rely on His divine assistance and direction. “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran journalist, he has written Tufting Legacies (iUniverse); Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace (River City Press); and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.comand www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com.
CBMC INTERNATIONAL: Jim Firnstahl, President
2850 N. Swan Road, Suite 160 ▪ Tucson, Arizona 85712 ▪ U.S.A.
TEL.: 520-334-1114 ▪ E-MAIL: [email protected]
Web site: www.cbmcint.org Please direct any requests or change of address to: [email protected]
1. Do you know someone – perhaps yourself – that has overcome considerable personal and professional adversity and setbacks to achieve great success? How have they – or you – accomplished that?
2.What is your reaction to the statement, “Impossible is not possible – until you quit”?
3. Think of some other examples of people’s achievements that at one time were considered impossible, even unthinkable. What do you think motivated these people to reach their dreams and objectives, despite formidable obstacles and opposition from others?
4. It is suggested that seemingly impossible things can be accomplished through God’s power and guidance. Do you agree? Do you think God even cares about our goals and challenges? Why or why not?
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Genesis 41:41-57; Psalm 37:5, Proverbs 3:5-6, Isaiah 40:31, 41:10, Ephesians 3:20