In working with my friend, Gary Highfield, on his new book, When ‘Want To’ Becomes ‘Have To!’ I learned much from the wisdom he gained in overcoming great personal adversity. One statement that has particularly resonated with me is, “Impossible is not possible…until you quit.”
Think about it: Impossible is not possible…until you quit.”
A simple statement, only seven words, but at the same time it contains a wealth of truth. It reminds me of inventor Robert Fulton, whose vision for turning steamboats into safe, reliable vessels for transportation was dubbed “Fulton’s Folly.” That is until his steamboat Clermont navigated the Hudson River on an excursion from New York harbor to Albany, N.Y.
The steamboat traveled only five miles an hour, and the trip took to the state capital took 32 hours, but Fulton proved his detractors wrong. The seeming “impossible” became possible because he refused to quit.
Dr. Ben Carson is known today as a world-class neurosurgeon, honored by CNN and TIME magazine in 2001 as one of the top 20 U.S. physicians and scientists. However, growing up in a single-parent home in dire poverty, with poor grades in school, a volatile temper and low self-esteem, Carson seemed as likely to become a neurosurgeon as a grasshopper to win the Kentucky Derby. But for him the “impossible” became possible because he didn’t quit.
As a teenager, Joni Eareckson Tada suffered a broken neck while diving into a shallow lake, leaving her a quadriplegic, confined to a wheelchair without the use of her limbs. If someone had suggested one day she would become a best-selling author, accomplished artist, singer and much-sought-after speaker, the obvious response would have been, “Impossible!” But she’s become all of that – and more – because she didn’t quit, transforming impossible into possible.
There are countless other inspiring examples we could consider, but sadly there are also many more instances when people did quit – in despair, frustration, or simply impatience – making impossible possible. For some, possible was lurking around the corner, but they gave up just before reaching there. They turned potential success into failure.
One reason I’m so enthusiastic about my faith in Jesus Christ is because I serve the God of possibilities. For instance, the apostle Paul wrote, “I can do everything through (Christ) who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Jesus told His followers, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27).
Have you ever had a dream, a lifelong, deeply held desire that you’ve been afraid to pursue because it seems impossible – or because other people told you it’s impossible? Maybe that’s not right, and maybe the other people were lying to you. What if what you’ve believed was impossible actually is possible – unless you quit?
Remember the promise God gives in Psalm 37:4 – “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Has the Lord given you a consuming passion to do something, a calling you can’t forget or deny? Then it’s not impossible. Trust that if you delight in Him, He’ll bring it to fruition.
Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.