“Always listen to the experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done, and why. Then do it.” ~ Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love …
This one could easily throw us for a loop. After all, we are taught to listen to and heed the experts. Yet here it seems that Robert is telling us to interpret what the experts claim is impossible. This in and of itself may seem contrary to what we feel is good advice. Yet then he takes it even further, he encouraging us not to focus on limitations–to go do those things that the experts have deemed impossible. He wants us to think outside the box, to challenge ourselves by stating that nothing is impossible, and then use that conviction as inspiration to go against the sound advice of experts… and succeed.
We generally tend to listen to others far too often and accept their conclusions without challenging them ourselves. One thing that comes to mind is something I was told by others when I mentioned that I thought I could write a program that would predict fuel prices: “You are crazy!, ” they said, “No one can do that.” A few years later I successfully created it and have been improving on it ever since. And not only did I do what others told me I could not do, I also learned two new programming languages in the process. We all have these examples in our lives–times in which someone has said that we cannot do something. Perhaps it is playing ice hockey or losing 30 pounds in a year. Or maybe it is finishing a marathon, writing a novel, or starting a company of your own. Whatever it is for you, do not focus on limitations… focus on the possibilities.
One thing I find that helps here is to realize that succeeding is not necessarily the same as success. I may not always be successful, but I still try by giving it my best shot. Therefore, it is in attempting, that we succeed.
Once we realize this fact, and accept that we need not be successful in everything we do, we can challenge ourselves to succeed by overlooking the limitations others have put on things. There will always be individuals out there who will make a claim on the impossibilities in life based on their theories and not upon experience or first-hand knowledge. And if we want to accomplish something special, it is worth our while to doubt these people. Of course, we should also remember that success may not come right away, or even at all, yet we will most certainly succeed in daring to try.
Do something today that others have told you may be too difficult for you.
Questions to consider:
Why do we so often take the word of experts as the gospel truth, and allow what they say to guide our actions?
What kinds of things have you done that other people thought you couldn’t do? How did it feel to accomplish those things?
How many experts make claims based on theory rather than on experience? What does that fact mean to us?
For further thought:
“Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinion of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.” ~ Katherine Mansfield, Complete Works of Katherine Mansfield