Why Not?

“You see things; and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say “Why not?” ~ George Bernard Shaw, The Collected Works … 

The limits of possibilities in this world are expanded everyday by individuals who say, “Why not?” When man dreamed of flight, the Wright Brothers thought, “Why not?,” and were the first to successfully achieve powered flight. And when man dreamed of fighting diseases and viruses, Edward Jenner came up with the first recorded vaccination. He saw that dairymaids had developed a natural immunity to smallpox and thought, “Why not?” Thanks to the many individuals who were not satisfied to accept the world as it is and instead ask themselves, “What if…?,” and “Why not?,” we currently enjoy things such as radio and music, television and movies, computers and microwave ovens, refrigerators and cars.

We each can apply this same principle in our own lives. Instead of saying, “I wish…,” we can say “Why not?” By asking ourselves this question, and then answer it, we come to understand the necessary requirements of us to make it come about. And if we fail to find the answer to the question, then maybe we need to break it down into smaller subsets of questions. Then, for each subset, we can ask ourselves the same question, and then find the answers. Thus, in life, there really is nothing holding us back from succeeding other than ourselves–our determination, perseverance, and attitudes.

Why can’t I go back to school and become a teacher, a nurse, or an engineer? I have the potential and the possibilities to do so. But do I focus on them or on my limitations and impossibilities? Do I have the right attitudes for me to succeed? Some people would call Shaw an optimist, or a “possibilitarian,” for he looked at life positively, and with no boundaries. What do we look at and focus on in our lives–potential and possibilities, or limitations and impossibilities? If it is the latter, then perhaps our acceptance of those limitations is the very thing that makes them real.

Take a step today in the direction of possibility by starting on something that was seemingly impossible.

Questions to consider:

Why is it so easy for us to get caught up in limitations as opposed to possibilities? Why do we believe that certain things are impossible?

How many things do you look at and say “why?” What might you accomplish if you were to change that to “why not?”

What step can you take today that will put something new in motion?

For further thought:

“We fear our highest possibilities (as well as our lowest ones). We are generally afraid to become that which we can glimpse in our most perfect moments, under the most perfect conditions, under conditions of great courage. We enjoy and even thrill to the godlike possibilities we see in ourselves in such peak moments. And yet we simultaneously shiver with weakness, awe, and fear before these very same possibilities.” ~ Abraham Harold Maslow, The Farther Reaches of Human Nature


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Filed under Commentary, Food For Thought, Living, Opinion

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