“There is no use trying,” said Alice; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” ~Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Many years ago, a serious young man told me that after finishing school and beginning his work life, he realized he wanted to go back and get a different degree in something he found he had a real affinity for. In other words, he was finding his passion.
I was happy for him, getting ready to cheer him on, and then…
“But I’m too old now”, the 22 year old lamented, “it’s too late”. After I finished laughing, I reminded him that he wasn’t dead yet, so therefore nothing was too late. He seemed unconvinced, and a bit shocked that I was laughing at his terrible predicament. He was upset that his true dream wasn’t what he went to school for in the first place, and felt like he wasted his chance.
From where he was looking, it all seemed like an insurmountable impossible problem. Because of how expensive his education was to begin with, he felt it would be a waste to ‘throw it away’, yet he had no desire to create the career he’d just spent years preparing himself for.
His head was saying one thing, but fortunately for him, his heart wasn’t buying it. His spirit wasn’t having it. The whole thing felt like an inconvenient messy failure.
I asked him, what if none of it was wasted effort, and all of it was necessary?
What if, in order to learn about his true passion, he first had to study something else? What if he’d been working with someone else’s dream for him to begin with?
He woke up from that dream, because it wasn’t his, and what he loved looked like an impossible dream to him now. Plus, think of the people who would be disappointed in him! It didn’t make sense, and he wanted to make sense.
In my view, no matter what he ended up choosing, he had already succeeded. He allowed himself to know his truth, and to know what he loved. He would never be at peace with himself if he didn’t at least try to do the thing he wanted, the thing that was calling to him.
It’s hard to listen to that inner voice, to go against what looks to others like common sense and conventional wisdom. It’s damn inconvenient to walk away from the neatly packaged life you were preparing for, and to destroy what you’ve created. But destroy it you must if it’s no longer viable.
What if, in order to live the impossible dream you want to live, you have to experience some things that scare you, and take some great big risks along the way?
What if that’s part of the path you need to walk in order to realize and value what you actually do love? What does your impossible look like? It can feel like an impossible place to be. It’s definitely a test. What will you choose?
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho