Today’s blog is excerpted from my book Creating the Impossible: A 90 day program to get your dreams out of your head and into the world…
The week I began working on this book, I read a distressing (to me) article about how Mahatma Gandhi was estranged from his eldest son, Harilal, throughout his adult life. I immediately called my own first born, Oliver, and shared with him how much I loved him and that if it ever came down to it, I would choose my relationship with him over ‘establishing a free and united India.’
Oliver went quiet for a few moments and then responded, ‘Dad, we’re fine. Go save India.’
We live in a world that is as socially and politically divided as at any point in my lifetime. Diseases like cancer and AIDS have claimed more lives in the past 50 years than the ‘black death’ of the bubonic plague killed in the 14th century.
Will we ever find a way to make sure every man, woman, and child goes to bed with food in their stomach? A cure for disease? A world where feelings of stress, pressure, and exhaustion seem more like minor mental illnesses than the inevitable side-effects of a life well-lived?
How can we improve the health of our loved ones and the health of the planet, physically, socially, and economically?
Is there any point in even trying?
It seems far from coincidental to me that in the past few days, as I’ve been reflecting on how to bring this book to a close, three separate people asked me what the core message of the book is – the one thing they need to know if they want to create the impossible in their own life and work.
One was a college student; one a budding rapper; one an already-successful musician.
The student wanted to know how she could bring about an end to racism; the budding rapper to understand how to overcome his reluctance to commit to moving forward with his career; the musician how to sell over a million records in a world where all the traditional distribution routes have disappeared or changed beyond recognition.
Fortunately, the answer for each of them was the same: When it comes to any impossible project, the ‘how’ is almost always revealed to us along the way, and almost never visible when we begin.
The reason something looks impossible is precisely because we can’t see any way for it to come about. So to keep trying to figure out how something will happen before diving in and creating it is like continually looking for the Eiffel Tower when you’re nowhere near Paris. What you can’t see is far more a function of where you’re standing than how hard you’re looking.
So if you’re wondering how to bring about social justice, your answer will be found in the process of working towards social justice. If you want to know how to advance your career, the answer(s) will arise as you engage more fully in the very next step that occurs to you to take. And whether you want to sell a million records, find a cure for cancer, win an Oscar, launch a new business, bring about an end to social inequality, feed the planet, or ‘save India,’ the ‘how’ will become apparent only when you step into the arena and begin.
As former US president Theodore Roosevelt famously said:
‘It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.’
Or in the words of Marianne Williamson:
‘God heard us. He sent help. He sent you.’
With all my love,