Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said. “One can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay 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, Through the Looking Glass
Believing in impossible things takes practice. It requires a perspective that allows for miraculous occurrences, as well as discipline and commitment of thought. Life-transforming miracles are rarely on the scale of parting the Red Sea, but they do not have to be to be life altering. Most often a life can be transformed by a miracle as simple as a shift in perception -- choosing a different way of perceiving life.
Remember the delightful classic movie, It’s a Wonderful Life? It did not fare well as a box office release, and now it is the most consistently watched movie in the history of feature films. The movie opens with the main character, played by Jimmy Stewart, contemplating suicide. He is burnt out, perceives himself as a failure, and believes the world would be better off without him. He needs a miracle to save him and he gets it.
Through the course of the movie, he is transformed from a totally depressed, suicidal individual into a man running through the streets of his town filled with ecstasy and joy for life. How did this miracle occur? Jimmy Stewart gained a different perspective on his life. No facts needed to be changed -- no reality needed altering -- no sticks turned to snakes. The only change necessary in order for the main character’s life to become miraculously transformed was that he changed his negative interpretation of his circumstances. This reminds me of a wonderful story.
I volunteered to help teach children to read. I was working with a challenging young man who was really struggling to read. As I was sitting beside him, reading a book that my youngest son Corbin Billings wrote when he was ten called "The ABC's of Becoming Great: the young man came upon the word “impossible” and was stumped by it.
“I don’t know what that word is,” he said.
His words hit me like a wet towel in the snow. “Oh my goodness.” I thought to myself, “How many people are working very hard to unlearn what that word is? "Just take a deep breath, relax and attempt to sound it out, like we have been practicing,” I encouraged him.
With his eyes squinted and mouth tense he slowly sounded out the word. “I. . . Mmm. . . Possible,” he said as he stretched out the word.
Frozen in my chair, I sat listening to a miracle. In one moment this young man who I was supposed to be tutoring, was teaching me a profound and powerful lesson. How wonderful it would be if everyone who looked at the word 'impossible' didn't know what the word was? And secondly, what would happen when we do come across the word 'impossible' we learn to read it correctly.
“I M Possible.”
At that moment I realized that I must always be careful to remember that even when I think I am the teacher, I am the student. This young man taught me a lesson that day that changed the way I look at the world, and in the process, changed the world.
_________________________________________________________________________________________ Dawn Billings author of over 20 books, selected by Oprah Magazine and The White House Project as one of the nation's 80 emerging women leaders in 2008. CEO & Founder of The Heart Link Women's Network, an International women's networking organization. Dawn created the curriculum for the OverJOYed Life which teaches the secrets to happiness and success. Dawn is the director of the ExecutiveTrainingResort.com and author and architect of the Primary Colors Personality Insight tools.