difficult gets done immediately

dead end


“The difficult we do immediately.

The impossible take a little longer.”

US Army


Well. While this quote is attributable to the Army my sense is this is the attitude of all of the services. I bring it up because I wish more people had this attitude. I will note that Walt Disney’s version was “it’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” Walt was a little more optimistic than the military.

Regardless. What I imagine I like about all of them is the inherent belief that nothing is impossible. And while I dislike the belief that everything is possible (it leads to more problems than solutions) I like the thought: “before you accept the impossible treat everything like it is possible”.

Yeah. Too many times I have heard “impossible” thrown out so flippantly as a stop sign for people who don’t want to go the extra mile. I guess I have also found that rarely are things 100 percent impossible. Something can always be done.

Yeah. I admit. When I hear “that’s impossible” I typically perk up a little and go “really, impossible you say” and my brain starts going into overdrive thinking of the possibilities of what is, well, possible.

I don’t think I am that different than a lot of people.

Virgil got it mostly right:

“They are able because they think they are able.”

Mostly right because I do believe that as soon as you start thinking you are able to do something it becomes a little irrelevant if someone else has put the infamous ‘impossible’ label on it. Thinking you are able often enables you to do.

Sure. Some things really are impossible.

A 4 second 100 yard dash.

Looking good in a lime green polyester suit.

Seeing if you have no sight.

But. That doesn’t mean you can’t finish faster than you may have.

Or find a situation where someone won’t laugh as much when you wear the suit.

Or seeing things from a different perspective.

Maybe what I am suggesting is impossible is rarely absolute.

There are almost always degrees of possible within the impossible.

There is a lesson for every organization, and individual, in this thought.

Given an impossible task it can be quite healthy to ignore “impossible” and focus on addressing the possible no matter how difficult it is. I would argue if you do so, well, this statement will be tossed out:

“well, we have gone this far, what the heck, those impossible things we looked at before, damn, they look a little more possible now that we are here.”

Context changes one’s view of impossible. And maybe that is why impossible takes a little longer. You just need to get to a different place where the impossible becomes possible.



Written by Bruce