“The moment you decide an event is impossible and therefore stop directing your attention to it is the moment when it will take place.”

General Petro Grigorenko


Well. This is about a couple things.

First is ‘the inevitability of the impossible.’ <that may be the quote of the day>

Second is convictions. General Grigorenko is also the one who said “Convictions are not like gloves.”


The inevitability of the impossible.

I have noted that military leaders have a habit of saying very smart things in very simple ways. Especially when it comes to how often the unbelievable becomes the believable, the impossible becomes possible and how well thought out planning becomes a ‘non-plan.’ And, please note, this isnt about dreams or hopes or some intangible future planning … this is about real tangible Life. Stuff that actually happens.

Regardless. His quote is a version of the Black Swan theory. Just a reminder. The Black Swan theory basically suggests that our past experience doesn’t mean shit with regard to the future. For example we believed only white swans were possible <and we then therefore planned a black swan lookfuture based on such> and stopped paying attention to swans and, DOH!, lo and behold someone discovered a black swan.

Go figure. The impossible became possible. The unbelievable became believable.

Look. I imagine it is helpful for us to remind ourselves on occasion that just when we are absolutely positively 100% sure that something is impossible … it occurs.

Not always. But just often enough that we shouldn’t be too surprised that the moment we stop directing our attention to it, it happens.

This is a simple thought and one I just like to remind people about. You cannot plan for everything just as you cannot be sure of anything. But that, my friends, is what we call Life.

Anyway. That may sound fairly unsettling because that means … well … you cannot be sure of anything.



Because I am who I am … I would like to take a minute of your time and tell you who Grigorenko was and why I wanted to use his quote and make a point on the inevitability of unexpected things happening <and something we CAN be sure of>. This leads me to the second thought … convictions.


A native of Ukraine, Grigorenko had been arrested and sent to a mental hospital in 1964 for criticizing the Soviet government for deviating from the Leninist principles and for his unyielding stand against the party bureaucracy and oppressive policies. Grigorenko told a group of Crimean Tatars in a speech that they need to take a more aggressive stand, it is their legal right to demand to repatriate, and the crimes committed by the Soviet government against their people amount to ‘genocide’ under international laws <note: that did not go over particularly well with the Soviet leadership>. In 1969, he was arrested the second time in Tashkent, where he was to attend the trials of Crimean Tatar activists, and spent another five years in psychiatric confinement.

But here is the important part:

In the mental hospital Chernyakhovsk Grigorenko underwent another diagnostic examination on January 17th 1971:


“Petr Grigorevich, have you changed your convictions?” … a soviet psychiatrist asked.

“Convictions are not like gloves; one cannot easily change them.” … the general answered.

“The treatment will continue” … the doctor announced.

Well. “Convictions are not like gloves.”

There is a keeper of a thought. I wish more of us in the business world would keep this in mind.

Aw, hell, I wish all of us would keep this in mind.conviction willpower

In a world where the impossible becomes possible almost on a daily basis. In a world where it seems as soon as you relax and believe that something will not happen … and it happens. It is nice to be able to hold on to something. Something that cannot be changed like a pair of gloves.

Convictions. Nice things to wear day in and day out. They stay clean forever so you don’t need to take the off an wash them.

I am done. That was my thought for the day.

But. To close. I thought I would share Grigorenko’s speech that got him in trouble.


Speech of Petro Grigorenko to Crimean Tatars, 1968:

Why have your people been so discriminated against? Section 123 of the Soviet Constitution reads: ’Any direct or indirect limitation on rights… of citizens because of their racial or national membership… is punishable by law.’

Thus the law is on your side. [Stormy applause]

But still your rights are being flouted. Why?

We believe that the main reason behind this is the fact that you underestimate your enemy. You think that you are dealing with honest people. But this is not so! What has been done to your people was not done by Stalin alone. And his accomplices are not only alive—but they occupy responsible positions. You are appealing to the leadership of the party and the state with conciliatory written requests. But that which belongs to you by right should not be asked for but demanded. [Stormy applause and cries of agreement]

So begin to demand. And demand not just parts, pieces, but all that was taken from you unlawfully—demand the reestablishment of the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic! [Stormy applause and cries of “Hail the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic”]

Don’t limit your actions to the writing of petitions. Fortify them with all of those means which the Constitution provides you—the freedom of speech and of the press, of meetings, assemblies, of street marches and demonstrations.

A newspaper is published for you in Moscow. But the people behind that newspaper do not support your movement. Take the newspaper away from them. Elect your own editorial board. And if people hinder you in doing this, boycott that newspaper and create another one—your own! A movement cannot develop normally without its own press.

And in your struggle do not shut yourselves in a narrow nationalist shell. Establish contacts with all the progressive people of other nationalities of the Soviet Union. Do not consider your cause to be solely an internal Soviet matter. Appeal for help to the world progressive public and to international organizations. What was done to you in 1944 has a name. It was genocide.


Convictions are good things, especially when the impossible happens.

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Written by Bruce