The older I get, the more likely it seems to me that we are in fact living in a simulation. I loved the movie The Matrix; it was a fantastic journey into an alternative reality that had some plausibility (at least in my mind). The way the movie premise is laid out, with a reluctant hero not realizing his potential until he is forced into action, is a great metaphor for your life. Most people have no idea what they are capable of until they are really pressed by fate. Whether that is saving people from a burning building, pulling people out of a car accident, or undertaking a task no person has ever accomplished before, your human capacity is only touched a few brief moments in your whole life. By actively choosing things that test yourself, you can start to learn just how much you are capable of. Sports is one way to tap into your hidden potential, but so are things like public speaking and other non-competitive actions.
The scene depicted above, when Neo goes to see the Oracle. The scene where Neo meets a child who has psychokinetic powers, and is bending a metal spoon with his mind, is one of my favorites. It never occurs to Neo that he could bend the spoon with just his mind, and when he tries it, he struggles and cannot do it. Once the child points out to him, in classic movie line fashion, “There is No Spoon“, does Neo understand how to bend the spoon. By working within the limitations of the way we see the world, we are bound by the confines of our Earthly existence. But if we can free ourselves of the preconceived notions that we grow up with, the possibilities are endless.
In what may seem like an unrelated example, in 1954 Roger Bannister was the first human ever to run a mile in under four minutes. Everyone else thought is couldn’t be done, that your heart would explode and you would die on the spot if you tried. It was a barrier that could not be challenged or broken. Bannister managed to get across the line in 3:59.14, breaking the barrier of four minute mile and shattering the walls of the self-imposed prison that the world had collectively created. Roger understood, in his own way, There is No Spoon. And that is only half of the story….once Bannister did it, there was a flurry of people who did it soon after. Once someone else proved that it could be done, a myriad of others felt comfortable enough to do it themselves. They let go, and allowed themselves to do something once thought to be impossible, but proven otherwise. Since then, the four minute mile has become the STANDARD for men running this distance, and over 1500 males have broken this time mark. The current record is a full 17 seconds under four minutes, and it gets chipped away at all the time. That’s right, what was thought to be impossible has now become almost commonplace at the elite level.
Both of the paragraphs above say the same thing: once you can convince yourself that something can be done, you can achieve it. Yes, you may still be subject to gravity and other laws of physics, but there are a LOT of things that could be achieved that have not really been tested. But my question is this:
What is it that you really want to do or accomplish that you think is impossible?
I am challenging you to really look into your quest and see what can be done about it. In my opinion, this is the most important place to start: what is the self talk you hear in your head that might be limiting your chances of success, or even preventing you from starting? You have to get that straight first; whatever it is you think about most often is what you become. So if you sit around and say to yourself “I can’t, I could never, I wouldn’t be able to…” you are correct. If you can change your self talk to reflect the goal(s) you have, and your mind is telling you that you can do it, now you have a shot. You have given yourself permission, and that is a key step in the process. It takes practice to reduce and eventually eliminate negative self talk, but you need to do it. You need to get your mind right so your body and have a chance to execute what it is you want.
When I am faced with something that I need a little extra convincing that I could pull it off, my go-to line for internal dialog is: There is No Spoon. It is a reminder that more than I think possible can be done. Hearing myself say the words is permission to explore the possibility of what might be, not just what I think could be. I remind myself that in the movie, Neo didn’t think he had what it took to be “The One”, and he fought the notion that he was what the world was waiting for to save it. A heavy weight to carry, for sure, and not necessarily the kind of responsibility that anyone would seek out. But when the time comes for him to rescue a friend, he discovers he does in fact possess the skills to be The One. I try to remind myself that I have more to give, to access, to offer, than I always give myself credit for. I am not out to save the world, but I do believe that I can have more of an impact than most people would consider possible. These days it is easier than ever, through internet and Social Media, we are but a few clicks away from the rest of the world.
My goal is to try to help and influence as many people as possible. I want to help them reach their full potential. By reaching a higher level of themselves, they too will be impacting the world in a positive way, and we all will be better for it. I have been doing this one person at a time for quite a while now, and I am upgrading my chance for impact by doing public speaking. My audience grows each time I get in front of a group of people, my reach continues to grow. My hope is that some of the things I have learned over the years and am sharing now will resonate with others, and help them in their journey in some small way. It is a daunting task to try to change the world, but the more of us who are trying to have a positive impact, the better. I am giving myself the permission and the opportunity to go out and make things happen, helping others along the way.