– Nelson Mandela –
Yes, whenever we attempt on something for the first time, it may seem impossible that we will ever get good in doing it. Give yourself a break; Thomas Edison didn’t get the light bulb to work in his first attempt and he didn’t even came close to making it work in the hundredth time. And have you read about the story of Colonel Sanders who started KFC from scratch in his retirement years? It was said that he travelled the whole country in his old car to try to get restaurant owners to use his famous fried chicken secret recipe and in return, he would receive a small amount per chicken sold. Sounded easy? Especially now that we know how finger-licking good his fried chicken tastes. On the contrary, he encountered 1009 ‘Nos’ until he got his first ‘Yes.’
After going through as many as maybe 100 rejections, most, if not all, would have declared that it was ‘impossible’ to get any restaurant owner to sell the famous fried chicken secret recipe. Do most of us even come close to 1 percent of his 1009 times? Did it seem impossible to him too initially? That I do not know. However, I believe he must have very strong belief and faith in his fried chicken recipe. In fact, I believe ‘impossible’ might not have even crossed his mind.
I didn’t first come upon this picture with the quote of Nelson Mandela. I was planning to use it for another quote but in the end, this fit in perfectly with this quote of Nelson Mandela. This picture reminds me of the time when I was first learning to swim. I gulped down a few mouthfuls of water when the depth of the pool was not even at my waist; I just didn’t know how to cope with the new buoyancy of the pool.
This picture also brought back a conversation which I had with a group of friends many years after I had learnt how to swim. We were having a gathering session and was talking about swimming. I listened attentively and with admiration when two of my friends were saying that they usually swam about 20-30 laps each time they went for a swim.
I blurted out, “Is it possible,” as I explained that I could hardly finish a lap without stopping along the way.
I have the doubt that night and maybe even the thought that it was impossible for me to do likewise. However, something amazing was happening; my mind was also opened up to the possibility and it led me to think, “If they can do it, maybe … just maybe I can do it too.”
So the very next day I went to the pool with the thought of doing at least 20 laps and initially I was struggling even with the first lap but I forced myself to complete the lap without stopping. And then something amazing happened; as I continued with the second lap, the third lap, and as the breathing become more rhythmic, I went on to fourth lap, fifth and I just continued. I found out that what my friends said was true that after the first few laps or so it would become easier. I did my first 20 laps, from 1 lap to 20 laps – unbelievable, yet it was no longer ‘impossible.’
That instead got me to think, “How many laps can I swim?” I continued to challenge myself each time I went for a swim. From 20 laps, I increased to 30s, 40s, 50s, and subsequently even up to 100 laps thrice – it took me about 2-3 hours doing the 100s; it has become possible.
The mind is truly powerful. When we are open to new possibility, indeed what may seem impossible initially become possible but only if we are willing to even try. It seems that after all these years, I have forgotten this one precious lesson which I learnt more than 10 years ago. Isn’t this what Napoleon Hill said, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve?”