The first published collection of my writings will be titled “Impossible is an Illusion.” This work will contain 52 of my best essays and will be printed by Ravenswood Publishing on June 25, 2017.
The title for the book comes from this essay.
Impossible is an Illusion
I’m an optimist. I always believe that good will prevail. I look to the bright side. The glass is half full – even when it is half-empty. I believe in miracles. Hope springs eternal.
I believe I can do anything. I believe we all can.
I’ve always thought like this. And in my lifetime I have been able to do some things that others (even myself at times) thought were impossible. Yet, they weren’t. You see, Impossible is an Illusion. Nothing is impossible if believe in yourself and if you work hard enough.
I’ve always wanted to be a published author. Writing is a hobby of mine and a way in which I express myself. I work diligently to improve my craft. Some people tell me I write well; others, not so much. I guess enough people liked my writing to convince someone to publish it. Now, if you’re holding my book in your hands, you might be thinking, “Hey this guy accomplished his life dream.” And I did. And that’s pretty good! But I’m not done. I still have other dreams, other hopes, and other goals to accomplish.
I believe we become successful when we determine to never set limits on ourselves. Too often we find reasons that we can’t accomplish tasks rather than finding the will and the way to do them.
I was never a runner. But, one day I decided that I should run a marathon. So I bought running books and learned how to train to run 26.2 miles. Then, on a cold Sunday in 2002, I ran the New York City Marathon. I accomplished a dream. I’ve now completed twenty marathons and I am looking forward to the next one. But, if you knew me as a kid growing up, you would have never thought that I would become an athlete. I loved sports and I played them, but I wasn’t very good.
Growing up, I particularly loved baseball and had dreams of becoming a New York Yankee. I was certain I’d make it to the big leagues. I played baseball all the time. I went to a small high school where the good players reached varsity early on in their high school careers. I was certain that would help me…
Except, I never made varsity. My junior year, when most sophomores, all the juniors, and all the seniors were playing varsity baseball, I was pitching for the JV team. I was the only junior on the team. It was basically me and a bunch of freshmen.
Now, most people have cherished items from their high school sporting careers. I’m no exception. I have the game ball from the best game I ever pitched. Players save game balls when they throw no-hitters and such. My best game wasn’t a no-hitter; it was a four hitter. That was the best I could do. I might be the only person in the world who has, as an adult (or even as a kid), a baseball commemorating a four-hitter.
I lost more games than I won that year. That was the best season of my life.
I should also probably share that when I played sports as a kid, I was usually one of the last kids picked, for every game. It wasn’t that I didn’t try hard. It’s because I really wasn’t any good. I wanted to be an athlete, but the skills and my body didn’t cooperate.
At the end of my elementary school experience, we had a yearbook that commemorated many of the students for their accomplishments, looks, or personalities. This was standard fare: Most Likely to Succeed, Cutest, Best Eyes, Most Athletic, Smartest… I was recognized in that yearbook. I was voted “Shortest.”
None of this is particularly inspiring.
In my life I have failed at a lot more than I care to admit. I fail at things all the time. If I’m good at anything, I’m good at failing.
When I was young and a school kid, I wasn’t always the most enthusiastic student. My grades were middling at best, until I went to college where I was inspired to actually use my brain.
Today I have a doctorate and am the principal of the greatest elementary school in the world – and that is no exaggeration. But, while I was plodding through middle and high school, even though I tried writing, I figured that I’d never really be a writer. I thought writers had to get straight A’s.
Nonetheless, in order to achieve my dream, I started writing. I had written stories as a kid, but I started writing more in high school. I was writing a lot. Most often I was writing poorly. But it didn’t matter because I was writing. I think I started to get better. I was even published in my high school’s literary magazine. It was a start! (I still think I have a long way to go.)
I wrote in college, even penned a few manuscripts (none publishable), but another story of mine was published in my college’s literary magazine. I was two-for-two in getting published in small magazines that no one reads.
As I settled into my profession, I kept writing. Much of what I wrote I kept to myself. But, I started sharing passages like these. People told me I was I pretty good. “You should get published,” they’d say.
Eventually, I tried. I submitted my best works to literary agents and publishers. They all rejected everything I sent. I went to Writers’ Conferences. At these conferences you can meet agents and publishers in person. (They charge extra for this, but I happily paid.) They all rejected my works. I went to Writers’ Retreats. These are more intimate settings where a writer can really spend time with agents and publishers. You have to pay a lot more money for these experiences. Those agents and publishers also rejected me. Every time. Some of the literary agents I met in those venues weren’t particularly kind.
It’s not fun to travel hundreds of miles to spend hundreds of dollars to be told you are an amateur and to be dismissed outright. These meetings are timed, and there were instances I don’t even think I got my full fifteen minutes in. (Yes, I paid money to have a fifteen-minute conference with an agent who insulted me.)
I have faced a lot of rejection. Time and time again. Year after year. And yet, I’m now going to be a published author. This might be the start of something big!
How can a non-athlete run a marathon? How can a non-academic child earn a doctorate and become a leader of a high performing school? How can a middling writer become a published author?
It’s simple – I don’t believe in the word impossible. I believe that I can do anything. I believe that any person can accomplish anything he or she sets out to do.
You see, Impossible is an Illusion.
We can do more than we think we can. We can achieve greater things than we ever thought possible. This happens when we allow ourselves to look past what we think is unachievable. This happens when we ignore the idea that certain things are impossible.
Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. When we put limits on ourselves, we set ourselves up to fail, or at least to not succeed. When we believe that there are things we can’t do, it turns out that we can’t do them.
“Can’t” is a powerful word. We believe it when others tell us what we can’t accomplish. More, we believe it when we tell ourselves that there are things we can’t do. When this happens, things do become impossible.
When we believe in impossible, life in some ways becomes easier. When tell ourselves that we can’t do things, we don’t have to do them. “Can’t” allows us the necessary excuse to reject putting in the work necessary to accomplish great things.
Unfortunately, we often mistake “can’t” for “won’t,” or, even worse, we use “can’t” as an excuse so we don’t have to attempt things that might be challenging.
“I can’t quit smoking.”
“I can’t lose weight.”
“I can’t write.”
“I can’t paint.”
“I can’t play piano.”
“I can’t learn that.”
We can be our own worst enemy, and in doing so, we make things impossible for ourselves.
Except, when we don’t.
When we believe in ourselves, when we give our best efforts, when we try, when we work hard, when we are focused, we find that we CAN.
Impossible things are not really impossible. You just need to set your mind to doing whatever it takes to succeed.
We don’t have to be defined by our failures. We don’t have to be defined by the perceptions that others have of us. We don’t have to be limited by the perceptions we have of ourselves.
Instead, we can do anything.
Impossible is an Illusion.