If you’ve ever set to accomplish anything in your life, you’ve probably heard people tell you things like “Be realistic” or “Things don’t work that way here.” They’re not necessarily trying to crush your dreams, they just have a different perspective of reality, based off their experiences, influences, thoughts, and beliefs.
But whenever I am told I can’t do something, that famous George Bernard Shaw quote plays in my head “People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”
In the 1950’s, scientists gave speeches about how it was not humanly possible to run a mile under four minutes. They said the heart would burst from its chest. It could not be done, they said. And these were the so-called professionals. But in 1954, Roger Bannister broke that false belief and ran it in under four minutes. Ever since, thousands of people have ran the four minute mile under four minutes. Even high schoolers.
So what really happened? Did people around the world just suddenly get faster? Did muscle-growth on earth somehow increase? No, instead, it was the change of belief. Reality had changed for people. Since Bannister did it, people knew it could be done. So the barrier, the wall, that limitation in the mind of humanity, was forever altered. A new reality emerged.
Everybody has a view of reality, of what’s possible. It is based on our thoughts about we have experienced, seen, or been influenced by. To the professional scientists, it was impossible to make that run. To Bannister, it was just a challenge. He did not subscribe to their reality. But when he achieved it, the world’s view changed. Doubters and skeptics’ minds were blown open by possibility. After he did it, no more talks were given about how it was impossible. With one act, he caused the consciousness of humanity to transcend.
You do not see with the world with your eyes, you see with your mind. You may see through your eyes, but you see with your mind. Once you understand that reality is not fixed, the fun begins. We’re born into an already-made world of misconceptions, limitations, and beliefs. And they are thrust upon you to adopt as well. And when you don’t accept them, you threaten the identity of everyone who embraces those limitations. So they may become aggressive to defend them.
Much like the movie, The Matrix, we live in a false reality of limitation, but most people think it’s real. Morpheus says “You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it.”
I once heard a story about a high school student who fell sleep in his math class. When he awoke at the end, he saw day’s homework written on the chalk board, so he furiously wrote the equation down before leaving class. He went home and struggled with it for weeks. Finally, when the turned it into the teacher, the teacher checked it so that it was the correct answer, and was shocked. The teacher said “You don’t understand, what I wrote on the board last week wasn’t meant to be your homework assignment, Steven, it was an equation that has stumped every mathematician in our field. No one has ever solved it, until now.”
Since the student had fallen asleep, he wasn’t aware that it was meant to be an “impossible” problem. He just thought it was a really tough homework assignment. When you don’t accept, or aren’t aware of or influenced by, the limitations of others, you are free to express what’s truly possible.
Have you ever challenged anyone one on what’s possible and they argue you tooth and nail that it is simply not going to work out and is not possible? They may laugh at your naivete with a smug sense of “You’re a fool” in their tone. Some people even get violent and upset, simply by you proposing the idea of “I can do it.” Because your reality, your naivete, threatens their very identity. And the ego doesn’t like that.
Steve Jobs often talked of “The Reality Distortion Field.” He says you can push in reality, and something will pop out the other end. But not everyone believes you, their perception has led them to live in different reality. So how do you help to expand their reality?
Using metaphors, you can change a person’s perspective to allow possibility to occur. Steve Jobs did this to get teams aboard with his vision. When he wanted the Mac to boot up ten seconds quicker, the engineers told him it’s impossible. “There’s no way we can get it to boot up any quicker.” Steve proposed the idea that, if a person’s life was at stake by saving the time it takes to boot up, could they get it to boot faster? This changed the perspective from which they viewed the problem. It changed their point of view. And when they came back to him, they shaved not only ten seconds, but twenty.
To be a great leader or teacher, you’ll have to learn to influence through metaphor. Jesus did this by teaching parables as well. He expanded minds with his teachings, allowing people to view life from a different point of view.
We all think that life is about growth. But growth is a misnomer. It’s about expansion. Its not necessarily like you’re a tree, growing from a seed to a giant redwood. Although that is close in many ways, but that infers that there are things you can’t do yet because you’re still too small a tree. It may feel like we’re growing. But what we’re really doing is expanding ourselves to be bigger people.
Our souls are perfect already. What we grow is our skills. We learn to play the piano, and our spirit is now able to express music through our playing of the piano. Increasing skills allow for spirit and consciousness to express through you in a more vast way.
Learning anything new is a pain. It’s the frustration of moving through the not knowing of beginner to expert, which is probably why most people avoid learning new things after high school. It can be maddening. But what you’re doing it breaking through the wall of not knowing, of limitation. This causes your mind to expand. And spirit to be expressed. You have expanded who you are.
In this world, you may have to grow your skills in order to expand your being, but it’s the expansion that truly counts. Like creating a larger funnel for spirit to come through, or expanding the hose that the water of spirit can travel through. Expansion will dynamically transform what’s possible in your world. And when you do that, you’ll need to bring others along by using metaphor to expand theirs.
So, become a growth-minded personality, an advancing personality, an expended being. Never settle for what others tell you can and can’t be done, even if(and especially if) they are more experienced than you on the topic, because they’re letting their past experiences, environment, and beliefs cause limitation. Don’t accept the limitations the world thrusts upon you.
You were made from something greater. And where you come from, there are no limitations.