I would never have thought when I was only thirteen or fourteen that I would have amounted to much of anything, seeing how my confidence was at level zero, and my abilities were even less than that. Honestly, I don’t think I had ever set one, single goal, up to that point. Because it wasn’t until I started with martial arts, around about when I was maybe sixteen, that one my instructors suggested I started reaching for what I wanted in life.
Since then (turning 16?) I’ve set a great many, number of goals I have never achieved (too many to even begin to list, now), as I’ve somewhat got in the habit of letting my ambition get ahead of what I can actually do. But I do feel all that I have accomplished–and I have accomplished things–has been the result of setting hard-to-reach, if not impossible, goals.
Impossible goals are relative, and so are those that are hard to reach. To me, back when I was but merely a romping middle schooler, even doing just one pull up seemed unfathomable, I must admit. I remember the amount of sheer, awesome amazement that overtook me when I saw Mr. Lanew, our gym teacher, do five in a row. I thought, “In a thousand years, I will never be able to do pull ups like that.”
I also remember when I first determined I was going to write a book. I proposed the idea to one of my mentors at time. I told him it was going to be published, and by a big name, too–come hell or high water. I was twenty one, and thought this would be kind of a cool thing to do. He smirked, patted me on the shoulder, and said something not all that inspiring, like, “Oh, well, that’s nice, Pat.” I could tell, as much confidence as he may have had in me otherwise, he saw no way of me doing this, either. It was an impossible goal.
Even the prospect of “having abs” seemed a humongous stretch at first. Because having only ever been immense for most of my life, the thought of a visibly defined midsection seemed so distant it was hardly worth trudging towards. Like Mount Mordor, in a way. But then, after many years of trying to “figure it out”, I saw that first little bottom ab, popping through. I’ll never forget it. That was when the impossible goal seemed suddenly feasible.
And for music, as well. For I recall with almost perfect clarity the first time I ever heard a truly proficient guitar player, in person. And just like when I saw Mr. Lanew do that set of pull ups, I thought, “In a thousand years, I will never be able to play like that.”
Business–the same thing! For the first consultant I ever had said I should shoot to make a certain amount or more by the end of the year. The number actually physically disturbed me. It seemed insane. And now, that number is nothing. Pennies, Alfred. Pennies.
So I have written books, a few of them best sellers, and five pull ups, for me, is perhaps one of the easiest things in the world to do. I also have abs. And all because I was willing to set impossible (or otherwise very hard to reach) goals for myself. Goals that, to other people, may have seemed completely attainable, but to me, were utterly out there.
The point I want to make–really, the whole reason for me writing this–is to say you don’t actually have to believe you can achieve something in order to get it done. I don’t think I was ever truly sold on being a success in any of these areas that I wanted to be a success in. But I put trust in the process, and handed myself over to it, anyway.
Because when you aim high, and, well, even if you miss, you still wind up further along than you would have otherwise.