Turn the Impossible Into the Inevitable

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

Normally at the start of a new week we’re full of anticipation about all the great things we’ll accomplish. Okay, more like mixed feeling about all the things we’ll witness. After last week, I think we’ll all be content to make it to Friday intact. Let’s face it, some parents go into the school year knowing they’ll never receive that congratulatory letter from the principal about their kid’s scholastic achievements.

It’s all about expectations – those visions we have of a certain outcome based on what we’ve seen to this point in time. Both of my daughters were capable of honor-roll performance, and I had a strong desire that they’d always do their best. But there were those days when I was happy just to see them get on the bus. You learn to accept life’s little blessings as they come.

I was listening to a motivational speaker a few days ago, and he talked about the progression of our expectations. Very often, new ideas immediately go into that circular file labeled “impossible.” The objections start before the idea is fully developed. “There’s no way this can work! If it were that easy, everybody would be doing it!” Giving up is easy when we don’t have any skin in the game.

But then we give it a second look, and maybe even test the water just a bit. It’s like a baby standing next to a coffee table, letting go for a few seconds at a time. It’s a leap of faith, backed by a lifetime of experience that says, “Sure, other people are doing it, so it’s not impossible. But in my case, it’s improbable. I’m just not as smart, or as strong, or as (insert your favorite attribute here) as they are.”

This would be a good place to examine why we consider new ideas in the first place. We don’t change the things we do simply for the sake of change. We have a goal. It could be as simple as finding an easier way to do a routine task, or as grand as achieving a lifelong dream. And a lifetime of experience has taught us that doing exactly what we’ve been doing isn’t producing the desired result.

Something needs to change. But that same lifetime of experiences is nagging at us the whole time, adjusting our expectations to nothing more than we’ve come to know. “What makes me think I can do this? What I want is for special people, and I’m not that special. Besides, I’ve lived my whole life without it.” Sound familiar? It’s a self-defeating attitude that seeks to avoid any form of disappointment.

But if the goal is strong enough, we give in and take that first step. We may keep one hand on the table, because we know how easily we can fall. But lo and behold, here we are still standing! The floor didn’t rise up to slap us, and odds are if we try another step, we may succeed yet again. This isn’t just possible, it’s probable! Sure, we’ll fall down. But the odds of success are moving into our corner.

Finally, we enter the realm of “inevitable.” You do something enough times to realize that, as long as you keep taking the right steps, you will eventually end up where you want to be. It’s no longer a matter of luck – it’s a law of nature. Success isn’t something you have to control. It happens because you’ve put something in motion that you can’t stop. All you have to do is meet it at the other end.

As we begin a new week, it’s inevitable that we’ll encounter experiences over the next few days that we can’t begin to anticipate. Some will be good, some not so good. And a lot of that depends on our expectations. If we expect good things, good things happen. We’ll still encounter our share of challenges, but challenges are a lot easier to manage when you expect to win.

I’ve said this before, but a professional baseball player expects to get a hit every time they step up to the plate. It doesn’t matter that, two-thirds of the time, they have to take that lonely walk back to the dugout. They’ve felt success. They know what’s possible. And they know that, as long as they stand at the plate and swing at enough good pitches, a base hit is inevitable. Maybe even a home run.

Focus on the dream and do the things you need to do. Nothing is impossible if even one other person has done it, and it’s only improbable if you don’t give it an honest try. That only leaves two other possibilities – probable, and inevitable. Expect great things this week, and great things are that much more likely to happen. Stare down that fastball and swing for the fences. Then get ready to run!

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

Sunny Days Are Made, Not Born

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is starting off really well.

Have you ever met one of those people who never seems to have a bad day? The person who walks into work with a smile, greeting everyone by name, telling everyone what a beautiful day it is, and they’re not even a politician? You wonder sometimes if they woke up on the same planet as everyone else, or if they’re just oblivious.

Okay, I’ll make a little confession here … I try to be that person. It doesn’t always work, and sometimes I’m suppressing how I really feel, because we all have our days when things just aren’t all glitter and puppy dogs. But I’ve found that if I keep those negative thoughts to myself, things just seem better. It’s a really old concept I learned as a teenager – fake it till you make it.

And there’s something to be said for that. We tend to believe what’s repeated, whether by ourselves or others. It’s the very basis of advertising. The more somebody tells us we need a certain product, that it’ll make our days better, our lives longer, and drive the opposite sex wild with desire, the more that message begins to wear on us. Before long, we’re out shopping for something we didn’t even know we needed.

It’s also the basis of misinformation, both intentional and unintentional. From politics to medicine, we’re constantly bombarded with “truths” somebody else wants us to know. Of course, some are much more factual than others, but when did that ever stop anybody from sharing an opinion as gospel? And, again, the more we hear the same message, the more believable it becomes.

I remember years ago, we tried an experiment in a leadership class. The instructor picked out one person in the room, and the rest of us were to convince that person that they didn’t look well. Naturally, that person had no idea what we were doing. He was just the unlucky soul who took a restroom break at the wrong time and left the rest of us to plot his demise.

When he returned, the instructor asked, “Do you feel okay? You look a little pale.” For the rest of the morning, several of us took turns doing the same thing. Or we’d point to the clouds and suggest a storm was coming or tell him we heard the company was getting ready to cancel vacations and force overtime. He didn’t even have vacation scheduled, but by lunchtime, he was visibly distressed.

Okay, it might have been fun to see how long we could ruin his day, but that wouldn’t have been very nice. Right before lunch, the instructor let him off the hook and explained how the repeated suggestion that things are not going well can change your perspective to the point that you overlook all the sun peeking through the clouds and only see a looming storm.

It’s been said that we all tend to live up to the expectations that others have set for us. Not demands, expectations. There’s a difference. A demand is something to which you’ll be held accountable. An expectation is a belief that it’ll happen simply because you’re the one in the driver’s seat. And we all tend to be a lot more successful when others genuinely expect us to succeed.

The same is true about our own perceptions. Put ten people in a room together, close the door, and walk away without saying a word. Just leave them to wonder what’s going on. Every one of those people is experiencing the same reality, but you can believe there are at least ten different ideas of what that means. At that point, they form a few expectations of their own.

And those expectations have a strong influence on our perception. While one person is waiting for the boss to walk in with a stack of pink slips, another sees little more than a chance to enjoy some quiet time among friends. And for both of them, until that door opens, and they find out what’s really going on, their perception is reality.

If you wake up in the morning expecting a gloomy day, you’re probably off to a real good start toward fulfilling that expectation. If, on the other hand, you wake up excited about the new day and look forward to it with anticipation of all the good things you can accomplish, the odds are much more in your favor.

That’s not to say nothing can come along to change your day. Storms will arise, things will go wrong, people will get upset, and some of that will try to rub off on you. But if you started the day happy and positive, it’ll take a lot more to get you down. It’s all about expectations. Set your expectations high, and you won’t have to look too hard to spot the good when it comes your way.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved