Can’t or Won’t?

Some things just “can’t” be done, right?

Up until 1954, the top scientists and athletes agreed that running a mile in under four minutes was physically impossible. Never been done in all of history. That is, until Roger Bannister did it on May 6 and shattered this preconceived notion. Just 46 days later, another runner broke the four-minute mark and from then on, times continued to decrease.

With a fresh year ahead of you, you’re probably reflecting on the things you want to do. It may be to fit into that new pair of jeans. Or perhaps you have bigger goals: to drive social change, launch a business, or heal the sick.

Throughout the journey, you’ll be met with challenges that will test your resolve. You’ll be dealt that inevitable setback, making it easy to play the victim card. When you say something “can’t” be done, you are relinquishing your power. It is the world’s fault that a goal wasn’t met, not yours. It may be easier to rationalize in that moment, but in doing so you end up settling instead of achieving.

Often the difference-maker for high achievers is that they are willing to do what others won’t, not what others can’t. They own their outcomes, and take personal responsibility for seeing it through rather than playing the blame-game. Tough spots don’t have to indicate game-over status. Also-rans may crumble, but champions never waiver.

What if Martin Luther King Jr accepted that racial equality was impossible and not worth pursuing? What if Google felt that cataloging the world’s information couldn’t be done? The minute we stop pushing the limits as a society, civilization crumbles. And the same applies to you.

The next time you’re faced with an obstacle, stop focusing on all the reasons you can’t conquer it. Instead, pivot your thinking to “What steps need to happen – even if they are difficult – in order to see this through?”

If you are pursuing anything worth doing, they heat is likely to get really hot. Before you forfeit your dreams, perform a careful examination to see if you are really in a “can’t” dead-end or just a “won’t” situation. Turns out that 90% of the things we think are impossible just require some extra grit and determination to make them a reality. Bottom line: mojo is the antidote for adversity.

2012 is your time. Your time to shatter conventional wisdom. Your time to do the never-been-done-before. Your time to crush the impossible. Your time to make a difference.