Reading this quote out loud gives me the chills, an adrenaline rush, a surge of confidence. Simply put, you and only you have control over what you can and cannot do. Letting others dictate the path of your life can be extremely frustrating and not to mention dull. Defy all expectations, throw away the anchor, and live to the extremes. Don’t let anyone tell you that your goals are impossible. Impossible is only a state of mind. And it is certainly not a state of mind that effective person has.There’s another reason that quote gives me the chills though: It brings back a memory. About two months ago, at a local track meet, I was warming up for my race. The previous evening I had told my family that I had my sights set on beating this girl from another team, we’ll call her Sarah, who was consistently faster than me. Upon hearing my goal, my brother laughed and said, “you can’t do that!” Soon, the conversation was dropped, but his words still resonated in my mind during my warm-up. Those words could have broken me down and made me give up my goal. But I refused to let my family’s opinion hold me back. It’s a tradition among the team to write inspirational sayings on our arms before each race and this time, in light of my situation, I chose: “And you will tell them YES.” When my race rolled around, I looked at Sarah, smiled and wished her luck. Then, the gun went off and I did not see her until I crossed the finish line and turned to watch her cross behind me. Looking back on that race, my legs were physically done two laps from the end. As a runner I am accustomed to running pain but this race was pushed hard, faster, and more painful than I had ever experienced. The whole time, my mind screamed "yes, yes yes." I just wouldn’t let myself quit because of my goal. I wanted it too badly to quit. That day, I stopped letting the opinion of others rule my life. The lesson I learned now serves as a template for how I live the rest of my life. Sure, people may think I’m crazy for attempting the “impossible” feat: changing the world. But now, whenever someone says, “you can’t do that.” I think back to when I beat the unbeatable and say, “Watch me.”
The moral of the story is that you cannot let others impose limits on you. But what about imposing limits on yourself? A habit of most highly-ineffective people is that they not just allow others to impose limits on them, but they also self-impose their own limits. They claim that there is not enough time, money, resources, education, they’re too young, the list goes on. Their ideas may be change however, if they heard about William Kamkwamba, or better known as ‘The Boy who harnessed the Wind.’
William of Malawi was 14-years old when he was expelled from school because his family did not have enough money to pay his tuition. He decided to continue his education using old books from the local library. One day, he read about windmills and seeing as his family did not have electricity, he decided to build one using materials from the dump. It took about three months to build the first windmill, but it proved to be worth it. The mill powered four light bulbs and two radios! Afterwards, he built a windmill for his whole town to use and even wrote a book about his experiences. Click Here to learn more about William.
If William, a 14-yearold African boy with no education or money, can change his whole life with a simple goal and his own motivation, what’s stopping you? Chances are you have more than he did. What’s stopping you from going out into the world today and doing something beautiful? Something inspirational? Something life-changing, or even world-changing? Don’t sell yourself short. You can accomplish more than you think with a simple goal and some motivation, just like William.
So let go of that nagging excuse in the back of your mind that says you can’t do something big. That voice in your head doesn’t yet know your potential. You can do the things that your friends think impossible. You can do the things you used to think impossible. All you have to do is let go of the limits.