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“Consult not your fears but your hopes and dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what is still possible for you to do.” – Pope John XXIII.
Follow my lead
Trust me, this is one story I don’t like to rehash. It hurts to think about it. But, it is nothing short of inspirational. My team, the Golden State Warriors were up 3-1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the best of seven NBA finals in 2016. No team had ever come back from such a deficit to win a championship. Statistically, my team was all but guaranteed the title. Then it happened. The Cavaliers won the next three games and did what history said was impossible. After picking my jaw off the floor I wondered, how did this happen?
Before game 5, Lebron James sent a text message to the entire team:
“No matter how we got to this point we are here now…we have to go to
Golden State for Game 5 and we have to come home anyway. So why
not come home and play a Game 6… Let it go, play hard, be focused,
follow my lead, and I’ll make sure you get home for a Game 6.”
He used his words to show his team what was possible in light of what had been predicted. History had predicted that no one had ever done it. Lebron exemplified what Peter Drucker said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
Today’s post will highlight three main thoughts to help us see how what’s possible can become a reality in the second half of the year, despite the history and statistics we may be up against:
1. What is possible takes shape when the initiative is taken
Just like Lebron James started with putting his teammates in a possibility frame of mind, we can only make real what was once possible by framing our mind correctly.
Running is my exercise of choice. Prior to a run, I look ahead with a possibility mindset. I think of the possible routes I can take, how far I can run, and even what I might see along the way. But this mindset only becomes reality once I start running. Similarly, without any action from Lebron James and his team, his message would have remained in the realm of possibility (you have no idea how much it hurts to talk about what Cleveland did to Golden State.)
What do you need to start to make what is possible a reality? Initiate some action. Maybe you need to start going to the gym or walk more for exercise. It could be starting that class you have been putting off or picking up that instrument that you keep saying you want to learn. Maybe it is applying for a job that you always think about but have never applied for. Or it could be launching the business you always talk about. Perhaps you can start giving part of your monthly income to a cause you believe in. It could also be as local as initiating an apology to see a relationship change for the better. Remember, the possibilities are endless but it’s initiative that unlocks your potential.
2. What is possible is fueled by your potential
At the intersection of problems and possibilities is potential. Problems often become the portal through which what is possible is realized This discovery is usually out of reach because we are largely focused on problem avoidance. If we choose to accept problems as a challenge instead of a threat we can tap into our potential.
Knowing the statistics, Lebron and team could have seen their predicament as a threat. But once the problem was accepted as a challenge their potential to win the series became a possibility and eventually a reality.
Despite the odds, will you accept the challenge of the problem and tap into your potential to see what could be possible for the second half of your year? Could it be that the problem is present for the possibility of growth to occur? Your mind will be freed from fear and anxiety as your imagination begins to see progress is possible.
3. What is possible must be viewed in your imagination first
Lebron always had the picture of bringing a championship to Cleveland in his mind. It was why he came “home” after four years and winning two championships with the Miami Heat.
He envisioned what was possible. His message to his team was an expression of that picture. Theologian Warren Wiersbe remarked, “If we see only the problems, we will be defeated; but if we see the possibilities in the problems, we can have victory.”
Too often we underutilize the fertile ground of our imagination. Constrained by tight-fisted schedules, bogged down by statistics and analytics, and mired in activities in futility, we have forgotten to harness the power of imagination for our progress. Our 3-year-old daughter has reintroduced me to the power of imagination. Watching her play with toys and creating characters and conversations has reminded me that imagination is the laboratory of creativity.
My wife Caroline and I have been attending tours in search of a school to enroll our daughter During one of the tours, I asked myself, “Will her imagination expand or get extinguished in school?” It reminded me of this insight by Sir Ken Robinson who has the most viewed TED Talk (over 50 million views), “Children are wonderfully confident in their own imaginations. We lose this confidence as we grow up.” One tour offered a glimmer of hope. The school set up classes around personalized learning by first discovering a child’s natural interests. My hope is that our daughter never loses her create, but rather, enhances it.
How can we better harness our imagination to become aquifers of creativity and originality? For me, reading has fanned the flame of my imagination over and over again. Each time I read, I put myself in the mind of the author. As Sir Robinson puts it, I “…see with their eyes and feel with their hearts.” What stirs your imagination?
Albert Einstein once said, “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” And it took Lebron James and the Cavaliers to a memorable victory and a reminder that the past is not the defining factor of the future. It’s taking action based on what you believe is possible. Whatever myths may surround imagination, here is the reality: It is God-given. How we use it is in our hands. Are you making use of your imagination?
Final thought: We can choose to wallow in what could have been, or shift our attention to what can still be. It’s time to escape the what-ifs of the past and look to what is still possible for the future. Don’t get stuck looking at the rear view mirror while you have the windshield in front of you. Where you are going is greater than where you came from! The second half awaits and the possibilities are endless.
Keep on keeping on!