'Unrealistic' is just another way of expressing refusal to accept that we don't yet understand how it's possible.
It doesn't matter how much you love what has passed. It doesn't matter how perfect this moment is or how much you want to hold on to it. It's gone. Everything that has been, is gone. Everything that will be, is gone. All that remains, for an impossibly brief and ever-fleeting moment, is now, empty, pure, full of potential, a pile of dry kindling awaiting a spark of inspiration.
There is no permanence in anything but change, but change, like fire, must be fed with the breath of life.
So accept each and every moment as a golden opportunity, a moment that you've been given, a chance to do anything you want, or, if you so choose, a chance to sit idly by, daydreaming about what has been or what could be, losing yourself, and that moment, in exchange for absolutely nothing, a dull lifeless stare at a dull, cold, and lifeless pile of kindling, sacrificing precious moment after precious moment, never to see them again, until one day you arrive at the end and look back, upon this frozen and unchangeable wasteland of unused potential, missed, neglected, lost.
So open your heart and open your mind. Breathe life into this moment. The future awaits your hand in its creation, right here, right now.
Look not backward with nostalgic sadness into the frozen sea of changelessness, but forward with blissful gratitude into the warm arms of unwritten possibility.
Three years ago I was commuting in bumper-to-bumper traffic when I saw a duck in the grass and felt jealous of its freedom. Yesterday my office was a cafe near the Sydney Opera House. Today I went off-roading in "the Australian bush", visited the largest deep space radio telescope in the southern hemisphere, and walked among wild kangaroos. Think outside the box. Release preconceived notions of reality. The heart can only stretch if the mind is willing to let go.
It is my hope that by the end of this essay you will look to the sky and see airplanes a bit differently than you do now. It is my hope that by the end of this essay you will hear the roaring hiss of a jet engine and look up with a new sense of admiration for who you are.
I’ve watched thousands of airplanes fly over me. I’ve flown in hundreds of them. I’ve watched the earth float by beneath me, studied how these machines work their magic, how humans build their wings, and how pilots master their controls. I’ve even been lucky enough to pilot one myself.
But when I hear one going by, no matter what I’m doing, I still stop and tilt my head to the sky with a childish sense of wonder and watch this mechanical work of art float past (a rather dangerous distraction when I’m driving; I’ve lost a hat this way).
On several occasions in the past few months I’ve found myself on the beach, gazing at the birds and watching as they glide across the ocean. Seconds later I’m presented with the opportunity to observe a similar bird, this time a manmade one, its shiny metal body and heavy engines pushing itself across the sky.
How are these manmade creatures of flight different from those found in nature? They’re both built for the same task: to fly, to temporarily defeat gravity and make use of an invisible force, to float through an invisible landscape.
The natural creature is certainly the more elegant and it’s far more attune with its surroundings. While it blends into the landscape and reacts to the flowing currents of air, its clumsy mechanical counterpart pummels through with sheer force, relying solely on the most basic and most fundamental principals to stay aloft.
One creature was created by nature, the other was created by us, a creation by a creation, a new species of flying creatures designed, engineered, and built entirely by humans. We saw birds flying through the air and we wanted to experience that flow, to obtain that mobility.
For thousands of years we tried manufacturing feathers. We tried making ourselves as light as possible. We tried jumping off cliffs and making contraptions that seemed to mimic the wings in nature.
Everything failed and many lives were lost, but we continued building, testing, risking, and experimenting.
As we began to understand the invisible landscape, we learned to combine visible shapes with invisible forces. We manufactured structures from whatever materials were available and even began inventing and shaping materials that didn’t exist naturally.
Elegance wasn’t nearly as important as function. What mattered was obtaining flight. And so we took to the skies in birds made of wood and metal, eventually refining our models and smoothing our designs.
When I look to the sky now and I see an airplane flying over me, what I see is an example of what it means to be human, that innate desire we all possess to recreate the things we hold with respect and admiration, that need to prove to ourselves and to others that nothing is beyond our ability.
We create because that’s who we are. We live our lives making choices and decisions based on hopes and dreams because we believe. We believe that even the remote possibility is entirely possible, that despite all the odds, the impossible is only two steps away from possible.
To create, to turn thought into action, to push and fight and struggle against all logical reason and bring life to visions and ideas, to shape hopes and dreams into tangible moments of reality and string them together one by one, to learn how to fly when we were born to walk, that is what it means to be human.
When meeting someone whose life you admire, it's so easy to compare yourself to everything they've accomplished. It's so easy to make yourself feel insignificant and unpolished. But their life is an example. They're not our competition but rather bright stars illuminating the night sky, evidence of a journey, proof that anything is possible.
Moments of meeting are moments of opportunity, bridges through the chasm of time that connect our souls and give us a chance to learn and inspire, to enrich and enliven, to exchange maps and magic words and open our hearts and minds to new wonders and new possibilities.
We're all going to the same place, but we're all getting there a different way. There is no 'right way' to get there. So when you're meeting those you respect, remember to respect you.
A caged bird unable to fly will go crazy and pluck its own feathers, leaving patches of skin naked and raw. Feather-plucking represents self-inflicted destruction in response to the stress of captivity and loneliness.
Like a captive bird, your dreams will commit ritual suicide if they're held hostage in a cage of reason and self-doubting routine. If held back from realizing their potential, your dreams will turn to cannibalism.
Don't let that happen. Lose yourself today. Free your wildest dreams from the cage that is your logical, must-be-serious subconscious. Give your dreams permission to leap into the abyss of potential. Give them permission to spread their wings and soar through the skies of possibility. Ask yourself, "What if?"
She smiled and asked in a somewhat sarcastic tone, "Do you live here or something?"
For her, dropping $250 in a single day was no big deal. For me, that's my whole budget for food, transportation, and lodging for an entire month.
Over the course of the past week, we had both spent several hours a day at the same cafe in the backpackers district of Kathmandu and on several occasions exchanged glances without speaking a word.
The free wifi and excellent coffee made the cafe a great place to use my laptop and for the past week it has been my home while I work during the day on my upcoming ebook, Small Ways to Make a Big Difference.
I returned the smile, simultaneously surprised and happy that my out-of-control facial hair -- which I refuse to cut until the end of my initial six-month journey -- had not scared away yet another person.
In bodybuilding, it is known that you should always work your weakest muscle first. If your biceps are weak but your triceps are strong, always working your triceps first will leave you little energy to work and build your biceps -- your biceps will remain weak.
Similarly, when advancing our knowledge and intelligence it would make most sense to concentrate on those things which we find most difficult -- doing so would insure we live to our highest potential and do not become highly limited in our abilities.
Believing we have limits, and doubting the possibility of that which we cannot even imagine, greatly limits the extent to what we can accomplish. After all, believing something is possible is the first step in making it a reality. Christopher Columbus sailed across the ocean, Thomas Edison created the light bulb, and the Wright Brothers successfully proved manned flight was possible, by having strong belief in their possibility.
As human beings, we not only have the unique ability to make conscious decisions, but to take something unbelievable and believe it is possible. This leads us to discovery, invention, learning, and the self-improvement. It is our belief that we know everything which prevents us from discovering and learning new things. It is said that there are so few things left to be invented now-a-days, but I believe it's the vast wealth of information available to us that is restricting our creative energies. We're constantly reminded of how much we already know and how much we, as a human race, have learned and discovered.
Martin Cooper invented the cell phone after watching some of the first episodes of Star Trek. He saw Captain Kirk communicate wirelessly using the communicator and said, "Why not? That should be reality!". The cell phones carried around today are even more advanced than the "science fiction" communicator used in Star Trek.
Believe in possibility.