Monthly Archives: February 2011
The 7 tools that will help you to turn the impossible to possible
What do you want to achieve in your life that looks impossible?
What weakness do you have that you would like to overcome?
How can you adjust your perspective so that you make the impossible possible?
In order to demonstrate the use of the 7 tools at the end of this article, I’ll tell you a short story:
Back in my elementary school days in Israel, my grades could average straight A if it wasn’t for my Achilles Heel – spelling. As a dyslectic kid, I wasn’t much of a spelling bee. Then in high school two new Achilles Heels were born: Hebrew Literature and English. I averaged C- on both on a good day. If you gave me a question about a train which leaves Chicago at noon at a speed of 57 mph, and another train leaving NY at one PM, at speed of 62.5 mph, I’d be happy to calculate for you when they are going meet. But writing an essay or reading a book? That was a totally different story.
Could you imagine a dyslectic, non-native English speaker writing a book in English?
A few years ago, I wrote an inspirational fiction in Hebrew. It wasn’t easy, but the message in the book was too important. My book was published, the readers loved it and I received touching reviews from people who were inspired by the book. Soon after, my American friends started to ask me: “Why don’t you write in English?” In response I smiled and didn’t say anything. Couldn’t they understand that there are some things that are just too difficult? Could they write a book in Spanish?
Then one cold afternoon, my neighbor Beth asked me again, “So, why aren’t you writing in English?”
“Because I can’t,” I answered without even thinking.
She kind of believed me, but I didn’t believe myself. I know a Lens Belief when I see one. A Lens Belief is an idea you hold about something in your life. You aren’t aware of this idea, but everything you do is under the assumption that this idea is absolutely true. I call it lens, since it works exactly like the lens of eyeglasses. When I put my eyeglasses on, the world looks different than when I take them off. However when I look with them, I don’t see the lenses. I just see the world through the lenses. The very same thing happens with Lens Beliefs, you see the world through them, they change your view, but you aren’t aware of them. Many of these Lens Ideas are sabotaging your efforts to achieve your goals. Think about it, I believed that I can’t write well enough in English, so I never even tried.
The minute I realized that I hold this Lens Belief, I decided to stop believing in it. I took off the Lens. I went home and translated one chapter of my Hebrew book to English. I met Beth again a few days later and proudly handed her the translation. She spent five minutes reading it and then announced: “You were right. You can’t write in English.”
I got a proof that my old Lens Belief, “I can’t write in English” was actually real, right?
Wrong! If I’d still hold this belief, this would be a proof. But since I no longer hold this belief, it was just… another opinion.
A few days later, Jackie gave me a call. “Whatsup Joey? We didn’t talk for a while,” she said. Jackie is an American friend that lived at the time in China. She happened to be in NYC for a short vacation that week.
“Do you remember the book I wrote in Hebrew?” I asked. “I’m translating it to English.”
“That’s awesome. Can you please email it to me? I’d love to read it.”
“Sure,” I said. “By the way, do you want to meet?”
We set to meet the next day in a coffee shop. When I arrived, I saw her writing on a paper with a red pen. “Are you working on your vacation?” I asked smiling.
“Nope. I printed your story, there are some grammar issues, so I’m correcting them for you,” she replied. “I left in your ‘writing accent’ though, it’s kind of refreshing.”
How come I didn’t think about it? In order to write in English, I don’t need to have perfect English. All I need is a good enough English to be understood, and a good editor. So many times in the past I gave up on my dreams just because I wasn’t perfect, instead of doing my best, and then reaching for help in order to improve.
In the mean time, Beth still kept my old Lens Belief. She sent me a link to a Meetup group of Hebrew writers in my area. I registered to that group. It was kind of funny, since this group had no activity for many months to come. However, since Meetup recognized me as a writer, I got an email inviting me to join a new group of English writers, who was just starting. I joined the group and sent them the chapter that I translated. It was of course the version with the grammar corrections based on Jackie’s comments. The group gave me more comments and I had another round of rewriting.
Jackie went back to China, and I found out that it was pretty easy to find more good friends that would help me with the grammar editing. Two months after the day I told Beth “I can’t write in English,” I had five chapters translated to English, and they were better than the original in Hebrew, thanks to all the great comments I got from the writing group. Eighteen months later and the English version of the book is on amazon (click to see the reviews) . If you told me that this is possible 18 months ago, I would laugh at you.
So how did I do that?
Here are 7 tools to make the impossible possible:
1. Watch out for those lenses! Behind any “I can’t” there’s at least one Lens Belief that you hold and stops you from achieving your goals. It may look as real as mine – “I can’t write in English,” but it’s never real. I have so many examples like: “I can’t touch my toes with straight legs,” “I can’t dance,” and “I’m too short to play basketball.” All proved to be wrong. The secret is to realize that it’s a Lens Belief and it’s not real.
2. Take off the Lens. Once you realized that you have a Lens Belief, just take it off. You don’t need to continue holding your limiting beliefs. You can replace them with “I can” ones. How do you do that? Sounds impossible? Don’t worry; I still have 5 more tools for you. At this point just tell yourself: “Yes, I can do it!” By the way, I hold the belief about not being able to touch my toes for over 30 years and my body was the proof for that. Today I’m one of the most flexible guys in my Yoga class. More than the body stretching, it was taking of the Lens who helped me achieving that.
3. Sorry, can’t hear you. When people tell you that you can’t do something, label it as: a different opinion. What they say is right from their perspective, but not from yours. If you ask Beth today, she might still insist that I can’t write in English, but if you ask my editor, she would say: “That’s a different perspective. A funny one I must say.”
4. Don’t try it. As my friends at Nike like to say: “Just do it!” I didn’t try to translate my book, as I told Jackie on the phone: “I’m translating it.” The difference between trying and doing is: When I try, I don’t believe that I can really make it, this is another sabotaging Lens. But when I know I can do it, I just do. I tried to do Forearm Stand in my Yoga classes for a few months. My Yoga trainer still calls me: “The guy who crashed 1000 times.” One day I changed my set of mind. I didn’t try anymore, I just did it. That was the first time I succeeded. It lasted 5 seconds, but it was amazing feeling. It was another impossible that was transformed into possible. These days, I can do it for as long as I want to. The combination of believing and practicing is priceless.
5. Don’t be perfect! Be willing to create not-perfect results. If I’d wait until my English was perfect, I’d still be waiting. I did the best I could which was far away from perfect. It was good enough to get me going. These days, my English writing is better, but still not perfect. I’m still, as always, just doing my best.
6. Thanks for Sharing! Share with people what you do. Don’t be shy. You might get help and new ideas from unexpected sources. So many times I just shared the story about my writing with friends and strangers, and they offered me their help. I didn’t have to know how they can help me. They just told me. Who could have guessed that Jackie was an English major in college?
7. You aren’t the best. No matter how good you’re in what you do, there’re always people around you that are better in some areas. Again, don’t be shy, let them help you. In the process of publishing my book I used the help of more than 100 different people. They had different skills. Some were willing to help more than others. Some got paid. They all left their mark on my work.
There is no greater feeling than doing the impossible. If you use these 7 tools I’m sure you can do it.
What impossible do you want to make possible?
Write it down as a comment to this article and you just did step #5. I’d love to hear your goals and your success stories.
Do you have friends that could use these tools? Be a good friend and share it with them. And don’t forget to come visit again soon for more tips on how to make your life better.
To get more tips and read about my book One-Legged Seagull, A Warrior’s Journey to Inner peace visit my web site.