“If you embrace possibility thinking, your dreams will go from molehill to mountain size, and because you believe in possibilities, you put yourself in a position to achieve them.” – John C Maxwell
Can you play the piano? A simple enough question, and the answer is even simpler. For most of us we would answer yes or no, or perhaps we would give an answer to indicate that we have tried, aren’t very good, or some such response.
I recently heard a story about someone who, when asked the question, answered “I don’t know.”
“How can you not know whether you can play the piano or not?” countered the interviewer.
To this he replied “Because I haven’t tried it before.”
Consider the scenario of setting a goal for next year. Whether it’s a personal or business goal, the process often looks like this: We look at where we are, and what we have achieved, we make some “reasonable” assumptions about the future, maybe do a SWOT analysis, and then we extrapolate from there, and x marks the spot where our goal is. The question we subconsciously ask here is “What can I achieve with what I’ve got?” And this is the predominant thinking of society. We make SMART goals, which are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. But it has an underlying assumption which we will get to shortly.
Then there is the much less familiar thinking style – the style remarkable people will typically employ. They look at a goal, a DUMB goal (Destiny-driven, Uplifting, Method-friendly and Behaviour-focussed), like putting someone on the moon, or Mars, or uplifting the millions of poor in Calcutta, or building a flying machine, or starting a business. They have no idea how to make it happen, but their “why” is strong enough that they pursue it anyway, and as they go along, they keep focussed, and the subconscious question they are always asking is “How can I get what I need to achieve this?” They don’t know how long it will take, how much it will cost, what is needed even, but they do it anyway. This is the “do or die”, “all in” and “failure is not an option” approach.
The fundamental assumption in the first thinking style is limiting ourselves to what we already know how to do. It fails to recognize that we will learn things as we go along. The second thinking style recognizes that, just because we don’t know how to do something today, doesn’t mean we won’t be able to do it tomorrow. This is the possibility thinking associated with the person who doesn’t know whether they can play the piano or not.
Not convinced? Then think of this. Richard Branson wrote a book called “Screw it, let’s do it.” Does that sound like he knew all the steps? Jack Welsh wrote a book called “From the Gut”. Not exactly scientific. JFK committed a nation to putting a man on the moon and returning him safely back to earth in less than 10 years. In a speech given soon after that he details exactly how little is known about how to achieve that. But he does it anyway.
Do you think possibility, or do you think fall-back?
So I’ll ask you again: Can you play the piano?