“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
Spencer West was born with a disease in his legs that resulted in both his legs being amputated just below the pelvis. His parents were told Spencer would never sit up by himself or be a contributing member of society.
Over his life, Spencer was told a lot of “wouldn’ts”, “couldn’ts”, and “not possibles”. Fortunately, neither Spencer, nor his parents, paid attention to the limitations other people put on Spencer. They approached life from a place of discovering for themselves what Spencer could do.
In June 2012, Spencer West, together with his two best friends, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa. Spencer did over 80% of the climb on his hands. (Let’s face it, there are lots of people with legs who never climb to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro.)
Part of Spencer’s gift and drive is that he didn’t listen to other people’s perception of limitations or disabilities. He believes disabled doesn’t mean unable.
Successful people often live by their own rules. They decide for themselves what set of “wills”, “cans,” and “possibles” they are going to follow. This is true if we are talking about great feats such as Spencer climbing Kilimanjaro, or Bill Gates putting a computer in every home, or Nelson Mandela creating social change in South Africa. All three of these people redefined what was possible, not just for themselves, but for EVERYONE.
I admit, Spencer is someone I have come to admire a great deal. On my rough days, the ones where I’m whining because I’m tired, I work too hard, and I don’t want to get out of bed, I think of what Spencer would have been going through with each step on his hands as he climbed “Kili”. I say something like, “OK, girl. If Spencer can climb Kili, you can get out of bed today.”
Just because we don’t know how to do something, does not mean the thing is impossible. We often have to keep going around things differently until we find the way through.
This week’s success tip is: Let go of your current ideas about limitations (yours, others, your goals or dreams). Like Spencer, ask yourself the question “How can I make this possible?” Create your own personal “cans”, “wills” and “ables” to live by. This week, Redefine Possible in your own life!
- Think about all the places where you have ideas about what is possible for yourself or others.
- Make a list of your own “can’ts”, “won’ts”, and “not possibles”.
- Let go of perceived limitations (yours or others).
- Ask yourself, “how can I redefine possible” in this situation?
- How can you redefine possible for those around you as well?
- At the end of the week, use the weekly review process outlined in the About tab to review your progress.
You can learn more about Spencer West at http://www.metowe.com/speakers-bureau/view-all-speakers/spencer-west/ or follow him on both Facebook and Twitter. A search will also bring up a large number of amazing Youtube videos!