"You cannot lick your elbow."Inside the card, after the greeting ("Happy Birthday!" or "Happy Acquittal Day!" or "Happy Molar Extraction Day!" or the like), was the admonition: "Now stop trying to lick your elbow."
My daughter found the card hilarious. Contrary to the card's parting words of advice, she spent the rest of the day contorting her arm and sticking out her tongue with single-minded determination.
We told her that she looked ridiculous.
She did not care.
We mocked her.
She ignored us.
We informed her that there was no earthly reason for a person to profit from licking her elbow.
We explained the laws of physics, anatomy, and biological design.
She rolled her eyes in disgust as only a nine-year old can, giving me a chilling glimpse into the attitude I will have to deal with in five years' time. Then she put her tongue back into her mouth, dropped her arm to her side, picked up a book, and resumed her normal routine.
Weeks passed. Then, the other night at the dinner table, through a mouthful of blackberry pie, she calmly stated: "You know how they say you can't lick your elbow? Well, they're wrong. You can."
We reminded her that such a feat was impossible.
She proceeded to wrap her arm around her neck and licked her elbow!
We fell on the floor laughing, then had her do it again. And again.
Did she look ridiculous?
What does her accomplishment get her?
You see: she now knows that when someone tells her a thing cannot be done -- when someone makes fun of her, mocks her efforts, tells her that there is no way to profit from it, and offers the laws of the known universe as proof for why something is impossible -- that someone may be wrong.
How do you do the impossible? Thanks to my daughter's example, I now know that it's simple:
1.) Ignore the naysayers. They don't share your passion or your vision.
2.) Refuse to accept What Has Been Done as the definitive answer for What Can Be Done.
3.) Don't allow the mockery, taunting, apathy, or derision of others to dissuade you.
4.) Actively look for creative solutions.
5.) Do not consider current failure as a permanent condition.
Ever been told that what you're trying to do is impossible? Imagine... just imagine... the looks on their faces when you prove 'em wrong!