Our focus on impossibility

And all the reasons it won’t work!

Why are so many people focused on impossibility? Why things won’t work. We talk about these amazing ideas and dreams then counter it with a myriad of reasons why it won’t work, why we shouldn’t do it and why we should just be grateful for what we have.

It’s one of the many challenges leaders must deal with on a day to day basis in the workplace. Either it’s staff who aren’t open to pushing themselves and realising true potential or teams who don’t want to adopt a new change, even when it will make their lives and jobs easier.

Rather than looking for what’s possible, we’re constantly gravitating to all the reasons of why it’s not.

It got me wondering why…how is it that impossibility comes more naturally than possibility to so many of us?

And what I’ve started to notice is that our every-day vocabulary is laced with statements of impossibility. Here are some I’ve observed…

“Don’t get your hopes up”
“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch”
“You can’t have your cake and eat it too”
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves”
“You can’t have it all”
“With all great things come sacrifices”
“Don’t get your ambitions mixed up with your capabilities”
“Don’t get your hopes up”
“Never outshine your master”
“You need to crawl before you can walk”
“Where there’s smoke there’s fire”
“Your eyes are bigger than your belly”
“Misery love company”
“It’s like a red flag for a bull”
“You’re just asking for trouble”
“It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt”
“Just be grateful for what you have”

And so one and so on…

And if these aren’t enough to stop you from focusing on possibility then go out and grab yourselves a Murphy’s Law poster, like the one read over and over on the back of the toilet door growing up! Murphy was an ‘optimist’ apparently and lived by the saying that…

“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”

Reading this poster no less than a thousand times was bound to have an impact on me. I found myself quoting them when I saw others getting too excited. I would say…

“No good deed goes unpunished”
“If you’re feeling good, don’t worry, you’ll get over it”
“Nature always sides with the hidden flaw”
“Everyone has a scheme for getting rich that doesn’t work”

I definitely had a closer relationship with impossibility as a result. But I will give it credit. It was Murphy’s Law that encouraged me not to take things too seriously and when mistakes were made it was always a good line to quote to make yourself feel better. My favourite was “the chance of a piece of bread falling buttered side down is directly proportionate to the cost of the carpet” – it still makes me smile.

But it’s the constant reminders we’re unconsciously telling ourselves that are preventing us from living to our full potential and personally I think it’s time to change!

Surely this is how we can make the workplace happier and more productive. Just one sentence at a time!

Need help looking for possibility? Give me a call!

Shelley Flett is a business and leadership trainer & coach who works with businesses to maximise efficiency and build high performance team cultures in organisations of any size.

If you’d like to know more about how she can work with you, and your team, drop her an email shelley@shelleyflett.com.

www.shelleyflett.com

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