MAKING THE IMPOSSIBLE IS POSSIBLE.
“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.” Seneca.
History is written everyday in front of us by people who think differentlty and believe the impossible is really possible. Time and time again, when we look at history critically, people who have produced phenomenal results are those who set goals that everybody else thought were crazy, unrealistic, unattainable and even beyond reach.
But here is the truth. Come to think of it this way. If some 25 years ago someone told you that almost everybody will be walking around with a small electronic device, the size of a credit card, would you have believed that person? No. You would have labelled him an unrealistic person, a dreamer and probably a ‘fool’. But here you are with the cellular phone, popularly called mobile phone. You can use it to play music, take and send pictures, communicate with computers all over the world, send and receive mail via the internet, the information super highway etc. What has happened? Why is it now a reality? All that it took to achieve such a feat is for somebody to think of the impossible as a possibility, a reality. Mind you, the mobile phone might have thought of some years ago as impossibility. But what do we see today? It has been ‘cheapened’. It has become a common household item.
Before 1903, who ever thought that there could ever be a flying machine? Who then could believe the Wright brothers (Wilbur and Orville) were being realistic when they set out to build a flying machine? The fact of the matter is that, they were just bicycle repairers. They were not scientists. Neither were they aviation experts. And that was at a time when it was believed that it was physically impossible for any machine heavier than air to fly. But what the brothers believed was not impossibility but rather a possibility. A “can-do attitude.” That is why Jim Goodwin said “the impossible is often the untried”. They therefore dared the impossible and made it a reality. They changed their mind from the conventional way of thinking: ‘it can’t be done, who has done it before?’ to a new way of thinking: ‘we can do it. We will be the first person to do it.’ The former statements are defeatist statements that do not produce any result. But what the Wright Brothers did is that they created the mental picture of a flying machine. They saw it being possible in their mind’s eyes. You know! Things are created twice in this life. First in the mind as thoughts and ideas, and secondly in the physical, as real tangible products. The Wright Brothers believed it. Lo and behold! By setting themselves up to the task and devising ways and means and by adopting new mental strategies, they finally invented the first ever flying machine, the aeroplane. Though the machine flew for only few seconds and came down and crashed, it was a great success by all standards. They beat the odds and set the tone for the aviation industry. Their efforts yielded results, yeah, positive results. Today, Wilbur and Orville’s names are indelibly written in the annals of History as the inventors of the first-ever flying machine. Every school boy or girl in America and the world over knows about the Wright Brothers. What a challenge to young men and women today to dare the impossible!
Today the world can boast of aeroplanes of various sizes, shapes and speed. What a marvel! What a revolution! The Wright brothers revolutionised the transportation industry especially air transport. Today who knows, perhaps we will still be using horse- drawn carts or the slow locomotives, ships and boats to travel to other places of the world. But thanks to the Wright brothers. Today the world can boast of supersonic jets, jumbo jets of over 500 tonnes of weight carrying over 300 passengers and crew flying at altitudes beyond eye’s view. That is the wonder of thinking possibility rather than impossibility. Today Wilbur and Orville have their own names in the annals of the aviation industry. Somebody said, ”The greatest danger is not that our aim to high and we miss it but because our aim is too low and we reach it.” Please think big. Think possibility.
On 25th May 1961, J.F. Kennedy the then president of America, addressing Congress, challenged the American scientists to try to send a man to the moon before the end of the decade. People thought it was impossible to send man into outer space, let alone to the moon. But the challenge kept coming from the president to the American people, especially to the scientists. There and then, they decided to take up the challenge from the president. The work then started. They started thinking up. The scientists went to the drawing boards. The calculations and the computations of distances between the earth and the moon. Mathematical formulae, you name them. Nothing can stop a determined and a challenged mind.
Then came the trial moments. They started sending satellites into space. This, when proven successful was followed by unmanned spacecraft. Later on these spacecrafts were carrying animals such as dogs. All this in the name of experiment and testing.
Then one day, yes, one fateful day when another chapter in the history of the world was about to be opened, three daring men, who were about to embark on a ‘mission impossible’ boarded Apollo 11, the spacecraft designed to take the first men to the moon. Lo and behold, the Apollo 11 took off from NASA launching platform called Pad 39. I really love these men who were about to have their names written in the annals of History for ever and ever.
Finally, Apollo 11 was in motion into space to the new land about to be discovered, our moon. After four days of successful space journey, there they are near the unknown celestial body. Adventure or Mission? No. Discovery. A new page in the History of the world is about to be written. A milestone to be reached. What was to follow was going to transform and revolutionise the whole wide world and change the thinking patterns and processes of the entire humankind. I believe at this time that great fear gripped all the astronauts onboard Apollo 11.Then they started encircling the moon since then unknown to human mind in details. Who will take the first step out there and have his name indelibly written in History books. Then one of them, Neil Armstrong mustered courage and taking the giant step of faith jumped out of the spacecraft still in motion, and guided himself towards the new land, the powder-fine grey dust that no man ever stepped on. I can’t just imagine the state of mind of the man about to set a world record and have his name boldly written in GOLD in all the history books in the world. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong gallantly stepped his foot on the surface of the moon and shouted to the entire world the following eternal and golden words: ”That’s one small step for man , but a giant leap for mankind.” There you are, impossibility becoming possibility. Man has finally reached the moon, which was thought to be impossible, unrealistic, unattainable and beyond reach some years ago. What a great achievement! What a human feat! History is written again by daring minds who never believed the word impossibility. What started in the mind of J.F. Kennedy has now seen the light of day, man on the moon. Today countries are fighting for space on the moon. People are going on excursion and playing golf on the moon. Research stations and other gigantic constructional works are ongoing on the moon. Who could have thought about this before 1969? Nobody except one, J.F. Kennedy. This is really wonder of wonders.
What you can conceive today is still possible in this generation. It happened before; it can still happen today. That’s about people. What about nations and states? Let me just share something brief with you here about a country I love so much. It is the story s Singapore.
Do you know that Singapore moved itself form a third-world country to a first-world country just in less than three decades? This was possible through the instrumentality of one man by name Lee Kuan Yew. He thought it to be possible that a country can become developed just within a generation. That man was credited by all Singaporeans to be the architect of Singapore’s national and economic development.
After independence in 1965, the country had to face myriad of problems. With a small population of about 2 million people and no natural resources, this small island which was described by a journalist at independence as a “malarial state,” had to take its destiny into its own hands. But there is one more problem, the human resource problem. Most of the population was uneducated and made up of a lot of illiterate immigrants from China and India. As if to make things worse for the newly independent state, about 70% of the economy which was dependent on Britain was going to be suspended since the British were pulling out of the island. What do you think could be going through the minds of the leaders at that time. Impossibility of development in the near future. It is also true that the island had no natural resources: no tin, no gold, no crude oil, not even enough water to give potable water to the population. But do you know something? No. I will tell you.
The leaders, through the instrumentality of Lee Kuan Yew set big and ambitious goals which seemed unrealistic to the ordinary men. No wonder, the country achieved phenomenal transformation over the years. Rising from a poor third-world country to a first-world country with a wonderful economic power and a per capita income in the range of $ 30,000.00 is no mean achievement. Today Singapore is mentioned among the world’s top ranking economies alongside USA, France, Germany, Canada and other Scandinavian countries. This feat was achieved in less than 25 years. What a great challenge to other developing countries, particularly Ghana, to desist from small thinking and incremental goals and start thinking big and thinking about possibilities. Our African leaders should start thinking big and making big plans for their countries .This is what can turn impossibilities into possibilities. The challenge is still the same today. Somebody rightly said “The impossible is often the untried.” As if to paraphrase Napoleon Hill who said whatever the mind can conceive, if the heart can believe it, then the hands can achieve it. Therefore, let us think possibility instead of impossibility. For therein lies the magic.
Finally, I would like to make a passionate appeal to all Ghanaians and Africans in general. We can make it happen in our lifetime, just in one generation, our generation. It is possible. All that we need to do is to start dreaming big and thinking possibility. We must also change our mindset about a lot of things and issues which have become conventional, the status quo. We must therefore embrace the ‘can-do’ attitude. Even the Good old Book said it right that all things are possible to him that believes (Mark 6:13). It is only through this we can make this country a haven and a real home for our children and our children’s children. Yes, indeed, we can make the IMPOSSIBLE IS POSSIBLE.