I’m going to ask a question that seems silly on the surface, but it’ll help prove the point of today’s message.
Here it is — What makes money real?
It’s tangible. We can hold it. We trade it for goods and services. It’s “backed” by the government. Everyone agrees on its value making the economy seemingly real.
In literal terms, however, the value of money is completely imaginary.
If for some reason, hordes of people began to stop believing in the value of money, the economy as we know it would come to a halt.
The same thinking applies to laws. They’re enforced. The government believes in them. Most of us follow them. But laws are nothing more than made up agreements on what’s right and wrong the people more or less agree to.
Laws, money, cultural norms, and many other things we believe are real are nothing more than “imagined orders.”
Yuval Noah Harari coined this term in the book Sapiens — a Brief History of Human Kind. The book discusses the idea that the advancement of the human race came from our ability to make things up and agree to their validity.
This is how there can be a Christian church in Boise, Idaho and in distant countries like Lebanon. It’s how someone in Switzerland can do business with someone in South Africa.
Shared beliefs tie us together. Not just because of our agreement, but because of our belief in our beliefs being part of some natural order or definitive reality.
Let’s put aside religion as I don’t want to get touchy, but when looking at something like money or laws, we believe in them as if they’re scientific laws that are etched in stone when they’re not.
Again, let’s hammer this point home — most of the things we define as real are, in fact, completely imaginary.
I bet you’re wondering why I’m bringing all of this up…
I’m bringing it up because…
One reason why you may not be achieving what you want to achieve in life is that your definitions of “real” and “possible” are much too rigid. It’s time to loosen them up. @Ayothewriter (Click to Tweet!)
The Power of Belief
This example gets used a lot, but it’s so powerful and illustrative.
You’ve heard the story before. At one point in time, the idea of a person running the four-minute mile was at best ludicrous and many believed it to be impossible.
Enter Roger Bannister. Bannister broke the four-minute mile mark and soon after that…tons of other runners did too. Today, there are high school athletes who run sub-four-minute miles.
After Bannister broke the mark, the legs of other runners didn’t magically get stronger. There wasn’t a sudden shift in their genetic makeup. No, all it took was the belief it was possible.
Once one brave soul sought to crack a hole in reality, others gladly ran through it.
When looking at your life, consider what limitations you’re putting on what’s possible.
Do the Impossible
What’s something you think is impossible for you?
Maybe it’s something like earning one million dollars. Sure, you know it’s technically possible, but remember our beliefs about what is and isn’t possible or is and isn’t real get hammered into our brain so deeply we actually take it as fact.
The easiest way to take an impossible task and make it appear possible is to break it down to its simplest components.
To make one million dollars in a year, you’d need to make $2,739.73 per day.
To make $2,739.73 per day, you’d need to make $114.16 per hour.
With something like an online business that shares a product across the globe, it could sell 24 hours per day.
Is it in the realm of reality to have a $60 product you sell 2 of per hour around the clock? If you have a website and build up some traffic for it, sure.
Two $60 products per hour seems a lot more doable than $1,000,000 a year, doesn’t it?
It’s all about the way you analyze and think about your reality.
I’m not a millionaire, by the way, but I’ve realized making money online isn’t as difficult as it appears when you break it down and the million dollars example is fitting.
When you think of a task that looks “impossible” pause and use these filters to get to the truth.
Is it really impossible or just difficult?
Is it in the realm of reality for someone with your level of intelligence to pull this off? The answer is yes.
Break down the components of what’s needed
Another example. You have no degree and no money to go back to school, but you want to get a better paying job. The job says it “requires a four-year degree and three–five years of experience.”
Most people look at that as iron-clad but I personally know people who’ve gotten around it. The employer uses those requirements because they need a credible candidate.
There are other ways to prove you’re credible. If you took free online computer programming classes, became a whiz, built a stellar website to use as an example, wrote a document detailing how you’d improve the technical processes of their company over the next six months, and submitted it to that same employer “requiring experience,” you could easily get the job.
Take the first step
Any personal development idea or message leads back to the beginning. You have to start. As Nelson Mandela said, “It always looks impossible until it’s done.”
I want you to do me a favor. Comment on this message with some “aha” moments you had about things you define as real or impossible that you now realize are probably imaginary.
Ayodeji Awosika is a personal development blogger and the author of You 2.0. His goal is to help as many people as possible find the freedom to do exactly what they want in life. Find more of his work at ayotheauthor.com.
Image courtesy of Jeremy Bishop.