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In The Phantom Tollbooth, author Norton Juster wrote … “So many things are possible just as long as you don’t know they’re impossible.” What message do you get from that?

This writing prompt starts off in a powerfully thought-provoking way. But then, in an effort to help us along, it takes a terrible turn. Do you think too many of life’s options are impossible for the average person? Is there something you would do if anything were possible? How would your life be different?

First, I’ve never read The Phantom Tollbooth so I’ve put it on my reading list. I have no idea what it is about, but I love that quote.

Second, we defeat ourselves and if that doesn’t work, we let others defeat us. Do you think too many of life’s options are impossible for the average person?  No, no I do not think any of life’s options are impossible for anyone. And I dislike lumping people into groups of ‘below average’, ‘average’ and ‘superior.’  That kind of thinking is defeatist and negative. It boxes people in and that, in turn, creates emotional and mental barriers where none should be.

I don’t believe in extraordinary people. Every person is extraordinary. Our environment, our upbringing, our friends and colleagues, our rung on the social ladder all work together to give us ideas about what we can accomplish. Then when someone accomplishes something incredible, something outside of their social or mental box, we imbue them with heroic qualities we feel we don’t have. Bullshit. We all have those qualities.

The only attribute that I find extraordinary is the ability to block out negative influences. People are afraid of what they don’t understand and so they fight to bring it under control, to push it into a box that they can easily label. We don’t want to feel bad about ourselves and so we attempt to bring others down to our level so we can feel better. It is neither right nor wrong, it’s just human nature.

I believe in conscious creation. I believe in miracles. I believe that when I believe all things are possible, all things become possible. In recent years, it has become easier to filter out the negative voices around me. I recognize that people aren’t consciously trying to keep me down; they are trying to keep themselves afloat.

Is there something you would do if anything were possible? How would your life be different?

STOP IT. Anything is possible, with the desire to accomplish it. I’m not an astronaut because I’m claustrophobic and I don’t trust science not to kill me. I listened to Major Tom too many times as a teenager.  I’m not a doctor because the sight of blood freaks me out. I’m not a social worker because I don’t like people that much. I’m not a mathematician because I’m not very good at math – and I’m not good at math because I am not interested in it, so I never practiced it much.

I think that ends my rant about the follow-up questions on this writing prompt. But I still haven’t answered the question about the quote. What I get from it is a flood of optimism that starts in my toes and goes all the way through my body before it explodes from the top of my head. We make things possible or impossible, for all the reasons I stated previously.

I’ve struggled with writing on a daily basis, with writing ‘seriously’, with believing in myself as a writer because I put myself in a box labeled ‘not good enough and/or not worthy.’  This 31 day challenge has enabled me to cut open the box and stand up. I can see outside it now and am ready to step all the way out of it. That feeling is pure joy. It is inspiring and it is liberating. Our only limits are in our own heads.

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