How to achieve the impossible

How to achieve the impossible

Benny

One of the most important things I’ve learned in my first year of blogging about my 3 month language missions has probably been discovering that achieving the “impossible” is actually easy. It turns out that several people that I’ve come across or read about have achieved the impossible several times over each. Taking their lead, so have I! Today I’ll share how.

What is “impossible”?

Looking at this blog it’s easy to come across a few examples of impossible tasks. First, you see the title “Fluent in 3 months” – bah, that’s ridiculous! Impossible! Then you see the missions I aim for: fluency, no accent, super hard exams, getting by in a language in one weekend. Impossible!

I know these are “impossible” because lots of people are generous enough to remind me of it so regularly by downer comments here, or on forums or other blogs. I’ve seen the word impossible more in the last year (directed at me) than I had in my entire life beforehand.

And I love it. Makes it so much more fun when I prove them wrong! :)

You see, it’s all a simple misunderstanding in definition. These poor people don’t seem to have any idea what the word impossible really means. I like to be clear about my definitions (why I defined what fluency means so there would be no confusion), so I’ll refer to the good old Oxford dictionary once again. The definition is:

  • adjective 1 not able to occur, exist, or be done. 2 very difficult to deal with.

When you look at the core of the word, the first meaning is the most likely. It’s the opposite of possible and can not happen. That’s “not” under any circumstances, not “not” as in no honey, your arse does not look fat in that. But eternal pessimists seem to have decided that “very difficult” and impossible should become synonyms of one another.

This means we are talking about different things ultimately. I agree that ambitious tasks can be very challenging, but impossible?

There are some things that I can be pretty confident about being impossible. The monsters on the TV aren’t going to step outside of the screen and eat me. That’s impossible (a TV is a cathode ray tube, not a portal to another dimension). A talking snake is impossible (it doesn’t have the vocal chords for it, or the cerebral capacity for human communication). But in most cases, people use the word as a lazy exaggeration. Getting the ideal job you’ve been dreaming about, travelling, speaking another language in a short time, and many other things are not impossible.

When you look at it logically, my view of impossible is more realistic than theirs. Usually when we think of “realistic” we imagine down-to-earth. But I am being more true to the meaning of the word, so ultimately I am being more realistic. You are welcome to say that certain objectives are improbable or very hard, but unless you give me specific laws of physics that say I can’t do it, then get your definitions straight!

Impossible happens every day

One up side to all of this, is that as soon as someone throws down the gauntlet and uses that silly i word, it means that if you do achieve it, you have achieved the impossible! The real secret to achieving the impossible is trying, trying hard and often and ignoring discouragement from others with an unrealistic understanding of the limitations of the universe we live in.

There are so many examples. Let’s take travel: Want to backpack the world for years and support yourself from a blog? Impossible, yet Nomadic Matt does it. Want to visit every country in the world? Chris Guillebeau is doing it. Or maybe you want to work as a volunteer in several different countries and think it’ll never happen? Kirsty is doing it. What about travelling long-term as a family? Also possible. Or travelling with an infant when you are in debt? Adam Baker has done it. All “impossible” and yet all actually very possible when people really try to find a way to make it work rather than focusing on all the excuses.

That’s just travel. Think you’re too young or too old to achieve your dreams? Any reason you can think of that is holding you back, someone else has gotten around the same issue. And if nobody in the history of the world has done it yet, what’s stopping you from being the first?

Way more “impossible” hurdles have been overcome by people who want to live their dreams, for almost any situation you can think of. Helen Keller wrote 12 books, was a lecturer, met Mark Twain and every US president in her lifetime, and yet she was deaf and blind from the age of 18 months. Her story is so inspirational to me that I really don’t think anything is impossible if you put your mind to it. You might think that I’ve seen too many Disney movies when I say that, but I think the pessimists are the unrealistic ones.

Yes, sometimes people have advantages that you don’t have, but instead of complaining about how it’s easier for them, you can find your path to living your dreams.

Never use the ‘F’ word!

The main thing that will prevent you from achieving your dreams is focusing on and overusing the F word. No, I don’t mean fuck (seriously? Yawn…).

There is a word way more offensive and repugnant than that ever can be. In fact, I refuse to write it here. To f*** is the opposite of to succeed (or the noun f*$#)&* is the opposite of success) and people who focus on this will ultimately achieve it.

Since pessimists are so generous with their definitions of impossible, I’m going to do the opposite and define f*$#)&* right out of existence. I simply don’t believe in it. This very definition helps me and many others achieve the impossible. There is no such thing as a f*$#)&*! When you focus on how you are to achieve the task, and actually work on it rather than get lost in the reasons why you can’t, the idea of “impossible” itself becomes impossible.

For example, in just over a week I am going to be sitting one of hardest language exams for non-natives in the world. Quite a lot of people love to remind me how it’s impossible and how I’ll definitely f***.

I feel sad for them! They see the world of possibilities as binary. 0 or 1, right or wrong, black or white, f*** or don’t f***. I don’t. My glass is half full. Those following the blog long enough know that I rate my successes in scales. I’m either successful, very successful or extremely successful. I will aim for and work towards extremely successful for the entire duration of the mission, even if I “only” end up at very successful. This whole attitude helps me achieve more, way beyond simple redefinitions of words to get around not achieving enough.

For example, I wanted to pass myself off as a Brazilian for 2 minutes, and have it come naturally all the time. Aiming so high meant that I had to make lots of progress quickly. I didn’t exactly achieve what I had initially aimed for. Instead I was able to convince several Brazilians in social situations that I was a Carioca for up to 30 seconds, by reducing my accent to be subtle enough (albeit not zero) and working hard on the important 93% aspect of non-verbal communication too so that I would be convincing enough for those 30 seconds. Did I f***? No way! 30 seconds is a long time to be in a conversation and pass off as a local, even if I had to be very focused to do so. As far as I’m concerned that was an amazing achievement, even if it wasn’t the initial goal. That mission was a success! The same happened with my Czech mission. I wanted to speak fluently in 3 months, but instead I was speaking quite well after 2 months (when I had to stop).

These were not 100% successes, but were definitely not the exact opposite either.

There are only successes and partial successes

In my next week’s very very hard exam, I only see two possible outcomes, none of which start with an f.

I will either do really well in this exam (since I have been working very hard, studying despite disliking it so much, and have some interesting language exam hacks up my sleeve – not cheating mind you), have dramatically improved my German in an incredibly short time and gained a new appreciation for study techniques, as well as built up fantastic anticipation for the summer… or I will achieve all of that and the Goethe Institut will also reward me with a C2 Diploma.

The second option would be way cooler, and likely involve lots of me screaming it from Berlin rooftops to the world, but you can bet that I won’t consider these 3 months “wasted” if a German exam correcter happens to disagree with me. That can never take away the leaps of progress I’ve made in this short time.

The only way to achieve the impossible is to try “impossible” tasks. Here, I mean impossible as in the lazy pessimistic definition, i.e. “hard”. After this, I’ll take a few weeks to recuperate… and then I’m going to have an even harder 3-month objective, whether this mission is an 80% success, or a 100% success. The more I try, the more I will succeed.

Your turn

Up until I started travelling and meeting so many people with stories that would inspire me to aim higher, instead of something that I know I will definitely achieve (i.e. not impossible by anyone’s definition), I have to say that my life was not particularly interesting or fulfilling. The last 7 years have been filled with full and partial successes, because I keep trying. I learn from the partial successes and they ultimately lead to “impossible” tasks being achieved.

So, what’s stopping you from achieving the impossible? Cast away that silly word, and just make it happen. Work hard, work often and stay positive and you’ll surprise yourself by how much you can do.

And if you still think something is impossible, then please don’t interrupt the person actually doing it ;)

Thoughts? Comments? Hit me in the box below!

One of the most important things I’ve learned in my first year of blogging about my 3 month language missions has probably been discovering that achieving the “impossible” is actually easy. It turns out that several people that I’ve come across or read about have achieved the impossible several times over each. Taking their lead, […]

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  • Diggy

    Hey Benny!
    Thanks for the link! Hope all is going very well and you’re selling loads of copies of LHG.
    Cheers!

  • Quokka

    helpful reminder.
    Ta.

  • http://whitehindu.blogspot.com Aamba

    “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means…” :D

  • http://www.singlewithluggage.com Singlewithluggage

    You are f&*##!! AWESOME Benny, and an inspiration. (pardon the ‘french’). I am pretty much in love with every word you write. Thanks for yet another well-timed, well-aimed dose of just go out and do it mental toughness.

  • Soultravelers3

    I couldn't agree with you more Benny!! Thanks for the mention!

    I have never believed in” impossible” or failure” and it has served me well in life. The same people who thought we were crazy to sell our dream home in 2005 and travel the world as a family, think we are brilliant today. ;) It is not easy to do the impossible, but it is always worth the effort to follow your heart and live your dreams. There are no limits in life except the ones that we put on ourselves.

    One does not achieve “impossible” without effort, risk and sacrifice, but each one builds one's confidence for the next challenge.

    We are also monolinguals raising a VERY fluent trilingual/triliterate ( Chinese, Spanish, English) who speaks some in many languages and non-musicians raising an advanced piano and violin playing child as we tour the world. That is not easy and takes daily work for years on end for all of us, but we enjoy the process & feel this foundation will serve her well and many generations to come. I delight when I see her playing with friends in several languages and translating between them all or the joy she gets with her music.

    Often on the way to an “impossible” goal, one will be tested. We have have had a car wreck, gotten lost on dangerous cliff roads in the dark, been to foreign hospitals in foreign lands..including surgery & a paralyzed right arm for 11 months, loved ones who had serious illnesses & death at a distance etc etc….yet nothing has stopped us from our goal, we just re-worked the plan. It's not that we do not have fear… I call myself a scaredy cat adventurer & deal with quite severe claustrophobia and vertigo, but life is about facing fears and doing them any way ( in a calculated way).

    Helen Keller is one of my heroes too!! Love this quote of hers:

    “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing”

  • http://friedelcraft.blogspot.com/ chris(mandarin_student)

    I did say I wouldn't comment again but as it isn't actually impossible…. why the hell not:)

    Actually I am just trying to understand, I learn languages from the UK right now, I will say that is is impossible for me to travel to do it right now. I am just using English as it is spoken on the street, I and everybody else knows it is not impossible at all. What I actually mean by impossible is simply that I have a wife and children who are old enough to express an opinion and who do not wish to live abroad at the moment, my wife has been developing a career, an education locally, my kids have a relatively good environment to grow up in and we value regular local family contact. I know that traveling to learn languages is not 'impossible' but I also know what I mean when I say it and so do most other people. Perhaps you are simply not questioning the background to statements because people regularly use the word in the sense I just did, there is nothing negative about it at all (maybe wistful in my case but hey I have to decide what I want the most, part of life).

    The word hard is interesting, you re-defined hard once to show that there was nothing hard about learning a language (just different), so how can a test in that language be hard? Can't we just re-define that away? Maybe some people that say a language is 'hard' actually mean that the internal tests they have defined for themselves are hard. I actually convinced Vincent at Street-Smart language learning in a comment that the test challenge was quite do-able for you :) To me it feels a lot less hard (less different, less impossible?) than what you set out to do with Thai.

    For the black and white argument I should point out the relationship that often occurs between effort and achievement is not linear. My sons have learned this, when my son tells me that he has done a back-flip for the first time, he knows the difference between having achieved a back-flip and being able to nail it every time (without thinking or risk) when he goes free running with his friends, the difference is usually about four times as much effort and practice as actually went into getting it right the first time, the same applies to my other son and BMX bike tricks. This is an important piece of knowledge for people to be aware of.

    I don't think anything I just said is negative as such, if it is then I have found ways to achieve things without having to be positive (aren't I the luck one :)).

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Oh that's a good use for Anki! Motivational phrases :D I should look into that.. ;)
    Glad you liked it!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks for the comment Diggy!
    I earned enough to be able to afford to take all of this and next week just to study for the exam. :) As long as I sell enough to help me achieve these missions with that extra bit of free time, then I'll be happy :)
    Great video of yours, thanks again!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    You're a great example to inspire people who continue to repeat the same old excuses without really thinking of something is possible ;)
    Great to hear how you are raising a trilingual child! If I ever meet the polyglotesse of my dreams and settle down, I'll ask you how you did it :D

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Yes, I do remember you saying you wouldn't comment again ;) But thanks for the contribution.

  • http://blog.tumbledesign.com/ Nicky Hajal

    Benny,

    Reading this made me think of the movie Man on Wire. It's about a guy from France who had this crazy dream to tight-rope across the towers of the World Trade Center. He has this quote that was so perfect (imagine it in a French accent!):

    “Impossible, impossible, impossible, im-poss-i-ble. It is impossible, for sure. So, let's get to work.”

    A truly inspiration movie.

  • http://www.fluenteveryyear.com/ Randy (@Yearlyglot)

    Seems to me that what you're calling “impossible” is not impossible at all, but rather a choice.

    If you wanted to travel — if it really meant a lot to you — I suspect that your family would support you. However, I think it's clear that on your priorities, the comforts of keeping your family where they are is more important to you than traveling to learn a language. That's not a matter of possibility, it's a matter of choice.

  • http://www.fluenteveryyear.com/ Randy (@Yearlyglot)

    I read a quote from someone but I can't remember now who said it. It was something to the effect of… One man looks at an obstacle and sees a challenge, and another man looks at it and sees defeat. Both are right. Essentially, what you decided from the start will surely shape your outcome in the end. This is why I make a point to never use words like “trying to learn” a language… when you decide from the start that you are learning the language, it's i********* to f***!

  • http://friedelcraft.blogspot.com/ chris(mandarin_student)

    Thats just semantics though, the point I was trying to make is simply that many people use the word this way and it is perfectly valid and not in any way negative. I could be considered negative to label them as pessimist or defeatist, without taking this into account.

  • http://twitter.com/ZaghaftAni Anita

    You are one of my motivation boosters :D
    Thanks Ben.

  • http://twitter.com/cdstern Craig Stern

    Benny,

    I like the success and partial success bit. You hit on a key point which is that success should not be defined by whether or not someone hits their initial goal when they started the journey. Its the same for entrepreneurs and new businesses, often times an idea for a new business ends up transforming into to something completely different, something they had never imagined in the beginning. Good luck on the Exam!

  • Despereaux

    Nice post Benny!

    I agree with what you said in this post – All the things we do or we want to do is never and will never be impossible! Yeah, it might be challenging or “tricky” as I call it, but never impossible!

    I realised this when we migrated here to Australia from the Philippines. We are taught English there, but it was not (or, rather, rarely) used in conversations. Anyways, when we arrived here, we had to pick subjects – I was interested in doing Nursing as a career at first, so I went and chose Chemistry, Physics, and all those nerdy subjects. What surprised me is that the one organising my subjects didn't agree with my choices, saying it will be impossible for me to do it because it was “simply too hard” – I didn't argue, he knows best anyway, or so I thought. So yeah, because of that, I was discouraged to do subjects I wanted to do and I got stuck with subjects aimed at vocational courses. I was bored the whole semester! I got very good grades though, so I came back to the one who's organising subjects and I said, “I'm sick of my workplace (that was kinda my excuse that day), I really want to do university-bound subjects now” . Surprisingly, he made a way for me to get the subjects I want. So, by the end of the day, I had an overhaul on my timetable and changed majority of my subjects and I even added one subject (chemistry) which I needed to learn outside school. And did I mention? The day I changed my subjects, there was I think about 3 weeks before semester 1 exams, so I had a fight on my hands! Bad news: It was a stressful 3 weeks catching up to stuff (and I'm still adapting to the new environment) Good News: I did a great job on my exams…How great? well, I got top marks for all of 'em – Surprising?! I know!

    Now, I'm currently waiting for offers for a university I want to get into – and while waiting, I decided to continue learning Norwegian, my family is kinda discouraging me from doing it so I'm kinda keeping it as a secret for now…haha! Others think and say it's impossible to do, so they change topic when I talk to them – as for me? Yeah, I might consider it “tricky” and mind-boggling at some points, but nonetheless, I ALWAYS consider it fun! :D

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/FluentCzech FluentCzech

    I like when people are both positive and ambitious. It is great that you look for success, and refuse to be drawn by the F* word. At the same time, I am concerned that it means no matter what happens you can end up going “yep, another success” and this prevents you from taking an honest evaluation of your results.

    I believe it is so important to set realistic goals, and to be honest about your achievements, so that you can adjust and refine your approach along the way. It is for this reason that I do have some concerns about your upcoming C2 exam. If you pass, it will silence all but the most hardened critics, but if you do not pass, yet still call it a success (since there is no F* word) it means that there are no longer any objective criteria with which to access your approach, or any approach for that matter.

  • http://www.fluenteveryyear.com/ Randy (@Yearlyglot)

    You're intentionally misusing a word and expecting it to be accepted, yet you dismiss my disagreement as just semantics. It sounds to me like you have the defeatist attitude that you're trying so hard to distance yourself from.

    Sure, how you choose to use a word is your business… as is how you choose to view the world. And hey… if you like excuses, nobody is stopping you from making them!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    I'll have to check it out! Thanks :)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    i********* to f***! I like it :D
    Thanks as always for the comments and backing up the positive viewpoint! ;)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Your welcome, glad to help :)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Haha thanks a lot :D No need to asterix out curse words – you can see in this article what words I really find offensive ;)
    Glad you are not just enjoying the blog, but in love with it! :D Remember: Impossible is nothing ;)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks Craig!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks for sharing your story! Glad you have been applying the advice in this post already in your life :)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks for the comment Anthony!

    Great to see that you are all for positivity and ambition, but I think you've misunderstood the success/partial success point of the post. Aiming as high as I do means that getting 80% of it means that it's still a pretty damn impressive achievement. I won't be sitting in the exam staring out the window and satisfied with a 5% result. If I get 50% (for example) instead of the minimum 60% to pass then I'm going to be very proud of it considering the difficulty of the exam.

    “Realistic” goals are boring, sorry! If you will definitely achieve it then you aren't aiming high enough in my opinion. Aiming very high and getting some partial and some full successes will pressure you to achieve more.

    The reason so many people make such slow progress in languages is exactly because they stay within their comfort zone.

    If I don't pass the C2 exam then I'll shut up the critics with the next mission instead ;) I'm looking at the whole series of missions leaning more towards more full successes.

    By not passing the exam and still marching onwards to an even harder mission, I hope to inspire people not to give up. That's my ultimate overall mission with this blog, not impressing the critics with an uninterrupted string of perfect successes ;)

  • http://friedelcraft.blogspot.com/ chris(mandarin_student)

    If I was religious (which I am not) and I said that it was impossible for me to renounce my faith, would you accept that? An extreme example but are you seriously telling me that everybody uses the word impossible in common speech by the dictionary definition? Have you noticed that much on-line conversation resembles speech rather than the type of writing that sticks strictly to dictionary definition.

    Where was I making an excuse “To explain (a fault or an offense) in the hope of being forgiven or understood” or take whatever definition you prefer from any dictionary and where exactly was I being defeatist? Either you are intentionally misusing words and expecting them to be accepted or you are being delibrately negative towards me because I don't agree with your world view.

    I see so much negativity in posts like these, thank you for demonstrating this so aptly. I also see a lot a self-centered justification, why should my family accept me traveling for language learning right now, at this point is me that should be support them, just because it is possible for me to be self-centered doesn't mean I will, I see many uses of the word impossible. I don't feel defeatist I learned to speak Chinese, check out what I am trying to do with Thai http://chris-thai-student.blogspot.com/ and then tell me I am a defeatist language learner (and if not that a defeatist what, parent????). A lot of posts there and not because I am marketing myself or going to sell a book. You may hate my approach but am I making excuses or being defeatist?

    I read all of your posts, I quite liked some of them and made some positive comments, I am a little surprised.

    It is a strange club this positivity club, I see so much negativity. Personally I use passion to drive myself far more powerful also less self-forgiving I know for example If I acheive 80% percent of something I may have only put 20% of the effort in, I also know that by the definition of the word impossible, I haven't actually proved it impossible yet ;).

    Anyway no hard feelings, it is easy to get caught up in all the ……fervour.

  • http://friedelcraft.blogspot.com/ chris(mandarin_student)

    good job he got more than 80% of the way across though ;)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Chris… please leave your rants on your blogs. We get it.

    Once again you are going off on irrelevant tangents. Keep your comments to the point – none of this superior “I'm not a marketer” BS. You've given me plenty of abuse in comments elsewhere. Stay on topic here in future or zip it.

  • http://www.fluenteveryyear.com/ Randy (@Yearlyglot)

    Just to be clear, Chris, I hope you're not confusing me for Benny, the author of this site.

    I'm just a reader here, like you.

    But when it comes to negativity, I can't help noticing how overwhelmingly heated your most recent reply is. Perhaps I've misjudges you — maybe you just drink too much coffee — but you certainly do present yourself as a rather adverse and pessimistic sort of person with such emotional outbursts.

  • Annette

    Benny, thanks so much for the pep talk. I needed it today! I'm rooting for you on your exam and I hope the C2 exam markers agree with you ;)

  • http://friedelcraft.blogspot.com/ chris(mandarin_student)

    So if somebody calls me defeatist and accuses me of making excuses I am not supposed to respond? And part from responding to Randy I thought I was on topic, apologies.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Defending yourself is fine, but you weren't on topic. Attacking ME and the fact that I've written a book separate to my free blog has nothing to do with Randy calling you out for being defeatist. Read my comment carefully please.

  • http://friedelcraft.blogspot.com/ chris(mandarin_student)

    Hi Randy, you are the author of the yearglot blog, which I have read and left comments on a couple of posts (you kindly replied to them) one was on IPAD and one about translatiing (correct?).

    Mostly my comments and posts everywhere are positive (far more than 80% anyway) sometimes I get passionate about something (that allows for some negativity). I was kind of surprised at your use of defeatist and excuses actually, but that is language I guess, we all see what we see. Don't read too much into a long post or comment from me I speed read and speed type.

  • http://friedelcraft.blogspot.com/ chris(mandarin_student)

    Whoops yup I can sse how that looks kind of bad, sometimes I brain dump too fast, just trying to put my own motivations in perspective. I don't mind being called negative but defeatist, that kind of pushes a button, we all have buttons that can be pushed don't we ;)

  • Eerised12

    Excellent article! You've hit the nail square on the head here, I'd say. :)

    I admire your positive attitude. “Partial successes” I love it! And it’s great that you’ve pointed out those nasty little excuses for just what they are – excuses. If we say that something is impossible and make up all these excuses as to why it cannot be done, then of course that is how it will turn out.

    Anyway, I would definitely say this article has brightened my day. Thanks! And best wishes on your exam.

  • http://www.fluenteveryyear.com/ Randy (@Yearlyglot)

    Okay, yep. That's me.

    Well, anyway, if that speed reading and speed typing is working out for you, keep it up. Personally, I find I get better responses from people when I slow down and consider my words. Well, whatever works! Have a great evening! (Or a bad one, if that's what you prefer.)

  • http://www.fluenteveryyear.com/ Randy (@Yearlyglot)

    Just as bright light without heat leaves you cold, and intense heat without light leaves you burned… intellect without passion is lost in boredom, and passion without wisdom tends to be offensive.

    I find in life that each needs to be tempered with a measure of the other in order for a message to be heard.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks!! :) Glad to see the pep talk helped!

  • http://molista.blogspot.com/ Glavkos

    Best of luck to your C1 exam Benny….:)

  • Kyrene

    My latest impossible thing was that I completed an online chemistry course in a week, and I'm terrible at chemistry. The reason I had to take it online was because I f…. er… didn't succeed to the level my school expected. The online course had a lot of different material than the one I took in school as well most of the material was either entirely new to me or I didn't understand it the first time.
    So next Friday I'm taking my French placement test for college, a little less daunting than your C2 exam, but I want to do well. I decided that if I could learn that much chemistry in a week then I can definitely raise my level in French in a week. Of course when my mom saw me studying she told me, it's impossible to do better on a placement test in that short of time. But I think it is possible, so I'll keep reading, studying prepositions, and driving my French speaking friends insane by refusing to speak English with them.

  • katie

    Great post, Benny. It reminds me of something my swim coach recently said to me, when I was saying that a particular set was “hard.” He stopped me and said, “No, this pool deck is 'hard.'” I had to think of another word to describe it, and used “challenging” instead. It really was challenging, and I put even greater effort into it because my fear of failure was gone.

  • http://Livingintransit.com Jen

    We've been brainwashed by consumerism to believe nothing is possible so that we may continue being slaves to these big bandits. We lack confidence because with cofidence we can make the changes to life that we desire and need so that we may actually accomplish something meaningful. If we accomplished things we wouldn't need the big bandits and everything as we know it would die. But so what? We wouldn't be dependent beings!

    Accomplishing what's believed to be impossible is an affirmation of independent thinking. People should be less scared of thinking. My independent thinking got started with a puzzle. :)

  • Adrienn

    There are 3 exam dates for the DELE Superior in 2010 and I had been vacillating between the August and the November dates.
    You just inspired me not to wait until November! :o)
    I´ve done some practice on old tests and yes, there still IS stuff to learn (When is there nothing left to learn?! Never…), but it´s certainly not impossible. A lot can be done until August 20.

  • Owen

    hi benny, good luck with your exam. I'm working towards the german C1, but following your mission has made me wonder if I shouldn't aim higher.
    As a lingqer I apologise for the hassle you're getting there. At the moment lingq suits my situation, but all this bullying and pettiness gives me pause. You're an interesting guy and all, but I don't understand the level obsession.

  • http://www.writingallthewrongs.com Marc-Andre

    This post is extremely inspiring!

  • layla

    thxxx :)
    this article Motivates me <3

  • Alexia

    Ooh Benny, I love the vibe!

    I'm working on my Spanish every day. I've been learning that language at school since I was 14 and I've spent 4 1/2 months in Mexico but can't speak fluently… never mind! I want to learn it once and for all and working towards that achievement!

    Keep on inspiring us Benny! ;D

  • http://linguaphille.wordpress.com/ Josephine

    Very inspirational! I swear you're my new idol now, Benny!

  • http://twitter.com/Dina2342 Nadina Cardillo

    Yes! I’m always trying to achieve the impossible… this Jules Verne quote “Tout ce qui est impossible reste à accomplir” is my motto :)

    I’ve also deleted the F-word from existence. Now it can’t scare me any more!

  • Vania Vieta

    Thank you for showing me that the Impossible is possible. That F%@#&!? is not an option.  I will try to use this advice and apply it to my dreams.

  • Anonymous

    I live by the expression “Everything is possible”  I can prove it too.  One needs to use the proof by contradiction method, meaning disprove the opposite.  Take the statements “nothing is possible” or “everything is impossible”  neither of these can be true (otherwise nothing would have ever happened) which forces the original statement, “Everything is possible,” to be true.

  • http://twitter.com/AndrooMahtin AndrooMahtin

    Benny — you’re like this unstoppable fount of positivity.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

      ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.wang2 Gary Wang

    The word impossible when broken down to its elemental state – “I’m possible”.

  • http://twitter.com/Elina_Bisen Elīna Biseniece

    This was really one of the greatest blog entries I’d read lately! The ‘F*&^%* word’ idea is hilarious, made me laugh :D

    Personally I believe in this for 100% – everything is posible when you want to -, but there is a problem – I have no idea what I would like to achieve. Usually it’s starting too many things at once so never accomplishing even one of them. Time to choose the priorities :)

    Thanks again! :)

  • Karolina

    Benny, your posts are so inspiring! I’m glad I ran into your blog. I have to learn two foreign languages right now (including English), so it’s really helpful to read about somebody, who’s grappling with similar ‘discouragement problems’ as well.
    Keep going and i’ll keep my fingers crossed for your new challenge ;)
    Best regards ;)