The Impossible Achievement

This morning Tres learned how to say, “Eye.”

It was a big deal for us!  We celebrate these accomplishments – like the first time the babies relieve themselves on the potty, when they can dress themselves or make their own beds – as they are rightfully the coolest accomplishment the kiddos have achieved thus far.

Think about it: as a small child there were so many things we had to master.  Do you remember riding a bike for the first time?  How about tying your own shoelaces?

(DId you know a shoe salesman told me kids are not learning to tie their shoelaces these days until about 8 years old because Velcro closures have changed the shoe market?  Doesn’t that astonish you?)

I can clearly remember reading my first book.  I was in first grade and I had chosen a Scholastic book about kittens.  I loved the pictures but it was well about my reading level.  I was sad, I cried, I put the book away.

And then, later, I pulled that book out and felt sad.  I wanted to read it so badly!  I opened the pages, started in disbelief, and realized my reading ability had progressed and I could read the story!

I was so excited I told everyone I knew!  I could do it!  I could read my fabulous kitten book!

Then I put the book away because the pictures were awesome but the story was not really interesting.  And that may have been the beginning of my intense dislike of cats, who knows.

I was reading a study with the conclusion that children with superior intelligence are often lower-achieving than their average-intelligence friends.

How can this be?  Smarts = success, right?!

Not so.  Our average-intelligence kids know that they can achieve the impossible dream with hard work.  Our superior-intelligence kids are scared to make a mistake and fail because then they might not be considered “gifted” or “smart” anymore!

OK.  So what’s the takeaway?

When we as adults are feeling discouraged there are a few things to remember about accomplishing the impossible dream:

1.  You’re going to mess up first.  There is not a single accomplishment that does not begin with failure.  Or diversion.  Or unintended consequences.  Discouragement is a part of the process that needs to be harnessed and made to move forward and not immobilize you.

2.  It won’t happen right away.  TIming is everything.  Sometimes things flow effortlessly but usually big accomplishments take eons to complete.  Malcolm Gladwell has a book called Outliers that is absolutely amazing – his discovery is that all the “greats” practiced their greatness at least 10,000 hours before ascending to success.  That means perseverance can be more important than natural ability.

3.  Keep track of your accomplishments.  If you’re like me, when challenges come at you it’s easy to get down and think you just don’t have it in you to push through.  Keep track of all the things you have accomplished already – your dreams crossed off the “impossible” list.  Refer to that and let it bolster your resolve.

I get really impatient so one technique I’ve learned to use is a prayer request journal.  I keep a log of the day I begin praying a specific prayer, what that prayer is, and the date it was answered.  It’s incredibly encouraging to me to see how God has worked in my life.  And the string of answered prayer requests gives me the courage to continue to pray for the ones that seem likely to never be answered.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go see about another impossible dream in my life – having a clean house and kids that aren’t eating dirt.  Right now I’m 0 for 2.

Like what you’re reading?  Have a response of your own impossible dream/accomplishments?  Let me know in the comments!

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