Tiny Wisdom: You Can Do More Than You Think

“If you're going to doubt something, doubt your own limits.” -Don Ward

There's a Saturday Night Live sketch that features Kenan Thompson as a middle school student with a broken knee. Scarlett Johansson and his other classmates repeatedly convince him to attempt walking, quoting a teacher who frequently lectures on the power of positive thinking. Despite their promises that anything is possible, he repeatedly falls flat on his face.

I loved this sketch, not because of some schadenfreude-induced need to see children crying. I love it because it reminds me of the many times I've seen comments on blog posts about possibilities, where people cite things that are obviously not possible.

While we can do a lot in life, running on a leg that you just broke is not (currently) medically possible. Flapping your arms and flying like a bird is just not possible. Turning your horse into a unicorn is just not possible. And switching bodies with your best friend, though commonly seen in movies, is just not possible.

Now that we got that out of the way, we can focus on the many difficult things that are, in fact, possible, despite what people once thought.

It is possible to run a 4-minute mile. It is possible to fly a heavier-than-air plane. It is possible for a person to walk on the moon. It is possible to perform a full-face transplant. It is possible for an African American man to become the President of the United States.

People do “impossible” things every day. If we believe in ourselves and take smart risks, we can, too.

You might not be able to leave your job tomorrow, but you can discover your passion and start a business. You may not be able to win a Webby Award tomorrow, but you can create a site that makes a difference in the world. You might not be able to change that you have a physical limitation, but you can find a way to empower yourself because of it, not in spite of it.

Today if you find yourself dwelling on what's possible, remind yourself: You can do more than you think if you're willing to stop making excuses and start testing your limits.

Photo by YIM Hafiz

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha's Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..

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  • It is possible to live the life of your dreams IF you listen to your heart  🙂

    It is not so easy at running the marathon – it also requires preparation and energy, but it must be possible.

  • Lori, this is very inspiring. It’s also very matter of fact. I like your style. ;-)I think it’s all about taking small, incremental steps each and every day that align with a particular goal or outcome.

    Of course, the only way to get to where you even work on goal in the first place is believing that you can actually do it. Great post.

  • This is great. 🙂

  • MadmoiZelleDô

    I just don’t know how you do it, but your words always go directly to my heart and to my soul. You really make my day Lori. You are a real source of inspiration to me!

  • JBW

    You know somehow we think/share lives far from each other but we live on the same plane.  Just yesterday, I decided to take a risk and talk to the person in charge to try to get something to work out for me.  I won’t know until later whether that risk works out but I know that if I wouldn’t have taken the risk (I probably wouldn’t have been taken seriously).  So even if things don’t work out, I have stepped forward as an individual and proven my dedication.

  • Love this post.  This idea of doing more than we think is so critical to living better lives.  We are the ones who put our own doorstops in our way of opening that door wide to so many possibilities.
    As I like to say,  it’s all too easy to Not Do; the key is pushing forward To Do.
    Excuses can be our longest list.  Let’s try to enlarge our To Do list and push through our internal resistances.  Look outside the box, and look for those back doors around the obstacles. 
    I love your line – “empower yourself Because of it, not in Spite of it.”   

  • Matthew

    So true. We spend so much time telling ourselves what we can’t do and never get around to  actually testing things out for ourselves.

    Along this lines, I wrote about how we limit ourselves because of our beliefs long before we find out the actual limits:

  • Great post Lori! A nice reminder to go after your dreams.

  • Aruna

    Brilliant, loved this, thanks.

  • Thanks Lori; reading this post just made me a little more positive about things…:-)

  • Ivan Olarte

    I completely agree. In fact at almost 50, I’m well on my way to becoming the kind of Classical Gutarist I could have only dreamed of before.

    A bit of discipline, patience and many many small steps have tsught me that anything is possible, and that the journey itself IS the Reward…

    Ivan Olarte

  • Anu

    Your post came just in time to help me push myself to do better, one step at a time. Thanks a million for creating such a beautiful, sensible website.

    Unlike many other blogs, Tiny Buddha does an excellent job at sharing beautiful realistic stories in an easy-to-read manner, yet sharing and spreading WISDOM in the best possible way.

    Kudos to you, Lori and all the authors/writers/contributors on this blog!!!

  • Olga Garcia

    Something wonderful I learned on one of my adventures – IMPOSSIBLE is I – M – POSSIBLE. All things can be possible if you left yourself find the possibility. 

  • Ldang_78728

    I’m a runner. This hits the “spot”. Thanks for the motivation post.

  • After just reading your other comment, I am convinced that we do! That’s awesome that you took a risk like that, and also that you see it as a positive development no matter what. I’m happy for you. =)

  • I am thrilled to hear that! Thank you for your comment. It makes me feel so good to know that Tiny Buddha makes a positive different.

  • You are most welcome!

  • I love that!

  • Thanks Fred. I’m a huge proponent of tiny steps. =)

  • You’re most welcome, and thank you, Anu! What a wonderful compliment. I am so grateful to all the writers who have shared their stories and insights. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–they make Tiny Buddha what it is. 

  • That’s awesome, Ivan! I’ve been considering taking up an instrument, actually. I remember seeing a movie with Rachel Weitz a while back. When asked what she does for a living, she responded, “I collect hobbies.” Though obviously most of us can’t choose that as a livelihood, it inspired me to start collecting some myself. I’m thinking of starting with painting, as it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Life is a lot more fun when you think of it in terms of possibilities. =)

  • You are most welcome!

  • Thank Kari–you’re welcome!

  • I thought you might like that, Harriet. It’s quite in line with your “rebuild your life” theme (which I love!)

  • Thank you!

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  • RH

    I have learned to believe that the know how to do most anything is already in us. All we have to do is take action and that know how will come forth.