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Beating the Odds

Impossible in Space

If you read the papers, you’ve probably seen a list of corrections. Most of them clear up errors made the previous day.

Not many corrections, therefore, match the one offered by the New York Times in July of 1969. It referred to a story that appeared 49 years earlier.

That story had declared “absurd” the idea that a rocket could work in the vacuum of space. Not until July 17, 1969, the day after Apollo 11 began its journey to the first manned moon landing, did the Times take back its words.

Said the Times: “Further investigation and experimentation have confirmed the findings of Isaac Newton in the 17th century and it is now definitely established that a rocket can function in a vacuum as well as in an atmosphere. The Times regrets the error.”

Today marks Day 4 of our 17-day series on “How to Do the Impossible.” Dr. Rob Gilbert is presenting it on his Success Hotline at (973) 743-4690. And I’m blogging it here at totalgameplan.

As the lesson of Apollo 11 shows, to do the impossible you must leave the common wisdom behind. You must break through the limitations of untested beliefs.

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble,” Mark Twain said. “It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

Skeptics are everywhere.

Just days before the Wright brothers made their historic first flight, a Boston newspaper printed a story that said powered flight was impossible. After they flew, their hometown, the Dayton Journal refused to publish the story, saying the flights were too short to be important.

Upon the invention of the telephone, an American president (either Rutherford B. Hayes or Ulysses Grant) is said to have remarked, “Great invention. But who would want to use one?” That president should see today’s world, where people, including me, can’t exist without a cellphone.

Until Roger Bannister ran the first sub-four-minute mile, many experts believed that the human body couldn’t handle the strain.

British historian G. M. Trevelyan warned, “Never tell a young person that anything cannot be done. God may have been waiting centuries for someone ignorant enough of the impossible to do that very thing.”

“It always seems impossible until it’s done,” said Nelson Mandela.

To do the impossible, let others stick with limited beliefs. Dare to believe big, dream big and to act big.

“In order to attain the impossible,” said Miguel de Cervantes, “one must attempt the absurd.”

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Thank you for visiting Total Game Plan. While you’re here, you can find many other resources to help you succeed.

Think Better, Win More!” will give you a mental game to match your physical game.

To improve at anything, check out “The Improvement Factor: How Champions Turn Practice into Success.”

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Are you a teachers, boss or sports coach? Here’s “Ten Things Great Coaches Know” by Mike Tully and Gary Pritchard.


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