“But the world is full of zanies and fools, who don’t believe in sensible rules, and won’t believe what sensible people say. And because these daft and dewey-eyed dopes keep building up impossible hopes, impossible things are happening every day.”
~ Fairy Godmother, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella,
Do you have a dream that feels impossible? Like Cinderella, do you find yourself sitting in a corner wondering if it will ever come true? Does the reality of your circumstances, the dirt and grime of everyday life, tarnish your ability to believe in the possibility of it ever happening?
While we might not share Cinderella’s dream of marrying a handsome prince, I think we do share the experience of feeling like the dreams we have are beyond our reach. We may not have wicked stepmothers and stepsisters to belittle us, but we do have wicked thoughts. These thoughts tell us: “You’ll never make it. That’s crazy. Who are you to do that? You’re nothing. You can’t. You won’t.”
Yeah, they are ugly alright. And they do nothing but hang around in our brains, bossing us about.
And to make matters worse, they are fashionable. They disguise their ugliness as common sense. They are dolled up in the logic of social norms and conventions. They set the rules and they rule over us. All day long we hear them making proclamations: “That is stupid. You don’t have the talent. The odds aren’t good. It’s too risky. It won’t work. There’s no chance. Things like that just don’t happen.”
These words burn hot against us. If our minds sit too long in front of them, our self-esteems turn to ash. We become servants to an oppressive rationality, a rationality that paints the world in black and white. It is in this moment that we wait for the magic to appear…the magic of that absurd, irrational hope. The hope that will sing: “It’s possible.”
It is in this moment, in the midst of our distress, that we manage to summon the magic of impossible dreaming. We remember that exceptions to the rules are only created through exceptional thinking. We remember that we have the power to imagine things differently than they actually are. We can choose what we believe.
Sometimes, however, it helps to be reminded by someone else. Exceptional thinking is easier when we surround ourselves with exceptional thinkers. We need to seek the company of the zanies and fools–the daft and dewey-eyed dopes. They are the people who fill our lives with magic. The people who fill our hearts with hope and our heads with possibility. Their very presence can transform our view of the world and ourselves.
Maybe that’s why the fairy godmother is my favourite character in the story. She helps Cinderella realize her dream. She brings magic into the lives of others by helping them discover it within themselves.
And the truth of the matter is, we never outgrow our need for magic. In fact, as adults we need it even more. The more disappointments we face, the more heartaches and failures, the harder it is to believe in the possibility of our dreams. Everything feels more impossible. And feelings can be very powerful.
But so can words. Especially, words that say: “You can do it! Keep trying! It will happen! You have what it takes! Don’t give up!”
These are words of possibility. They are words of encouragement.
And they have a magical effect.
Don’t believe me?
Try speaking them to people and watch the transformation that unfolds. Watch as your belief in them banishes their ugly stepsister thoughts. Watch as they are gowned in royal confidence. Watch as the pumpkin of a problem they face transports them to their desired destination.
Then try speaking the words to yourself. The power of positive thinking is not limited to one person. The more magic there is in the world, the more likely it is that incredible, impossible things will occur. The more likely it is that we will stop listening to the lies of the logic that keeps us from trying, even if that means trying again and again.
I have a new dream. Unlike my five-year-old self, it is not to be Cinderella. Princesses are okay, but fairy godmothers are even better. They are the magic makers. They are the nonsensical people who have enough sense to see the potential, rather than the limitations, of every person and every circumstance.
With that dream in mind, I want to leave you with a thought:
Whatever problem you are facing, I encourage you to face it with the magic of impossible thinking. Let your imagination transform it into the solution that will take you to your dream’s destination. The destination might not always be what you expect, because dreams like everything else in life have a way of changing. The important thing is the transformation that occurs on the journey to that destination. Once you become an impossible thinker, impossible things will happen everyday, for you and everyone you meet.
So, my fellow fool, what are you waiting for? Come join the zany club! We have impossible hopes to build. Everyone knows, daft and dewey-eyed dopes have the most fun!