Invisible, Impossible and Accomplishment

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“If you can’t see the invisible, you can’t do the impossible.”

–  Gary Barnett (b. 1946), former college football coach

It is that time of year when my mind turns to college football.  Especially after a year of being robbed of the ability — make that the gift, the absolute blessing — to attend games in person, I can begin to hear the first few notes of Back in Black, smell the breakfast bratwurst grilling and literally feel the atmosphere of Saturday mornings in Iowa City.  For others, it’s Madison, Fayetteville, Austin, Boulder, East Lansing, West Point — or anywhere but Columbus, OH. (Look, it’s my dream sequence, I get to decide who’s in and who’s out….but I digress!)

I never played football, but I remember the sound of Lindsey Nelson‘s voice on Notre Dame’s highlights show as being one of the best parts of my weekend, even though I wanted — maybe still want — Notre Dame to lose every week.

Football coaches occupy one of the most visible stages in sport — and since part of their job is to inspire young men to go out and throw themselves into harm’s way with abandon — they tend to be master motivators.  The good ones, at least…

“Boys, the hay’s in the barn,” said Hayden Fry (still my all-time favorite), “it’s time to go huntin’!”

So, after 214 words of absolute rambling crap, “What,” you may be thinking, “is his stinkin’ point?!”

It’s this, really.

We accomplish what we can see.

The ability to imagine an outcome, no matter how unlikely, will determine how far toward that outcome we progress.  Largely, perhaps, because it will drive how much we’re willing to invest, sacrifice, commit, and strive.  The invisible image of the aspirational dream will drive our behavior, our mindset and our focus.

Whoever set the target we’re pursuing, and wherever they set it, let’s set one that’s a little further out.  A little harder to accomplish.  A little closer to invisible.  And when we do, we alter what becomes possible.

 


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