There’s no such thing as impossible… or is there?

I have two pet peeves around the common usage of the word “impossible,” and they seem to be opposites of each other.  The first is people who say nothing is impossible and the second is people who say something is impossible when it actually is just hard or unlikely.  Unclear?  Ah, well, let me explain:

nothing is impossible

Nothing is impossible!

I hear this “nothing is impossible” from various lovely optimistic people.  The problem is that they are wrong.  Some things ARE impossible.  I will give you some examples: Aging backwards (unless you are Benjamin Button), walking through a concrete wall, taking ash and turning it back into a living tree, etc.  I think we could probably agree on many more examples of things that are impossible.

Some people believe in miracles and point to those as over-riding the rules of what happens to be possible, but I believe miracles are extremes but still follow the laws of physics and biology.

Nevertheless, if you were to get to know me, you would know that I am quite tenacious.  I do not give up easily.  And one thing I have learned is that VERY FEW things are impossible.  To say NOTHING is impossible is utterly ridiculous and, as I have just explained, it is one of my pet peeves.  However, very few things are truly impossible.  So that brings me to my next pet peeve:

it is impossible

Sorry.  I can’t do it.  It is impossible.

I was on the phone with Purolator.  I was expecting a delivery of a computer from Dell via Purolator.  The lady said, “We can deliver it tomorrow.”  I said, “Tomorrow is fine — you can’t do it today, right?”

And she said, “No, sorry.”  And, had she left it at that, I would have been satisfied.  But she went on to say, “It is impossible.”  And… I just couldn’t let it go.

I said, “Okay, I have to tell you first off, I don’t mind if you deliver tomorrow.  That is perfectly fine and reasonable.  However, I object to your usage of the word ‘impossible’.”

“But it is impossible.”

I sighed.  “It is not impossible, though,” I said.

“Yes it is,” she repeated.

I said, “Do you have the parcel at your office?”  She said they did.  I said, “Are there people there now?”  She agreed that there were.  I said, “Do they have cars that they can drive?”

She said, “Well, yes, but we don’t do things that way.”

And I said, “No.  I understand.  And it would be unreasonable for me to expect you to.  I don’t expect you to.  However, it IS possible.  You see?  We are talking about what is possible versus impossible.”

I don’t think she liked me.

is it possible


So, this has been a pet peeve of mine for many years.  People running around “optimistically” parading the incorrect notion that “anything” is possible when that is clearly a lie, and, at the same time, other people saying that things are impossible when they are clearly possible, but difficult or unpleasant.  I do not know why this bothers me so much, but if you ever meet up with me socially, misuse the word “impossible” and watch me politely seethe.

Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. - Alice Through the Looking Glass #quote Click To Tweet

Alice Through the Looking Glass quote:

“There’s no use trying,” [Alice] said: “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”


  1. Well i also believe that nothing is impossible but besides hard work you do need some luck to achieve your goals. The second thing is what is lacking and I am totally helpless at this point in my life.
    Akshat recently posted…Best Free Automatic Call Recorder Apps for Android Mobile PhonesMy Profile

    • I agree that when it comes to our lot in life, although most things are not technically impossible, we also need good fortune to smile upon us. I am sorry to hear that luck is not on your side at the moment. Although we can work hard and make preparations so that we are ready when the right opportunity comes along, one cannot underestimate the value of good luck.

      I discussed this with my daughter as she was growing up. I explained to her my view that most people have what I call “average luck,” which means that it only takes hard work and making good decisions to succeed in life. However, I also told her that some people are, sadly, cursed with bad luck and others are, happily, blessed with good luck. I do not believe there is much rhyme or reason to who gets the good luck or who gets the bad luck.

      For example, I am sure there are many kind and compassionate people who have suffered terribly and people like Paris Hilton, who appears on the surface to be quite shallow, is rich, beautiful, and famous, which appears on the surface to be good luck. I say “appears on the surface” because one never knows. Maybe it is actually quite difficult to be Paris Hilton. No one really knows until you walk a mile in her Manolo Blahniks. (And who could walk a mile in such shoes? Perhaps only Paris Hilton.)

      Anyhow, I really hope that your fortune changes for the better and I wish you all the best!


  2. Well, You have come up with ann amazing post as even I heard from many that nothing is impossible and also heard from many that it is not possible. I like your post while contrasting it.
    And It also reminded of the Movie Mission impossible.
    Thanks for sharing.
    have a good day.
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  3. There is nothing impossible if you are passionate about it and have dream to achieve it. Nothing

    • I think my point was the opposite, though. Some things are impossible. For example, I cannot have a real, live conversation with Henry David Thoreau, famous for writing my favorite book, Walden. I cannot because he died many years ago. I can have imagined conversations, but a real one is impossible.

  4. wow what a nice post thanks rmegan to sharing this post

  5. very motivational and well-written article
    Thank you
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  6. hello,, i also believe that nothing is impossible. if anyone can work hard for their achievements anyone can do whatever they want. and if we think do something in deeply and i think nothing is impossible. thank you for the article..

  7. The word impossible is itself saying that i m possible. Nice article.

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