Monday Author: Susanne Skinner
“Dwell in Possibility”
~ Emily Dickenson
I am currently unsupervised. It freaks me out, but the possibilities are endless
~ Seen on a T-shirt
Emily Dickenson, who penned the lovely poem referenced above, didn’t get out much. She remained in the same town and the same house most of her life. By her early thirties she lived in complete isolation. “I dwell in possibility” was a reflection of her imagination—what she dreamed she could do—not what she did. Emily’s dreams never translated to reality.
I’m not Emily, but I have a list of things I’d like to do and an equal number that I’ve ruled out. The ones that failed to make the cut are the subject of my focus. I want to change the way I think about them, imagine what is possible and allow myself to explore options outside my comfort zone. It’s an experiment on me. There are so many big, little, silly and life changing ideas that I have rejected or put off. My experiment is to revisit and frame them with the words What If? I want to create possibilities.
Possibilities are within everyone’s reach, dictated by choices we make and directions we choose. The opportunities that exist in our reality are defined by our beliefs. When we believe something is impossible it actually becomes impossible; we engineer our thinking, resources and options to confirm what we already believe.
What if we did the opposite and rejected our belief that something was impossible? The consequences would change our behavior and feelings, not to mention our lives. We have the ability to generate the mental and emotional power to change what is possible and open the door to What If…
When I mentally wear my “I’m un-supervised” T-shirt I let go of the restrictions I’ve imposed upon my thinking. I allow myself to dwell in possibility and tune out the negative voices. It’s a way of kicking me out of my comfort zone, where results are predictable and self-fulfilling. It’s called a comfort zone for a reason.
Same Old Same Old
I believe each of us owns the ability to create our reality by focusing on what we want. Not everyone will agree, but regardless of which side you land on, it is true that we can create new possibilities in our lives—new realities—by removing beliefs that limit what we think is possible. I am guilty of finding comfort in the same old thinking and it’s time to see if I can make some changes.
I’ve been holding on to the belief that retirement is still years away. I have a great job in a stable and growing company. It’s all good, but lately the idea of early retirement has been tapping me on the shoulder, only to be met with “that’s not possible.” But what if it is? What if it remains impossible until I decide to change the parameters of what retirement means?
My plan is to redirect my thinking. My strategy is to start living the change I want to see. I need to remove all of the objections I created and start to believe. There is no guarantee that I am going to retire early, but the possibility exists now and it didn’t exist before. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say the possibility always existed but I have been blinded by my own opposition.
I start by naming my objections. Continuing to think within old parameters means I will always arrive at the same conclusion—not happening. Creating new parameters is a challenge—I have to get rid of reasoning I’ve held on to for years. I am thinking bigger and smaller: bigger geography, expanded options for housing, smaller cost of living, smaller number of automobiles, smaller distance between family and friends. What If!
Where the Magic Happens
Children see magic because they look for it. Adults have unlearned this ability and forgotten that magic happens. We become comfortable, feel safe, and resist change, paying more attention to information that confirms what we believe. We create a confirmation bias and live ourselves into it.
There is a possibilities sweet spot in all of us. We find it when we ask ourselves what one thing we can do today that supports the change we want to make. Start doing that one thing and before long it will feel like you have always done it. Do it for the possibility. The possibility that if you make one minor change you may set something bigger in motion and create a chain of possibility. Sometimes the smallest shift in thinking creates the biggest opportunities.
If we dare to remove the barriers we create over time, we will forget they were ever there. Is it risky? Yes it is, but so much better than a life without magic. In choosing the safe path we risk blinding ourselves to the magic of what might have been.
I don’t want to be Emily. Emily viewed her life through the doors and windows of her imagination. She dwelled in possibility without ever living herself into it.