“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’m Possible.” —Audrey Hepburn

Nothing against the lovely, late Audrey Hepburn. I love her movies, her look, her philanthropy. But this motivational quote? Not so much.

This is one of those clever sayings that sounds great until you really think about it.

Nothing is impossible? OK then—flap your arms and fly.

No, not even Audrey Hepburn could do that.

I hate to break it to you, but lots of things are impossible. I can’t flap my arms and fly. I can’t turn my dog into a saber tooth tiger. I can’t open a closet door and find Narnia. I can’t look like Audrey Hepburn even with major plastic surgery. She was three inches taller than me, at least 30 pounds lighter, and built like a reed. Even if I had my face completely rearranged and lost 30 pounds, I still wouldn’t look like her. Pity. I would love to. But it’s impossible.

I hate motivational quotes that make it sound like wanting alone takes you halfway to success. That whole “the universe responds” business does nothing for me. The universe doesn’t respond to passive desire; it responds to conscientiousness, to open minds and eyes, to determination, to realistic hopes and dreams, and to effort.

Which is not to say you can’t dream big, as long as you stay grounded.

Sure, I’d love to win American Idol. Too bad I’m too old and don’t sing very well. On the other hand, if I really want to learn to sing, that’s not impossible. And from there, maybe I could find success beyond my wildest dreams. I still won’t win American Idol.

Sometimes the clever turn of phrase is irresistible, and so it is with this quote. Impossible/I’m Possible! Cool! I see the allure.

But motivational sayings only motivate me if they give me something to work with. This quote just makes me want to argue with it.

Sorry Audrey. Loved you in My Fair Lady.


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