Never Being Allowed to Run Into a Pole is a Disaster

The title quote, by Daniel Kish, is taken from Impossible: The Manifesto by Joel Runyon.

Daniel is an active forty-something. He runs, rides bikes, travels the world, cooks, swims, dances, and pretty much lives life on his own terms.

Daniel is totally blind.

Before I start out, please understand I’m not here to sell you anything. This is a completely free book with no email opt-in required.

I read Joel’s manifesto a couple of nights ago. I would be fair to say starting out, my expectations were neutral. I’ve read some of his work before, and I’d seen a tweet here and there, and I’d enjoyed them, but no over-the-top lightbulb moments had occurred.

The Impossible Manifesto was an all-together different experience. I found myself jotting down note, after note on my beautiful glass paperweight, barely giving the screen enough time to turn off before grabbing it again to grapple with the non-tactile keyboard to copy something down.

These are my unedited notes on the book, from start to finish. Some are word-for-word as per the book, others are paraphrased and expanded upon. I hope they motivate you as much as they do me.

Doors begin to open and people begin to listen when you refuse to accept the standard issue life that most people live. 

Things are only seen to be impossible because most people don’t try to do them. Most people just accept what other people have told them is possible. 

I want you to know you’re not taking crazy pills. You’re on to something.

Life isn’t meant to bore you. Life is an adventure.

Have I really been waiting my entire life just to be picked?

Live a life worth writing about. Are you telling a good story with your life? Would anybody want to read it?

Sometime between our teenage years and adulthood people strip away the possibilities from us. We’re told what we can and what we can’t do. What’s possible and what’s not.

We’re made to believe what we should do and what’s simply irresponsible. Somewhere along the lines, we forget we are in control. It’s your life. You get to decide what happens. You get to write your story.

A story involves a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it. 

You are the only one who gets to choose what you do.

What do you want? It’s not enough to just want something, great characters want great things, great things that are worthwhile.

When you want something, make sure you want something worthwhile, because eventually you’re going to have to fight for it, and it better be worth it. 

Don’t see conflict as the end of the story, but rather the beginning of the best part. 

The best stories have conflict as the basis for the entire story. Instead of falling into conflict, actively seek it out in order to overcome it.

Most of the time failure isn’t fatal. Just because you fail doesn’t mean you have to stop. If you don’t do something because you’re scared of failure, you’ll never do anything.

When people talk about limits they’re talking about artificial caps on what you supposedly can and cannot do. Other people are limiting your possibilities based on their beliefs, not actual facts. They’re limiting the potential of your story based on what they have or haven’t been able to accomplish.

The funny thing about limits is they’re not real. It’s impossible to reach your limits because they don’t exist. 

Running into a pole is a drag, but never being allowed to run into a pole is a disaster.

Just because everybody else stops at ‘good enough’ doesn’t mean you have to.

Once you make it through the limits placed on you by other people you begin to realise there are still things beyond your limits that now seem within reach. 

Every time you challenge the impossible you gain a new understanding of what is actually possible. You realise how small a world you had created for yourself with your own self-imposed limitations in the past, and how big of a future is possible. Pretty soon, even the most ridiculous things in the world don’t seem out of reach if you really want to achieve them. 

It’s hard to make huge jumps sometimes and imagine yourself in a completely different world living a completely different life than you are now. But that’s because of your perspective. Your current perspective colours your subjective version of reality.

Push the boundaries of impossible and you’ll see that it expands. Keep pushing and you’ll see that your subjective version of what’s possible isn’t as accurate as you think it is. The boundaries of impossible are constantly expanding. Keep pushing them. 

Don’t confuse the feelings of accomplishment with feelings of inspiration. If you’ve accomplished something recently and remember what it feels like, the lure of watching someone else do something isn’t nearly as attractive. 

Nobody ever tells a story about the guy who played it safe. 

Do the impossible. Because no one else will.

If you plan on making your own notes as you make your way through the manifesto, give yourself a hour. If not, you can shoot through this in under half that time.

Let me and Joel know what you think in the comments.

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I believe there are certain stigmas attached to asking for help. Learn how to overcome them in my new, free book: http://benjaminspall.com/book/

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Posted December 13, 2011 — Subscribe to keep up to date with my latest posts.

9 thoughts on “Never Being Allowed to Run Into a Pole is a Disaster

    1. It’s worth every tethered KB. I almost welled-up when I read “I want you to know you’re not taking crazy pills. You’re on to something.” which doesn’t make any sense of of context, but you’ll see what I mean when you read the manifesto.

      In other news, I’m addicted to Gotye.

      1. Good stuff. I’ll definitely be giving it a read this weekend. Are you listening to ‘Like Drawing Blood’ or the new album? Youtube the making of, the guys the original digi-nomad. Lugged his Pentium 3 tower around Melbourne & used mattresses as his vocal booth.

  1. I read it and although I didn’t quite find it the read you did it was nice to see how humble Joel was. I always feel these things could go into a bit more detail as to how to actually make the change though.

    I’m wondering how you’re going to make this stuff actionable? What have you done differently today as a result of reading it?

    1. I guess it was intended more as a tome than a workbook, something more sparing that cannot become outdated rather than a list of instructions that would have to be updated every couple of months.

      I have to agree on Joel’s humble nature in the material. It actually promoted me to write myself a separate note to write a more in-depth “How I came to be” type story, like the one currently available on my about page.

      A lot of the material is pure absorption, but I can tell you I’ve certainly been more assertive these past couple of days. I’m not an argumentative person at all; I avoid conflict not because I can’t deal with it, but simply because I don’t see the point in getting yourself wound up. “Don’t sweat the small stuff”, as they say. That aside, I’ve certainly been fighting for my right to party these past few days, but I’m being concious not to these feelings of inspiration with feelings of accomplishment, as Joel notes.

    2. Hey Will,
      I called it a manifesto for a reason. It’s not a how-to or going to show you how to do X in Y steps. It’s a manifesto of who I am, what the site is about, what i’m trying to do and how you can be a part of it.

      I’m not a huge fan of inspiration for inspiration’s sake, but I have seen people get a lot of value out of seeing the fact that if a regular guy like me can do something, then they certainly can too.

      I’ve got some more actionable material coming up that I’d love to hear your feedback on if you hang around the site :).

      1. It’s inspiration done well, for sure. It’s pretty easy to smell insincerity online, and I don’t stand for airy-fairy nonsense.

        This is the real deal; I’m looking forward to checking out the actionable material soon.

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