Or Can You?

Yesterday afternoon we got to the bus stop and boarded our bus. We would be on it for twenty four hours without a power jack, meaning that every last milliamp of power was precious. In particular, I always want to save my laptop power for Sett stuff and use my phone for anything else when I can.

It’s too bad I can’t write blog posts on my phone, I thought. The keyboard is just too annoying and it would take me way too long. I’d thought about writing a post on the phone many times before, but never actually tried it because it just seemed like too much of a hassle.

Once I was on the bus I did my Arabic tape and my Chinese, German, and Arabic flash cards. Then I watched the episode of TV I saved for the ride. After that, there was nothing left to do but write my blog post.

Okay, I thought, let’s just try writing it on the phone since it’s already out. To my surprise, writing on the phone isn’t bad at all. With the amazing autocorrect of SwiftKey, I don’t really even need to look at the keys.

It turns out I can write blog posts on the phone. I assumed I couldn’t without ever testing to see if I was right. Now I’m writing this post on the phone too.

That’s one type of illusory impossibility, the kind where you assume something is prohibitively difficult without knowing whether it really is or not. I come up against these all the time when programming Sett, hesitating to implement something, only to find that it takes less time and effort than I had worried it would.

The other type is when something seems impossible only because no one else does it.
A while back I really wanted to visit a friend in another country, but he was only going to be there for another week. Ahh, too bad, I thought. It would be crazy to book a flight for that night and show up the next day. I couldn’t do that.

Or could I? I had so many frequent flyer miles that it would barely dent my balance. I had no plans that the trip would interfere with. I realized that it seemed like I couldn’t do it only because most people don’t do things like that. So I booked the flight.

There are, of course, things we can’t do. Omnipotence isn’t part of the human condition. Even so, we tend to limit ourselves in our possibilities by deciding that things are impossible based on flimsy evidence. We get a lot of time here on earth, but not enough to artificially limit our possibilities.


Photo is from Laguna Sejar near Atacama, Chile. Expect lots of Chile photos in the near future…

Not sure if I’ll write a full post on Chile or not, but it was a really cool place. Highly recommended.

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