“Dear David, I want to play centre forward for Chelsea…”

Time to Make Excuse –  30 seconds

Time to Remove Excuse – 10 seconds

“Dear David, I want to play centre forward for Chelsea, but that is never going to happen, is it? That proves people can’t achieve anything they want. You say people can, but they can’t. Still, your books are ok.” Mike (name changed by request)

I get a lot of emails like that one, and even more questions of the same kind, at events.

As I read the email I thought up a brilliant (forgive the humility) riposte. Prior to this I would argue with someone that they could indeed achieve anything they wanted, and it didn’t work – you would be amazed at the lengths people will go to, to convince themselves of the opposite.

It’s a built in self-preservation response – after all, the idea that you could achieve anything you want in your life is one of the most frightening thoughts you can ever have, so your ego has to prove it wrong, to keep you familiar, and safe…

Anyway, back to my reply:

“Dear Mike, thank you for your email, please do tell me, how many trials did you have with Chelsea before you chose to give up?” Best Wishes, David

No reply, yet.

Please, don’t go around making up things that you know you can’t achieve, because if you really did want to, then you would have done something about it. And, double please, don’t go around making up impossible challenges (“I want to fly without the aid of wings”) as you will conclude that because you can’t achieve anything, then you can’t achieve anything. And, treble please, DO follow Daniel Burnham’s advice – Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.”

With my love and best wishes


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