March 1, 2010


Possibility is a word that paints a picture of potential and probability; an image that includes everything from finding fame and fortune to the cure for cancer. What moves one person to achieve their greatness while another is content with mediocrity? What are the factors that differentiate people who achieve their potential from those that search without finding it? When I read a good book, it is a good book because of what the writer reveals about the human condition. It is good because it goes behind the facts to reveal the story about the motivations, inspirations and courage that the characters acquire in their quest to overcome obstacles.

Each of us has the seeds of greatness within us - they are called possibilities. The real story about the giants who walk among us is not told in the biographical facts of their upbringing or even the circumstances of their successes but rather, it is in the reason that their particular seeds of possibility germinated. When we learn these things, we are inspired to search for what would help us grow our own seeds of possibility into our dreams of what could be reality. We become better people through the act of seeing others achieve great things through perseverence, skill and fortitude. This is a large part of the reason for the success of the Olympic Games.

Athletes toil in relative obscurity for four years and then step into glory for two weeks with the eyes of the world following their every move. A few thrive and emerge into the spotlight by finding the defining force in their lives that propels them to the finish line ahead of their competitor. The glare of the television camera illuminates this moment of success. But, it is the story behind the moment that makes these athletes heroes and it is this story that inspires other people to take a step toward their own greatness. This is the appeal of sports in general. The average young person finds within themselves the seed of possibility and nurtures this to a gold medal. The story does not happen on the day of the event, even though it is often a great story. The real story starts in the 5 AM training sessions before school; it starts in the brisk morning air with a dive into the pool or pulling on skates and stepping on to a cold hockey rink. It is found in the athlete that stays late and takes that extra 10, 20 or 50 shots at the basketball hoop after everyone else has gone home.

It is not the fact that some people are motivated to do the extra things necessary to achieve success; it is discovering why this particular person in this particular time and place. That is the story that interests me, and that is the story that sends other people out to achieve their own greatness in whatever endeavour they choose from athletics to medicine to business. Possibility exists within each of us and the fuel that powers its realization is emotion. When we see the hardships that athletes endure in order to achieve a few seconds on the podium, it appeals to our own emotions. It is this same emotion that drives that same athlete to go through the hurdles of life and succeed despite the odds. Hearing, seeing and reading the stories of people who have achieved their dreams inspires all of us to move one step closer to our own. These are the stories that change the world and they are truly Profiles in Possibility.

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