In the mid-1970’s, journalism school student reporters were required to have at least two ‘major’ and ten ‘minor’ articles published in the university newspaper each semester.
However, our Texas State University professor, Jeff Henderson emphasized those were just numbers and that we should “create our own reality.” Essentially, this meant we should not be stifled by this quota. I began to write at least two major articles each week!
In one class Jeff asked everyone to take out a sheet of paper and write our names at the top.
Then, he gave us a challenge that would change my life forever.
“I am going to give you ten seconds, and you will write the names of two people that you would most like to interview,” Jeff directed. “Ready, go!”
After the time was up Jeff had each of us to read them out loud. I was a bit embarrassed because while most students had aspired to write ‘the mayor,’ ‘the police chief,’ or ‘a judge,’ I was naïve enough to write “Elvis Presley” and “Clint Eastwood.”
There were a few giggles as I read mine to the class. But, Jeff, raising a finger of caution said, “Hey wait a minute gang, there is nothing wrong with wanting to interview them. It may seem impossible, but I have a question for you.”
Jeff brought his finger down and pointed it right at me. He took a step forward and asked the question that would change my outlook always:
“Why don’t you?”
He startled me. Immediately I defaulted to reasons I could not interview them. “Because, they are in Hollywood and I am in San Marcos—“
“Nope,” Jeff interrupted. “Don’t go there. Create your own reality.”
Jeff forced me to think completely different. By nature my thoughts were flooded with reasons why I could not do it. But Jeff’s question, and the look in his eyes, hit hard. “Why don’t you?”
I immediately began to think of reasons why and how I could make the impossible a reality.
Within a year, I interviewed Elvis Presley and Clint Eastwood.
Each day we are creating our new reality. The same is true for the Russian Olympian Vasili Alexeev. He was attempting to break a world-wide weight-lifting record of 500 pounds. He had made it to 499 but couldn’t, for the life of him, reach 500.
Eventually, his trainers put 501.5 pounds on his bar and rigged it so it looked like 499 pounds. Of course, you can imagine the story. He lifted it easily.
After he created this new reality, other weight lifters went on to break his record. Why? Because they knew the old paradigm and boundary of 500 pounds was possible. Eventually, Alexeev reached over 562 pounds.
The limits we set for ourselves exist in our minds. Sometimes, if we let our hearts do the talking and believe in our ability to overcome past perceptions, we can create another reality.
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