2 – Find Your First Impossible Thing

If you didn’t come here from 1-Start A New Notebook, go back to step 0-Ask If You Are Ready.

We are going to jump in head first, and see where this takes us. You did step zero and 1, didn’t you? I will trust you if you will trust me. Let’s get started with some real work.

  1. Go to page 1 of your notebook. You probably closed it a few second ago, because the previous post told you to, but open it back up to page 1.
  2. At the top of the page, write this title:
    My List of Impossible Things
  3. Turn to the back of the book, to the index we started in step 1. Write the page number of the new topic you started, and the title you gave it on that page. You’ll do this every time you start a new topic, which might be tomorrow or only a few minutes from now.
    Are you done? Okay, here’s the next step.
  4. Go back to the list on page 1 and start writing down things that you think are impossible for you to do. Some examples might be:
    – learn to play the piano confidently enough to give a recital to family and friends
    – sing happy birthday for my parents when they turn (insert the next major milestone like 40, 60, 100)
    – go back to college and get a meaningful degree
    – support my kids in their efforts to attend college
    – get a better paying job
    – get a promotion because I deserve it
    – (and so forth)
  5. If your list goes onto the next page, write -2 at the top of the page to remind you this is a continuation of the previous page.
    If your list goes beyond two pages, write the title on the new page, with the appropriate number, and reserve the following page as well.
  6. Continue this until you have at least 10 seemingly impossible things. If you run out of ideas, see if these help you:
    – what have you heard other people say was impossible for you to do
    – what have you heard other people say was impossible for them to do, that you think would be fun/rewarding/life-changing
    – what things that are commonly accepted to be impossible that are of interest to you
  7. While you are doing this, feel free to be totally open to new ideas. You aren’t looking to do all the ideas you write down. You are looking for ideas that will inspire you enough to fill up this book and perhaps a dozen others. If the ideas are illegal or immoral or violate community standards, there will probably be some resistance from friends, family and maybe law enforcement. But if writing something down gets it out of your head so you can get to the idea that was trapped behind it, put it down on paper. The best idea might be out there on page 3 near the bottom. Wouldn’t it be sad if you stopped at the bottom of page 1?
  8. When you think you have run out of ideas, number enough pages to give you three times as many ideas.
    By this I mean, number six more pages if you only have the two pages you started with.
    If you filled up more than four pages already, you are going to have a lot of fun. Figure it out for yourself.
  9. Go back to the first impossible thing on page 1 and evaluate it against the following criteria.
    Use a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is low and 5 is high:
    – how much passion do I have about learning how to change using this impossible thing?
    – how much do I already know about this thing?
    If the sum of the two scores above is less than 5, go to the next thing on your list.
    If the sum of the two scores is more than 9, go to the next thing on your list.Do not dwell on what you pick for your first item. This one is practice. Until you know how this part of the method works, you won’t be able to find the thing that will really fill up your notebook. When you find that one, you’ll know you need to start a new notebook for it.
  10. Do not spend more than 30 minutes on step 9.
    The point is not finding the best impossible thing to do.
    The point is finding something between 6 and 8 that you can use to do the next exercise.
    If you get a 6 but think there is an 8, do not look at more than five more things to find it.
  11. When you find the  thing you want to take forward for the next exercise, do the following:
    – go to the index and write it down
    – go to the next blank page at the beginning of the book and number that page, then write in the title of the thing
    – go back to the index and write in the page number
  12. When you have your first thing on a fresh page, you can go to step 3.

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