Associated Possibilities Do What You Can’t

There are many things in life we simply cannot do. We can’t walk on the moon without a spacesuit, assuming we’re somehow able to get there. Most of us will never be professional athletes. Depositing a billion dollar check is not on our immediate horizon.

Is it worth setting impossible goals for our life? Purposefully aiming for something we know is out of reach?

On the surface, no. It would seem a recipe for frustration and cynicism.

There is, however, a hack you can use with impossible goals. And it’s particularly helpful for creatives.  

It works like this: set an impossible goal which is important and personal to you. In other words, if you were to somehow accomplish this goal, it would bring you great benefit. 

Once you’ve defined that goal (something specific works best), then list 3 things that are related to that goal, yet possible. 

For instance, let’s say your impossible goal is to travel halfway around the world to photograph a sunset 15 minutes from now. You won’t be able to because it’s too far away.

However, what goals might you associate with this? Here are some possibilities…

  • Photograph tonight’s sunset in your area from your favorite location. Explore ways of using your setting to best frame the image.
  • Experiment with the technical aspects of your equipment to learn how to make your sunset photo more interesting.
  • Do an online search to learn more about the country you wanted to go to in your impossible goal. Why is that country interesting and intriguing to you? How might that affect your approach to a photograph? Example: if you’re drawn to the culture of the country, would you want to include a person from that country in your sunset image? Would knowing that affect your approach to photography in general?

The point of this exercise is to help you think about associated possibilities when you run into obstacles or challenges. And we run into obstacles all the time! Thinking of an impossible goal might suggest some associated possibilities that wouldn’t have come to you otherwise.

Not all associated possibilities will be of equal value to you. Pick the one(s) that serve you best.

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