Somebody said it couldn’t be done,
But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so ‘til he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with a trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing and he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.
– Edgar Guest
Wilma Rudolph was the twentieth of twenty-two children, born prematurely with a very doubtful prognosis. At four, she contacted double pneumonia and scarlet fever, which resulted in paralysis in her left leg and a leg brace. At nine, she removed the brace and began to walk without it. By thirteen, she had developed a rhythmic walk, something doctors called a miracle. During that same year she determined that she would be a runner. For the next few years she was last in every race she entered. “Quit!”, everyone said, but she was determined to press on. Finally she actually won a race – and then another, and soon she was winning every race she entered. Wilma Rudolph, the girl who was told she would never walk again, went on to win three Olympic gold medals.
In 1962, four nervous musicians played their first record audition for the executives of the Decca Recording Company. The executives were not impressed. In turning the Beatles down, one of the executives said, “We don’t like their sound. Groups of guitars are on the way out.” The Beatles went on to world- wide fame.
In 1977, Kenneth Olson, founder of the Digital Equipment Corporation, stated, “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.” Now it is estimated that there are one billion PCs in all the world, most of them connected to the internet.
After the first flight of the 247, a twin- engine plane that held ten people, a Boeing engineer said, “There will never be a bigger plane built.” Today, the Air Bus 380 can be configured with 555 seats.
Whether in medicine, technology, sports, or other disciplines of life, we are tempted to believe that each new threshold of achievement has taken us to the outer limits of possibility. Skepticism and unbelief have had to bow to the expanding limits of human achievement.
But! How does all of this relate to my world? This word “never” touches us where we live. The wife laments, “He never takes me out for dinner!”, to which the husband retorts, “She never tells the truth!”
That little word “never” delivers a powerful punch.
“You’ll never amount to anything!”
“You’ll never overcome that!”
“You’ll never survive!”
“You’ll never run… walk… see… (et al), again!”
Or we say,
“I’ll never do that again!”
“I’ll never get caught in that situation again!”
“I’ll never try that!”
“I’ll never go there!”
Yes, there are boundaries to human achievement and every person needs to have a sane estimate of the talents and skills that have been given to them by their Creator. However, we must come to terms with the fact that “never” has a strong companion — the fear of failure. The word “never” can be the fortified room that protects me from potential hurt. It’s true, if you never try you’ll never fail. But it is equally true that if you never try you will never succeed. The great hockey player, Wayne Gretzky said, “You’ll never score with the shots you don’t take.” Failure lets you know what doesn’t work so that you can adjust your efforts to find what does work.
Let’s look at one last area — Have you ever said, “I’ll never be like . . .” Rude, hurtful, abusive behavior should be avoided. However, “I’ll never be like” establishes a negative emotional focus. The wrong that we try to avoid becomes the template for establishing the right that we want to embrace. The irresponsibility of the alcoholic parent can produce over-responsibility in the reactive child. This can lead to the neglect of the family and household needs. Don’t let your rear-view mirror determine the direction of your life. Let timeless truth sculpt your character and shape your vision.
There are boundaries of respect and honor that should be firmly established. However, when it comes to the skills and abilities of your life, you need to cautiously avoid self-imposed boundaries, and at the same time, inject your will with a strong dose of self-determination to take steps of action to release the dream that is incubating within you. NEVER SAY NEVER!