They say circus is the art of the impossible. Strange people on the fringes of society trying feats that seem impossible. By doing them, they defy that statement, of course. The impossible becomes possible. Still, what seems impossible, is rarely tried, but is it really impossible?
I think it’s a question of faith. Nothing indicates something is possible before you try doing it. If you succeed, you know it is. If not, you need to keep trying and not lose faith.
Having lived and somewhat prospered in a profession (circus arts) that did not exist in my country (Israel) before I started, was an impossible feat. When I began more than 30 years ago, the profession was practically almost nonexistent. At the time, it served as an excellent excuse to leave the country for several years…
Then the second Intifada started in 1999, and I harbored a dream of bringing what had become my profession by then back to Israel. After a year and a half of musing about what circus arts meant for me. I thought it could bring peace to the Middle East.
An impossibility, of course, how could an art form that did not even exist here bring peace to a region that for many years has been, although unfaithfully, starving for it?
I maybe need to explain this – everyone around here claims they want peace, but no one believes it’s possible. Until people like Anwar Sadat came and signed a peace treaty with Israel and then got murdered… Or Yitzhak Rabin, who was killed for having believed that living in peace with the Palestinian People is possible, was murdered too…
So you see, there’s a lot at stake, and yes, until today, peace seems to be an impossibility, but is it really impossible? I may be naive, but flying in airplanes, the invention of the electric light bulb, portable computers, or mobile phones seemed impossible before these strange people, “the misfits,” as Steve Jobs called us in his famous 2005 Stanford Commencement speech.
The point here is this – we all have that in us. This naivete, that greatness. As Scott Jurek said: “Every single one of us possesses the strength to attempt something he isn’t sure he can accomplish.” He should know, he attempted a few impossible feats in his life too. I know, you’d say, yes, but, all these people are special people, they’re not like everyone. Well, I beg to differ.
As I mentioned before, I believe it’s a question of faith. And if you don’t have the faith yet, get down on your knees, and faith will come. I think we can all do that, find that faith, even if it’s only by breaking down your impossible goals into small goals you believe you can achieve and then go further.
If to quote Scott Jurek again: “If you want to become a runner, get onto a trail…and run. Go 50 yards if that’s all you can handle, tomorrow, you can go farther.”
That’s how you train in the circus or any endurance sport. Practice, Practice, Practice. Start from baby steps, celebrate every little progress on the way, and then proceed to the next.
It’s worth giving it a go, even if you fail, there are enormous advantages in trying. Trying harder and giving it your best effort is even better. I’ll tell you why.
A few magical things happen when you go for the impossible. Here is a non-exhaustive list:
1. People join you in your effort
2. You understand you are not alone
3. You make new friends
4. You grow aspects of yourself you didn’t know existed
5. You learn new things
6. You extend the realm of what you thought was possible
If it’s only for this, it’s worth it, but you get so much more you cannot even imagine.
So, let us know in the comments below, what have you tried that seemed impossible before you did, and how did it turn out?
Surprised to see my back and hat... this festival - it was really wonderful to see it develop and become a reality through your work and faith... Yes! I believe in making the impossible possible. Thanks! Ora
Thank you, dear, for this comment, for making this blog come alive, and for your faith in making the impossible possible.