I've always been a fan of, and susceptible to, good copy writing. In February 2004 I remember being struck by a campaign that grabbed me in the same infiltrating way only a favorite song can. It was the wide-open, you-and-we-can-create-anything mantra taking up position on every flat surface in sight: Impossible is nothing.
Impossible is not a fact, it's an opinion.
Impossible is not a declaration, it's a dare.
Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men
Who find it easier to live in a world they've been given
Than to explore the power they have to change it.
Impossible is potential.
Impossible is temporary.
Impossible is nothing.
At the core, Adidas tapped into what many of the presidential candidates have been feverishly working to do since Obama's Iowa speech: Hope. Yet they understood what many often miss -- hope is more than a noun, it's an emotion. Hope forms when imagination mixes with gut. More so than something simply rational, it has the power to stir our insides. It's head and heart. Hope also has one other elusive feature that makes it a triple threat that Dan and Chip Heath could love -- it's infectious. Hope isn't limited to our internal experience. It's communicable. Like any powerful meme, people are the carriers.
When I read "Impossible is nothing," it's like an anthem. I hear a rallying call. I see individuals taking up the invitation to do what others believe to be unattainable. I see people who, sometimes despite feeling small, have made a choice to pursue something they want. Like the American dream, it takes the power to act in and places it into the hand of the individual. There is no waiting around for others to do it for you, it's a call to action to prove the nay-sayers wrong. "It's a dare" that is available to all: put in the effort, learn, perform, gain experience, perform better, then achieve. I like that it's a dare; it's not a guarantee for success. Instead of a saccharine promise, it's a realistic assessment -- impossible is far, many think beyond reach, there's risk, yet despite all of it that, what are you going to do?
The invitation, I hope, is not rhetorical. There are many conversations happening today where it could be applied straight away: if you're waking up to improvise with Israel and Palestine; if you're brokering an acceptable outcome to the Kenyan elections; if you're 15 and thinking about being the first to go to college; if you're a junior in college and want to design a career that uniquely develops your talents or one that out-earns the previous generation; or if you're starting a business, like I am, where the odds are so stacked against you that best you can do you is take to heart each day "impossible is temporary." It's not rhetorical, it's today.
So when I saw Marc Schiller's video post this morning that confirms it's infecting China (at least those who have TV), and I hope many others around the world, I had a big smile. Impossible just got a global wake-up call.