10   +   2   =  

Proof that anything is possible

Just this past week, while we in Denver were navigating back-to-back winter storms, I was also focused on the accomplishment this week of Nepalese climber Nirmal “Nims” Purga, who completed climbing the world’s 14 highest peaks in a little over six months. This is a goal that typically takes even the best climbers many years to complete. It is an incredible physical, mental, and logistical achievement.

It was part of his goal called “Project Possible.” After his achievement, he noted: “I am overwhelmed and incredibly proud to have completed this final summit and achieved my goal of climbing the world’s 14 tallest mountains in record time. It has been a grueling but humbling six months, and I hope to have proven that anything is possible with some determination, self-belief, and positivity. I could not have made it happen without the unending support of my friends and family who have been in my heart this entire time. We started with nothing, but look how far we’ve come.

It made me think about the things that can limit human achievement. At Colorado Academy, we are in the business of unleashing student potential. Certainly, there can be larger systems and individual circumstances that can hold people back, but in many cases, it is our own brains, our fear of failure, lack of imagination, or lack of self-confidence that prevents us from achieving our full potential. There are countless examples of humans who have persevered or overcome challenges, despite what life may have thrown their way. Just read CA parent, explorer, and disability advocate Erik Weihenmayer’s book The Adversity Advantage: Turning Everyday Struggles Into Everyday Greatness. Erik went blind in his teenage years, but is an avid adventurer who has climbed Mt. Everest and kayaked through the Grand Canyon. The title is self-explanatory, and those who heard Erik’s talk at CA last year about his journey know that anything is possible.

For young people, it can be hard for them to have or hold the perspective of endless possibilities. For parents, it is critical that we help them see that there are no boundaries or limits to life’s pursuits. At some point, children might learn that their dream of playing in the WNBA or NFL isn’t a reality. But, as someone once said, “There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.”

I will close with a lyric from David Berman and his song, “What Is Not But Could Be If.”  This has been getting steady play recently on my Spotify account. Let’s dream big, CA!

What is not but could be if
What could appear in the morning mist
With all associated risk

What is not but could be if

What was not but could have been
Was my obsession way back when
Now I just remember this

What is not but could be if

What is not but could be if
We could be crossing
This abridged abyss into beginning

And failure’s got you in its grasp
And you’re reaching for your very last
It’s just beginning

One has lived life carelessly
If he or she has failed to see
That the truth is not alive or dead
The truth is struggling to be said

So how do we get out of this?
Family shadows all of this
Through what is not but could be if
With all associated risk

What is not but could be if
We could be crossing
This abridged abyss into beginning

And failure’s got you in its grasp
And you’re reaching for your very last
It’s just beginning