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On Impossibility...


If you say ‘That’s’ impossible!’ to a creative person, it is like a red rag to a bull. They will either charge straight at you or dive off to the lab to prove you wrong. Impossible is a great block to thinking, which say ‘don’t even try’. So most don’t, until some hapless idiot goes and succeeds.

See also

certainty, constraints*, criticism*, genius, leaping, perception, questions


‘Probable impossibilities are to be preferred to improbable possibilities.’


‘Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.’

St. Francis of Assisi

Impossibility: a word only to be found in the dictionary of fools.’

Napoleon Boneparte

‘Every noble work is at first impossible.’

Thomas Carlyle

‘"There is no use in trying," said Alice. "One can’t believe impossible things."
"I dare say you haven’t had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."‘

Lewis Carroll

‘It is really quite amazing by what margins competent but conservative scientists and engineers can miss the mark, when they start with the preconceived idea that what they are investigating is impossible.’

Arthur C. Clarke

‘The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.’

Arthur C. Clarke

‘When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.’

Arthur C. Clarke

‘It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.’

Walt Disney

‘Impossibility is only the figment of an insufficient imagination.’

Phil Duncan

‘How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?’

Arthur Conan Doyle

‘I have learned to use the work "impossible" with the greatest caution.’

Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows.’


‘It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.’

Robert Goddard

‘In two words, impossible!’

Samuel Goldwyn

‘It’s absolutely impossible, but it has possibilities.’

Samuel Goldwyn

‘The impossible is often the untried.’

Jim Goodwin

‘Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.’

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.’

Charles F. Kettering

‘The Wright brothers flew right through the smoke-screen of impossibility.’

Charles F. Kettering

‘Th’invention all admir’d, and each, how he to be th’inventor miss’d; so easy it seem’d once found, which yet unfound most would have thought impossible.’

John Milton

‘However far modern science and technics have fallen short of their inherent possibilities, they have taught mankind at least one lesson: Nothing is impossible.’

Lewis Mumford

‘What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible.’

Theodore Roethke

‘The difficult is that which can be done immediately; the impossible that which takes a little longer.’

George Santayana



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