Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Friday 26 October 2012

Nothing's Impossible...

I overheard a man talking to his small son yesterday. He said, “Nothing’s impossible son...” 

That’s OK, I thought, the kid’s had a tough day; life’s not always easy, and a few words of encouragement never hurt anyone. Then the whole thing fell apart when the next thing the bloke said was, “Don’t worry about it.”

“Don’t worry about it”! What the hell is that?

If you’re going to say, “Nothing’s impossible son”, you’d bloody better end that sentence with something more appropriate; you’d bloody better go on to say that life’s tough, but with the right amount of hard work, dedication, time and application it is possible to succeed, that, eventually, you might climb the slippery slope of whatever your particular something is, and achieve a modicum of what you might have been hoping for.

The last thing you should say after, “Nothing’s impossible” is, “Don’t worry about it”. 

What is wrong with people?

It’s like when I hear some whining teen say, “I just want to be liked for who I am” when I know for a fact that she’s a spoilt brat. The answer to that is, “Then be the best person you can be, and you will be liked”.

There is no such thing as a free lunch, people. When are we ever going to learn that? And, more importantly, when are we going to start teaching it to our children? 

I am not suggesting for a moment that everyone doesn’t have value; I am suggesting that we value people honestly. What is the point of telling a plain girl that she’s beautiful or a dull boy that he’s clever? Or the other way around for that matter?

I know you’re thinking that it’s easy for me. I know you’re thinking that I was the clever, pretty woman and that I was handed it all on a plate. Well, I’ll tell you what my problem is, shall I? Apart from the fact that I’m not remotely athletic, which I’m not, and that I don’t hold information in my head for long, that I’m scatter-brained, and that I tend to put off until tomorrow what I could easily accomplish today? Apart from all of those very ordinary foibles, and we all have them, and the best of us do try to do something about them, shall I tell you what my problem is? 

My problem is that I don’t like doing things I’m not good at.

There you are... That’s terrible isn’t it? But, honestly, I just don’t see the point, and I’ve never seen the point. I bloody did do the things I wasn’t good at, though. Still do. When I had to do Geography and PE, I bloody did them. I didn’t bunk off or forge a sick note; OK, I didn’t throw myself into them body and soul, but I had to be there, so I bloody got on with it, because that’s what I was taught to do, that’s what was expected of me. 

The same thing applies to work now. I’m not a hugely organised person and I don’t hold information in my head, so research isn’t my favourite part of this job, but you can’t just make shit up... apart from the shit you make up, obviously. I was asked, recently, about that. I was asked about Geography, so that if I set a story in Paris, would I just make up an area of Paris and plonk in whatever I needed? I thought it an interesting question, and a perfectly valid one, and the answer is, of course,  no. If I set a story in contemporary Paris, I’d research the area, and the shops, cafes, houses, buildings, streets would be real, right down to the street lamps, trees, types of windows and window treatments, if at all possible.

So no, nothing is impossible, but yes, we do need to worry about it, and don’t you let anyone tell you otherwise. Worrying is good and useful and it will get you what you want... maybe... eventually.


  1. A lot of this sort of thing is a product of the "wooly bullshit" thinking in contemporary Britain and elsewhere where it's somehow taboo to even suggest to a child that they might fail.

    So fine, you might cock it up or you just might not be good at it. How the hell will you find out where you DO excel without giving things an honest crack? Some people will be surgeons, some will be bin men, and damn good ones too. Some of it will be due to something lacking in their upbringing, some people won't get all the opportunities others might, and sometimes it'll basically be genetic.

    It's important to try and sometimes you have to push through something you don't like and aren't good at in order to do something you want to do, but a lot of people would just hit that hurdle and crumble like a big crumbly thing.

    My own three year old has picked up this habit of saying he can't do things, and it started once he began nursery school. I hate it with a passion and would like to push the person who taught him this into a wood chipper to be quite frank, but instead will have to do it properly and re-teach him things the world has seen fit to bugger up on my behalf.

    Of course, I don't want to slam my child with a big, cold dose of harsh reality, but you're right. There's no point in having a laissez faire attitude to things if you want to achieve anything worthwhile.

    Too many nigh-on unachievable carrots are dangled in front of children as it is.

    Apologies for the rant... :P

  2. Wow.... Both the post and the first comment scream 'angry' at me, bu fair enough. I'm sixteen and I completely see where you're both coming from. And personally I agree, you do have to try at things, and this whole thing with lying to children and persuading them nothing's a failure is bullshit. In fact I'd love it if in college there were weekly tests to determine who is best in the class and who is worst. Or even in schools. I personally think that would really buck people's ideas up, if you're consistently last in a foot race, you know you're going to try harder to look better, less unfit. But if you're consistently last in the classroom, you're gonna try harder to get off of the bottom of the list. But obviously some ethical person will say: But you can't single out children! That's practically bullying! Well from what I've experienced, in the workplace if you're consistently performing lower than your colleagues, your manager is gonna start deciding if you're worth keeping.

    Hmm, I've just started ranting too. Ah well, whatevs, thanks for an intriguing blog post that made me want to air my views Nik :)