It Couldn’t Be Done? Edgar Guest

At the start of 2016, many of us will have new year resolutions or plans for this year, either for our business or personal lives. If we are looking for ‘growth’ this year then it’s possible that our plans may be quite ambitious. They say the definition of ‘insanity’ is to keep on doing the same thing and expect a different result. So this year, our plans may need to take us out of our comfort zone and involve some risk, albeit hopefully a calculated risk, if we are to achieve that desired growth.

If you run your own business or have decision making responsibilities for a business, then you will know what it’s like to have that ‘vision’ for where you want to be in one year or maybe even five years time. It’s crucial to set the vision and develop a plan for its achievement. If you don’t know where you want to go in the first instance then you’re unlikely to arrive at the right destination.

Goals that involve growth aren’t usually easy to achieve. It may take hard work and resilience on our part and, of course, there will be the naysayers – those who will discourage you from setting the bar so high, those who will remind you of the economic climate and will give you all the reasons why it can’t be done. The truth is, sometimes it’s not even other people, it’s the voice in our own head that’s the worst enemy.  When those negative thoughts come, it’s good to replace them with positive ones, just like the poem below:


Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,

But he with a chuckle replied

That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one

Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.

So, he buckled right in with the trace of a grin

On his face, if he worried he hid it.

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

That couldn’t be done, as he did it.


Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;

At least no one ever has done it”;

But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,

And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.

With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,

Without any doubting or quiddit,

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

That couldn’t be done, and he did it.


There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,

There are thousands to prophesy failure;

There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,

The dangers that wait to assail you.

But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,

Just take off your coat and go to it;

Just start to sing as you tackle the thing

That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.


Edgar Albert Guest 1881–1959