In a remote region of the Andes, two tribes were feuding. One tribe lived high in the mountains and the other in the lowlands. One day the highlanders raided the village of the lowlanders and kidnapped a baby. The next day the lowlander tribe assembled a rescue team to climb the mountain to find and retrieve the child. But the lowlanders did not know the trails and they were not skilled at mountain climbing. They struggled to make their way up the mountain, but after a half day of climbing, they could not ascend anymore. Discouraged and disappointed, they packed their gear to return.
Suddenly, to their amazement, the rescue team saw the baby’s mother coming down from the mountain, holding her baby in her arms. Baffled, they asked her, “How were you able to scale this steep mountain and rescue your child, when we were unable to do so?”
She answered, “It wasn’t your baby.”
If you want something enough, you will find a way to do it. If you are not very motivated, you will either not attempt to reach a goal, or if you do your efforts will be half-hearted and you will attain no measurable results. Motivation and intention are far more significant elements of success than circumstances.
Do not assess your possibilities on the basis of the beliefs or unsuccessful efforts of people less motivated than you. Their results are less a function of reality, and more a result of their beliefs and intentions. Nor do you need their permission to do what you want and need to do. The mother who retrieved her child did not ask the search party if the mission was possible nor did she request their permission. She just knew what she needed to do and she did it.
The compelling documentary Man on Wire chronicles the brazen feat of Philippe Petit, a visionary circus performer who, in 1974, strung a wire between the two towers of the World Trade Center and, without asking anyone’s permission, walked between the skyscrapers eight times. Petit and several cronies planned the stunt for years with an Ocean’s 11 level of craftiness and detail. They cased the World Trade Center for months, fabricated phony I.D.’s to gain access to study the building’s design, found an inside agent in whose office they stored their equipment, and hid overnight under a tarpaulin with guards walking past them just feet away. At one moment a guard saw the intruders scaling a back staircase with their equipment, but for some odd reason he overlooked them. Once atop a tower, they shot an arrow across the 200-foot span to begin to secure the 450-pound wire. While Petit’s feat was extraordinary, what it took to pull if off seemed even more astounding. After his tightrope walk Petit was arrested for trespassing, but he was released when he agreed to put on a show for kids in the neighborhood.
How could Petit get away with such a Mission Impossible? The answer is simple: It was his baby. He conceived the idea in the waiting room of a dentist’s office, where he read a magazine article about the planned construction of the World Trade Center. When he saw the sketch of two towers looming 1368 feet over Manhattan, the idea grabbed him and would not let him go until he accomplished it. Petit ate, drank, thought, slept and dreamt the idea for years. That’s what a vision baby feels like.
You, too, have a baby you love and believe in. It may not be as outrageous as Philippe Petit’s, but it is life-giving to you, and bigger than your history or fear. It speaks to you in your quiet moments and stirs you when you think about it. You are hungrier for it than safety, comfort, or the status quo. That’s the depth of cry of your baby that will drive you to fetch it.
A young man asked Ernest Hemingway, “Should I become a writer?” Hemingway answered, “If anything can stop you, let it.” If other people’s opinions, or scientific data, or fear can put you off from retrieving your baby, don’t even bother starting the climb up the mountain. But if you care less about what others think and more about what you feel, start your journey. If adversity does not put you off, it will strengthen you. If old friends fall away, you know you are on the right track. When new ones show up, you have a confirmation. And if you need no recognition from the world, but simply take deep reward from your adventure, it is worthy indeed.
Les Brown said, “Wanting something is not enough. You must hunger for it.”
Wayne Dyer echoed, “Motivation is when you take hold of an idea. Inspiration is when an idea takes hold of you.”
Quit trying to do something, and let something do you. There is a Power in the universe seeking to express through you. If you let it, doors will open that you could not imagine how to open yourself. Your goal may seem mountain high to accomplish, but if you love your baby enough you will find a way to bring it home.