Around the beginning of the last century, polio was rampant, irreversibly paralyzing thousands of children. Immunization programs were introduced and Rotary took this as their major project. In 1988 350,000 children were afflicted with polio throughout the world, by 2013, the number had dropped to just 416 cases and India was no longer on the list of polio-endemic countries.

What did Rotary International do, they looked for the impossible and helped make it possible.

I’ve tried to do the same at certain times in my life; when I took over as chairman of a housing society, I found that certain buildings even after 25 years had not got their occupation certificates. With my team backing me I decided we would tackle the impossible.

We got the certificates for all the buildings within 6 months. And when you tackle the impossible, quite often all the forces of the positive will come to your rescue. I remember visiting the officer in charge of Occupation Certificates and as I sat waiting for him to look up from his newspaper, I found that he was reading the very newspaper that carried my daily column and wonder of wonders he was at that exact moment reading my column, having no idea I was sitting in front of him. He put down his paper, and nearly jumped with surprise, because all along, he’d been seeing my photo above the column and now there I was in flesh and blood. Whether he thought he’d seen a ghost or not I don’t know, "I'm sorry," he said, "I didn't know you were the chairman of that society, I love your column," and we got our occupation certificates within two months.

Tackle the impossible and the heavens open to help.

Many of us sit on boards or on committees. There is a reason for you being there, and the reason is not to go about doing the mundane and ordinary but to tackle problems others have left unresolved.

Most committees don’t go for the impossible, because the chairman or president want to have a safe year. But he or she also wants to be known as spectacular leaders, so they take ordinary projects like planting a few trees, giving a few clothes to the poor and photographing it and sending the pics all over to make people feel they’ve done the impossible.

The only impossible thing they've done is to make small, look big through clever photography!

Don’t get caught in this trap. Pictures may lie, but truth won’t. Look around; your impossible task, maybe something simple, but which others say can’t be done. For a club president last year, it was just the cleaning of a garbage dump, which people for twenty odd years had said couldn’t be done. It was done. What’s your impossible project? Do it, show it can be done, and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you can make the impossible possible ..!

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