Harry Houdini, who won fame as an escape artist early in the twentieth century, issued a challenge wherever he went. He claimed he could be locked in any jail cell in the country and set himself free within minutes. He had a long track record of doing just that!
One time, however, something seemed to go wrong. Houdini entered a jail cell in his street clothes. The heavy metal doors clanged shut behind him, and he took from his belt a concealed piece of strong and flexible metal. He set to work on the lock to his cell, but something seemed different about this particular lock. For thirty minutes he worked without results. An hour passed. This was long after the time that Houdini normally freed himself and he began to sweat and pant in exasperation. Still, he could not pick the lock.
Finally, after laboring for two hours, Houdini–feeling a sense of failure close in around him–leaned in frustration against the door he could not unlock. To his amazement, as he collapsed against the door, it swung open! It had not been locked in the first place!
How many times are challenges impossible–or doors locked–only because we think they are? When we put our minds and energy towards them, we often find the impossible task turned into achievements.