Next time you think you can’t do something, think about Phil.

Many things is life seem insurmountable. Sometimes it’s true. Sometimes it’s just ourselves telling our brains that we can’t do it… Or society. Or as Tai Lopez says: “our 500 year old archaic mind”.

“What we face may look insurmountable, but what I learned is that we are always stronger than we know” — Arnold Schwarzenegger

Most of the time, it’s just a matter of perspective. And this is what this story is about.

When my wife and I were ready to leave Canada for the second time as nomads, we were getting rid of the only few things we owned, namely, a mattress on the floor and a bookshelf. Seriously.

I put an ad to get rid of the bookshelf and about 30 seconds later I received an email from a guy named Phil, asking if the bookshelf was still available. He’s the main protagonist of this story and will become our main source of inspiration here.

Audrey and I in our empty apartment before leaving Canada, for the second time.

Audrey and I in our empty apartment before leaving Canada, for the second time.

So I wrote back saying that of course it was still available, it had been 30 seconds only! Talk about a guy eager to get himself an almost pristine bookshelf for peanuts! He wanted to come pick it up pretty much right away. I couldn’t arrange for that, so we agreed on the next day.

The next day came and he arrived at my apartment fully prepared, complete with gloves and a two-wheeler dolly. This guys was not messing around! You could tell it wasn’t his first time. He was very skilled at maneuvering the dolly and making sure not to bump into anything. He loaded that bookshelf like a true moving pro. I don’t remember what he did for a living, but it was not moving furniture. Then we took the elevator down and I asked him where he parked his truck. He looked at me and said: “I don’t have a truck”. Confused, I asked: “So hmm… where’s your car?”. Maybe he was prepared to put it on top of it or something. After all, he was really well prepared when he pick it up upstairs, so it wasn’t out of the realm of possibilities. Then he looked at me again and said: “I don’t have a car”. So, scratching my head, I really had no other clue as to how he’d bring it back home. Maybe a friend would come to pick him up? But it wasn’t so.

Now, it’s important to note that Phil lived 30–40 minutes away by car from my apartment. There was no way in my mind that he would walk that. It would take at least 3 hours. And it was raining that day. And… he wasn’t in a particularly good shape.

Then he told me: “I’m taking the bus home.”. “What?!?” I said. We’re talking about bringing a 7 foot-tall bookshelf on a bus! But remember, he lives far. That ended being 2 buses, taking 2 hours in total. Imagine the scene. I don’t know about where you live, but Toronto buses are certainly not made for that. And it’s normally packed too. I can’t believe how hard to must have been to load this into the bus and not break anything or hurt anyone. I can’t imagine people’s reactions and especially that of the driver. He made it home and wrote me after.

I just couldn’t believe it. I could not stop laughing thinking about that story. But that guy, Phil, taught me a very valuable lesson that day:

When you desire something so much in life, you don’t care what other people are going to think and you’ll figure out a way to make it happen, even when all odds are against you.

I laughed at his idea when he told me. I just wasn’t ready for such an unconventional approach. I’m sure everyone on the bus were judging him and the driver was pushing back at the idea. But Phil persevered. He didn’t let anything phase him. He had his convictions and knew what he wanted and how to get it.

And put that in perspective too: he only saved $20 by getting it from me. If Phil has the motivation to go such lengths for $20, how can we not do the same for things we say we care so much about? He was laughed at. People thought he was crazy, yet who’s the winner here? Phil is! He achieved his perceived-crazy goal and taught everyone a valuable life lesson.

Thank you for that encounter Phil. You won’t remember me, but I sure will remember you.

So next time you think you can’t do something, think about Phil.

What about you?

Have you met other people in your life who did things you didn’t imagine possible? Have you done things people deemed crazy to achieve some of your goals? Does Phil’s story inspire you?

Thanks for reading! :)

First published here: