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Mission Not Impossible -- DeWese

February 2009

HOW MANY times have you heard someone say, “Never say never?”

A print salesperson told me, “Our pricing and poor quality will prevent me from ever selling $1 million in a year. I can never do it.” 

I asked the salesperson’s boss (owner of the company) how many salespeople she had who sold more than $1 million annually. She replied, “Seven of our nine salespeople produce more than $1 million. Three of the seven sell more than $2 million.” 

Get that? Seven out of nine never said “never.”

Think about some of these completely improbable statements:

“All of my money is invested with Bernie Madoff. My money returns 10 percent and is totally safe. Bernie is a genius who’s as honest as the day is long. There will never be any threat to my money.”

Whoops! Fifty billion dollars has disappeared, and Bernie Madoff has confessed to the biggest Ponzi scheme in history.

Twelve months ago, a wealthy business owner told me, “America will never elect an African-American president.” On January 20, Barack Obama was inaugurated as the first African-American president.

Here are two more mundane impossibilities:

“The Arizona Cardinals lost all five East Coast games during the 2008 season. The Cardinals can’t handle the jet lag thing. The Carolina Panthers are undefeated on their home field this year. The Cardinals will never beat the Panthers on their home field in the playoffs.”

Whoops! The Cardinals dominated the Panthers 33-13. 

A Philadelphia TV sports reporter said, “The Eagles are out of the playoffs. In order for the Eagles to qualify, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers must lose to Oakland, the Chicago Bears must lose to Houston, and the Eagles must defeat the Dallas Cowboys. It will never happen!” There’s that word again—never.

The Unexpected Happens

Whoops! On December 28, 2008, Tampa and Chicago lost, and the Eagles squeaked by the Cowboys by a score of 44-6 to become a wild card playoff entrant. And then, on January 11, 2009, in the Meadowlands, NJ, the Eagles completely defied all odds and defeated the Giants on their home field to advance to the NFC Championship game! 

And, finally, there’s another classic case of “never say never.” Only 10 months ago, an economist told me, “The U.S. economy is rock solid; we are in no danger of a recession and certainly not a depression. Never. Never.” Today, that same economist is writing about how he warned of this impending worldwide financial crisis. It is amazing how some economists can be so forgetful and self-serving. 



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