Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion…

What we can do is limited only by our drive to succeed. Despite all the feel-good stories – most popularly told to us via YouTube videos – we, as humans, still tend to make excuses for not even taking a chance. It seems only when we’re faced with dibilitating circumstances, or even death, that we wake up and realize that life is short and if we want to make our mark on the world, we need to get going. Even then, only a small percentage actually turn words into reality.

I’m talking about guys like Nick Vujicic, who’s self-portrait video has garnered more than a million hits on YouTube. The series, titled “No Arms, No Legs, No Worries” tells the story of a man who refuses to let the hand he was dealt stop him from inspiring others to quit complaining and realize we’re all beautiful.

I’ve known many disabled people who have consistently proven they really have no disabilities at all, but simply a different way of doing things. When we’d launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds so my blind husband’s movie – an independent thriller – could be completed in post, caused the cycle of disbelief started all over again.

Joe Monks - Blind Film Director
“Blindness may take your sight, but it cannot steal your vision.” – Joseph M. Monks, Blind Film Director

When I’m met with naysaying about Joe’s own efforts to direct a feature film, I’m utterly confused. I’m not talking about comments like, “Wow, I can’t imagine how he did that!”, but rather advice that he should stop trying to chase the abilities he’s lost, and move onto something else.

No, I’m not stretching the truth here. And it makes me wonder why it’s so unbelievable that he could have written a movie script, built the set and directed from start to finish.

I share with you the following – a video that spotlights Joe himself. Here, you’ll see that he used power tools to build the set and worked directly with the cameraman to get the shots he wanted. A little swordfighting is thrown in (not staged, either – he’s actually dueling a seasoned competitor in a packed room) just for kicks, as well as testimony by some of the actors.

So, give it a watch, then tell me… is it really impossible for the blind to accomplish the same things as the sighted? Why are stories of people in wheelchairs playing basketball extraordinary, but the blind working in a “visual” field perceived as an impossibility?

As Joe says, “Blindness may take your sight, but it cannot steal your vision”.

Trouble viewing this video? Launch it right at YouTube.
  • The title of this post is a quote by Muhammed Ali, which continued:
“Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
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  • Margaret Almon

    I worked as a reader for a student who was blind when I was in college, and remember my distress when his thesis advisor had some very rigid ideas about what “blind people” were like and what they could do, in spite of the fact that this student lived in his own apartment, traveled around, had his own life. The perceptions of what people who are blind can accomplish are extremely limiting, and a failure of the imagination of sighted folks.

    • Pamela

      Margaret – thanks for sharing! You’re right – the perceptions are definitely limiting.

  • Chuck Lasker

    I have a grand-niece born blind. She does not “realize” that she’s supposed to just give up and accept a fate of a limited life, as society has declared. She’s fearless and happy and has never said, “I can’t.”

    Sometimes people see someone overcoming obstacles and succeeding, and it makes them uncomfortable because it reveals the folly of their own weak excuses. Their defense is to try to crush the other person’s goals. It’s sad, really. My suggestion is to just pity them, because their psychological limitations are greater than Joe’s physical limitations.

    Have you tried for fundraising?

  • The Surveillance Guy

    Great Article. Just because a person has a disability it does not mean we’re dead. I live with things all the time, it may take a bit more work and some more trials but still we get it done. Just like Chuck says there’s just not saying I can’t in a person’s vocabulary, you take what you have do your best and get used to it and deal with and move on. Take me to an airport there is so much metal in me I always know I’m going through security. Love this Article. Very Inspiring!!!

    • Pamela

      Now, see? Another great point: You never know what others have gone through. Thanks for sharing about all your metal bits and pieces. Just proves that everyone has a story and it’s always possible to overcome your obstacles.

  • http://Website Devil’s Advocate

    Without question, it is a testament to Nick’s persistence and force of will that he is able to bring his dreams to fruition. Certainly, it’s no small task to construct a story and then keep a cast and crew all moving in the same direction. However, film is a visual medium and Nick lacks the visual sense. How can he direct the cinematography? How can he tell if the grips have appropriately lit a set? How can he tell if an actor is physically fulfilling the script? The answer is; he can’t. So, while it may not be impossible for him to direct a film, but it is impossible for him to direct one well.

    • Pamela

      To (anonymous):

      I think it’s odd you make such a claim as fact when you haven’t seen the actual movie. Perhaps you should come to Florida some time and watch Joe direct? He is very visual – sure, he has to confirm things with the crew (and the script supervisor’s job is to ensure the scenes are shot correctly as well), but to say it’s impossible? Joe would be happy to show you how he works.

      BTW, it’s not the director’s job to “light” a set. Perhaps in one-man-shows that’s how it’s done, but certainly not on a completely staffed set. If you watch the video I posted in this thread you’ll see exactly how to explains what he wants. He’s very descriptive.

  • Pamela

    Joe’s project on Kickstarter is listed here:

    Pledging ends on September 30.