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achieve the impossible

To succeed at or overcome a task that is thought (sometimes hyperbolically) to be outside the realm of possibility. People can achieve the impossible if they work together. I felt like I had achieved the impossible when finally I received that promotion last week.
See also: impossible

near to impossible

Of such difficulty as to be or seem almost impossible. (Hyphenated if used before a noun.) The promises of the candidate during her presidential campaign are near to impossible to achieve, but they have garnered a huge following of dedicated supporters. The boss keeps setting us near-to-impossible deadlines for these new projects.
See also: impossible, near

be near to impossible

To be of such difficulty as to be or seem almost impossible. The promises of the candidate during her presidential campaign are near to impossible to achieve, but they have garnered a huge following of dedicated supporters.
See also: impossible, near

difficult is done at once; the impossible takes a little longer

Prov. Tasks that are only difficult are done immediately, harder tasks take longer. (Describes a very competent group or person.) The secretary in our office is extremely capable. She has a little sign on her desk that says, "The difficult is done at once; the impossible takes a little longer." In her case, it's not a joke.
References in classic literature ?
Crooks and his companions had been completely disheartened by this retrograde march through a bleak and barren country; and had found, computing from their progress and the accumulating difficulties besetting every step, that it would be impossible to reach Henry's Fort and return to the main body in the course of the winter.
I wish I were a woman so as to tell you how preposterously insane and impossible it is," he blurted out.
I have told you," he began stiffly, "that recruiting on Malaita is impossible for a woman, and that is all I care to say--or dare.
Still the man of him said impossible, and still the woman of her insisted that this was an impossible come true.
Maud happened to be playing a redowa up in the parlor, and Polly came prancing into the room so evidently spoiling for a dance that Tom, who was there, found it impossible to resist catching her about the waist, and putting her through the most intricate evolutions till Maud's fingers gave out.
At this successful stage of affairs Polly found it impossible to resist the loan of a pair of gold bands for the wrists and Fanny's white fan with the little mirror in the middle.
I can put them in my pocket if I feel too much dressed," said Polly as she snapped on the bracelets, but after a wave or two of the fan she felt that it would be impossible to take them off till the evening was over, so enticing was their glitter.
He had heard the opera many times, but it had never seemed so fine before, perhaps because he had never happened to have had an ingenuous young face so near him in which the varying emotions born of the music, and the romance it portrayed, came and went so eloquently that it was impossible to help reading them.
Jones grew more and more positive that they were out of their road; and the boy himself at last acknowledged he believed they were not in the right road to Coventry; though he affirmed, at the same time, it was impossible they should have mist the way.
One must let you drink your coffee in peace, at least," said Matvey, in the affectionately gruff tone with which it was impossible to be angry.
The petitioner, the widow of a staff captain Kalinin, came with a request impossible and unreasonable; but Stepan Arkadyevitch, as he generally did, made her sit down, heard her to the end attentively without interrupting her, and gave her detailed advice as to how and to whom to apply, and even wrote her, in his large, sprawling, good and legible hand, a confident and fluent little note to a personage who might be of use to her.
he said to himself; and an inner voice told him he must not go, that nothing could come of it but falsity; that to amend, to set right their relations was impossible, because it was impossible to make her attractive again and able to inspire love, or to make him an old man, not susceptible to love.
It was not long, you may be sure, before we had a second conference upon the same subject; when, as if she had been willing to forget the story she had told me of herself, or to suppose that I had forgot some of the particulars, she began to tell them with alterations and omissions; but I refreshed her memory and set her to rights in many things which I supposed she had forgot, and then came in so opportunely with the whole history, that it was impossible for her to go from it; and then she fell into her rhapsodies again, and exclamations at the severity of her misfortunes.
This was my scheme, and my reasons were good; I was really alienated from him in the consequences of these things; indeed, I mortally hated him as a husband, and it was impossible to remove that riveted aversion I had to him.
In their directly opposite opinion to one another my mother and I continued a long time, and it was impossible to reconcile our judgments; many disputes we had about it, but we could never either of us yield our own, or bring over the other.