On Sept. 18, 2008, I was sitting on the lawn of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, watching Mikhail Gorbachev being awarded the highest honor, the Liberty Medal. The former Soviet leader and Noble Prize winner was celebrated as a force responsible for ending the Cold War.

Gorbachev wasI had to pinch myself praised for the hope he gave to the millions hidden behind the Iron Curtain. Yet while hundreds of people around me watched U.S. President George W. Bush put the medal on Gorbachev’s chest, I sat there in absolute awe and disbelief, recognizing how completely impossible this moment really was. Gorbachev was standing on the lawn of Constitution Center in the United States of America, as I, a Russian-born Jew now living according to Torah values, was witnessing this moment with my own eyes. I literally had to pinch myself to make sure I was not dreaming.

Suddenly, it occurred to me that this was the message for our lifetime: “Anything is possible.”

In our daily lives, we predict future outcomes based on yesterday’s experiences. After all, individuals and societies establish statistical probabilities and expectations for all of us.

But I remember watching that surreal moment—presidents of nations that were once bitter enemies now laughing and shaking hands. This completely unexpected turn of events made me contemplate: Why should I expect the same challenges and outcomes that I confronted prior to this? Perhaps this type of limiting vision sets up a platform for “presumed” failure. Here was Gorbachev thanking the American people, clearly demonstrating that tomorrow might bring a complete “breakthrough” in any aspect of our lives. As I continued to witness the scene, I learned to accept that past circumstances, mistakes and failures do not necessarily linger into our “anything is possible” mentalities; we just need to think outside of our self-imposed limitations and fears and trust in our Creator’s abilities.

It takes courage to fearlessly believe in the possibilities of tomorrow. In moments of despair, think back to times when events unexpectedly turned 180 degrees, uncovering a completely unpredictable reality. Anything can happen because uninhibited vision and trust in G‑d liberate us from all impediments. Why not use our imagination and “presume” that tomorrow will be magnificent?

Born in the former Soviet Union during the reign of the Communist regime, I can testify that it would have been impossible to imagine that one day I would live to write this article. It was completely unrealistic, unfeasible.

Considering the relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States, the prospect of me even visiting the “enemy” land was out of the question. After hearing so many frightening facts about America, I would probably have been too scared to even fly above it on an airplane. I failed English in second grade, and my teacher confidently declared to my parents that I would never master the language. This, she affirmed, was unachievable for me. And, of course, there was the Jewish factor; anti-Semitism influenced my life. My identity felt more like a genetic disease than a “light upon the nations.”

Every single event, factor and statistical analysis with absolute certainty would predict my future to be the exact opposite of what it is today. This is not just a fairytale, this is my real-life story, and that of millions of other Russian-born Jews.

As I got up for the final applause, I suddenly felt a powerful surge of energy. I moved with the crowd to see the two heads of state exit the stage. I suddenly felt exhausted and light-headed. I asked the security guard if I could use the washroom. I was pointed to the Constitution Center Building.

I moved slowly, processing this memorable moment and, suddenly, I saw Gorbachev walking with his security guards towards me on their way to the celebratory dinner. I stared in disbelief. As he walked passed me, I surprised myself with my own words in a familiar Russian language, ringing as if I was an observer and not a participant. “Mr. Gorbachev,” I said, “I am a Russian-born Jew. We immigrated in 1989. I respect you and feel gratitude for the life I have today. Meeting you is a great honor. May I ask you for your autograph as a memory of this important day?”

Without a blink of an eye, he simply replied with a phrase that summarized this entire experience: Ваша жизнь мой автограф (“Your life is my autograph”). He continued to move forward as I stood frozen, watching him, thinking about his profound words.

It took me a while to compose myselfThe lesson he taught continues to be meaningful and return to my family outside, yet the lesson that Mikhail Gorbachev taught me continues to be as meaningful and significant as ever.

I am a link in the eternal chain of collective Jewish destiny. Again and again, the Jewish nation miraculously survived unspeakable calamities, tragedies and pain. If my life can be viewed as an autograph of a Soviet leader, then it certainly can be considered a sign of all the miracles that the Jewish people have experienced throughout history. We are an eternal nation—not bound by presumed limitations, natural tendencies and mediocrity. Even Leo Tolstoy famously declared: “The Jew is that sacred being who has brought down from heaven the everlasting fire and has illuminated with it the entire world.”

The Torah teaches us that we are a “light upon the nations,” and we must remember that anything—absolutely anything—can happen on both a personal and national level.

“Think good, and it will be good” is a Chassidic motto. The outcomes of our experiences do not appear out of nowhere. With our belief in G‑d, we shape our reality.

Jewish people today are the autographs of the sacred covenant with the Almighty G‑d Himself. We have not only survived, but flourished, again and again. Open your life to the miraculous outcomes. Anything can happen, for you have the power to autograph your life with the mark of an infinite Creator with endless possibilities.