What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
I saw this quote for the first time a couple of months ago, and it’s stuck with me — no, plagued me — ever since. Because I just don’t know the answer.
I mean, there are a few obvious things. If I knew I couldn’t possibly fail, I’d find cures for horrible diseases, and bring about world peace, and probably make a bunch of money doing it. But those things all require skills I don’t actually have (unless you count knowing which bras create impressive cleavage, because that, I’ve got down pat). No, what’s really getting my goose is the fact that I’m not quite certain what I would attempt that’s even somewhat within my grasp. But I have a few ideas, and I hope you’ll share your ideas with me, too.
Yes, I would write a novel. A really funny one that would make people smile. I would come up with great fundraising ideas for my favorite causes, like PHF and the Alzheimer’s Association. I would train to be an impressive athlete. So why am I not doing that now? Am I that concerned about failure? Because I don’t really think I am.
I think the thing that’s getting me all worked up is that I’m not sure how I define failure. My parents raised me to believe I could do anything, and a part of me really holds on to that. Like, with a white-knuckled death grip.
Like, at present, I’m not working a novel, but I am writing and editing for a living, and even being called an expert (I KNOW!). I wouldn’t have guessed that possible five years ago, but, there you go.
I’m not able to pull in millions for the charities close to my heart, but I did help raise a few hundred bucks for the Alzheimer’s Association this year, and I’m currently heading Silent Auction efforts for next year’s Puppy Hill Farm Gala. Plus, we’re fostering our second adoptable dog, Millie, and I’m sponsoring Knudley, a Sanctuary dog at PHF. It’s not a lot, but every little bit helps.
I’ll probably never run a marathon, but I’ve completed other races I’m proud of, and I’m training for another one. I mean, there are millions of people who would never even dream of setting foot on a start line, so that’s something, right?
It seems to me that, if you don’t put a static definition on failure, you don’t have to fail. Working toward your goals should never feel like failure, even if your dreams and reality never quite meet. Even those setbacks you experience in that journey generally serve a purpose — you learn, you grow, you move on. I’m only 29 (for a few more weeks, anyway) — I plan to have many more years of not failing before I’m through.