What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
This question is in the same difficult category as “what would you do for a job if money wasn’t an issue?” Most would write off this idea because you say, “but money is an issue” or “failure is a possibility.”
And it hurts, doesn’t it. Failure hurts. We fear it deeply, like it’s ingrained in us from our early years of falling down and scraping our knees. But what I don’t understand is why fear of failure has taken a hold of us so ruthlessly.
Rub some dirt in it
Didn’t we get up from those falls after all? What failure, exactly, are we so afraid of that is keeping us from living life fully? Are the consequences so permanent that we must live in paralysis? I mean, take a moment to consider: is it truly better to risk your entire life secluded in a chrysalis of safety than to choose a valiant story living on the other side of metamorphosis?
What are we really afraid of?
Sticking with the butterfly analogy: do we think our wings will get damaged if we try to fly? Will they think our markings ugly? Or is it simply the fear of the unknown? Perhaps slinking around as a caterpillar is sufficient risk and we can’t bare to think of our lives on the mysterious other side of the cocoon.
Fail already — There is freedom in failure!
I listened to a great podcast on NPR’s Freakonomics Radio that suggested we stand on the other side of failure and look at the mess. Envision yourself having already fouled up.
Now that you’ve acknowledged failure, what do you see? Was it really that bad? What exactly happened? If the consequence of failure is really that legitimate, is it also impossible to mitigate? Create your safety net to protect against death and then step off the ledge! Fear shouldn’t keep you in the car, when you’ve got the opportunity to experience life in the harness.
Go ahead… live free, fail fast, get up and do it again! The only true failure is staying paralyzed in fear.