“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”
– Launching a Leadership Revolution*
The first time I read this quote it hit me hard, because the answer is – a lot more than what I’m doing now. I can’t count how many times the fear of terrible things happening to me stopped me, all because I couldn’t count on these terrible things not happening. And I’m not alone in dreaming of a world of failure-free achievement, judging by the number of self-help books that use this quote.
It is true that many successful people plowed on despite failure and in the face of more failure, but I can’t shake the nagging knowledge of people who plow on after failing and keep on failing. I know failure isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it does make you feel like a useless piece of humanity using up the world’s resources, for a little while.
So I find it difficult to ignore the thought of failure, like this quote advises me to do. Or accept failure as part of the process, even though I know I need to. The quote does, however, inspire me to dream about what I’d like to achieve with my life. It helps cut to the chase of what you really want to do, even if you feel at the moment that that’s unachievable.
I’m pretty sure a balance exists between a healthy wariness of failure, and a healthy persistence in the face of failure. I just haven’t found a way to wrap my mind around that yet. Hopefully I will someday.
*I attributed the quote to the book I first read it in, which is Launching a Leadership Revolution, by Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward. However, a quick Google search shows it’s not an entirely original thought, and many people have asked a similar question – for instance, several sites attributed it to a Robert Schuller.