Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

What Would You Do if You Couldn’t Fail?

Here’s a provocative question, thanks to my new friend Al Pittampalli:

What would you do if you couldn’t fail?

It reveals what is often really holding us back from living out our dreams: Fear.

Fear is holding us back. It’s causing us to bide our time. To wait and wonder what we’re supposed to do with our lives.

Al’s challenge is powerful, poignant, and timely. He shares more in this video (if you can’t see it in email or RSS, click here to watch it:

So, what about you?

What would you do if failure wasn’t an option?

Would you join the Peace Corps? Go skydiving or paint for a living? Spend more time with your spouse, being a little more lavish on date nights?

If nothing could stop you, what would you do? Chances are your life would look drastically different.

Couldn't Fail

Photo credit: Oran Viriyincy

It’s not as bad as you fear

Of course, the answer to this question is quite telling. Because more often than not, we don‘t fail. The things we fear will happen don’t.

Sure, failure happens. We all want to be like that guy in that movie Limitless — take a pill and change your life overnight.

But it doesn’t work like that. Fear is overcome like any enemy — inch by inch, one small victory at a time. As this happens, we learn that it’s rarely as bad as we think it might be. And we slowly begin to believe in ourselves.

We fear never being able to ride a bicycle, but eventually we don’t fall.

We doubt anyone will ever find us attractive. And yet, somehow, this beautiful woman (or handsome man) says “yes” to a date. (And one day, to marriage.)

We worry we’ll never get a job, but if we keep asking, eventually we find something great. Therein lies the rub: if we keep asking.

You have to try

We tend to blame the evasion of our dreams on external circumstances — not enough time, terrible economy, lack of marketability, yadda yadda.

In other words, we shift the blame.

Then, when we find ourselves living lives we never signed up for, we condemn ourselves, which only further immobilizes us. We say that we’re just too lazy or afraid to do such things.

And eventually, we grow careless and eventually jaded towards dreams in general. We lose faith. It’s a terrible, vicious cycle, and it all begins with this fear of failure.

Enough is enough

I’m tired. You’re tired. We all want out. There has to be another way of doing life.

There has to be a secret to why some people work through fear and others do not, why some constantly risk failure and many don’t. There has to be a way to be free.

Guess what? There is.

It begins with a question

The question, actually. What would happen if today, there was no possibility of failure? What if there only good and perfect things planned for you? But only today? It would be like winning the lottery, right?

You’d be more courageous, friendly, and imaginative. You wouldn’t have to think about people hating your ideas or turning you down. And this is where it gets fun.

Try living like this today. Just for a day, as an experiment. Take more risks. Dream bigger. Go for broke.

Nothing is holding you back now. You have permission. You can go back to being safe tomorrow. Right now, I want you to try something different. Do something with your dream that you’d otherwise be afraid to do.

This is how people who are changing the world live their lives every day. So it’s not too much to ask you to try it on for a single day. Is it?

I’d love to hear from you:

What’s holding you back? What would you do with your life… if you couldn’t fail? Let’s discuss in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I am the best-selling author of five books, including the national bestsellers The Art of Work and Real Artists Don't Starve. Each week, I send out a free newsletter with my best tips on writing, publishing, and helping your creative work succeed.

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