Friday, 1 April 2016
April 1, 2016 Chautauqua
Often you hear people ask what you would do if you knew for sure that you would not fail.
While that is a great way to get out of your own way, see beyond perceived obstacles, and take great leaps of faith, author Elizabeth Gilbert asks something different.
She asks, “What would you do even if you knew that you might very well fail?”
This asks you what is so important to you that you would pursue it, no matter what, even knowing that it may never happen.
What relationship is so vital that you will put all of yourself into it, even if it doesn’t last, or begin for that matter? What do you want to learn even if the odds are so stacked against you that no one will help guide you? What goal consumes you so much that your life will be meaningless without it?
Personally, I like this version of the question better as it puts the emphasis on the journey, or process, rather than focussing just on the end result.
But maybe what we should be doing is redefining what we call failure.
Every child “fails” at their first attempts to eat with cutlery, talk clearly, walk, play with toys and every other aspect of their early development. But, when as child does that, we don’t say they “failed,” we call it learning and growing.
Every child “fails” at something their first day of school, as they enter a completely new environment and have to learn new rules and ways of interacting with others. But, we don’t say they “failed” if they do something wrong, we say they are adjusting.
When do we draw a line and suddenly call our attempts at something new, or our exposure to new environments, a “failure?”
When my niece was younger and tried something which didn’t turn out quite the way she expected it to - i.e. she didn’t do it like I, as an adult, did it - her response was, “I’m just learning” and she’d try again.
Maybe if we did more learning and adjusting in our lives, we’d find we are more successful at whatever we do.
Read the complete issue of The Chautauqua here.
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