Tuesday, January 6, 2015

What Would You Do If You Could?

There’s a phrase that I like that goes like this: “What would you do if you knew you absolutely could not fail?” I like it because it inspires me to move forward and do stuff. But as I think about it a little more deeply, I find that maybe it means even more.

To start with, what does “fail” even mean? Does it mean that you don’t perform whatever it is to perfection? And what is perfection, anyway? Of course, for me, yes it means perform to perfection, at expertise level with no mistakes. But what if I took “fail” to mean “never start”? What if I decided that never starting and never trying, even once, was the only failure?  What if I decided that starting and trying something, no matter how it turned out, would be considered a success? How many things (and therefore successes) could and would I accomplish?

For instance, let’s talk sewing. I can sew and can operate a sewing machine. I can put together something that resembles a quilt. But I do not produce the quality work that my friends Denise and Kat complete (usually while they are also completing about 10 other tasks at the same time). I could give up and decide that I am a failure because my stuff does not look like theirs, or I can decide that my raggity-taggity stuff is lovely. And so I do (relieved that Kat and Denise live far, far away and will never see my stuff in real life). And so I keep at it.

Let’s talking running (or wogging or walking – take your pick). Currently I do not perform these activities quickly (and may never). Do I let my speed stop me from entering a race? Apparently not. I see the runners that take off like a bullet when the starter begins the race. Those runners are already at home and back in bed by the time I finish the race. But I keep at it, I am determined that one day I will indeed be faster – if only by a little bit.

There are a great many things that I am not very good at. But I’m not a failure. I may try something and decide not to do it again, based on the outcome. But how else will I ever know what I could possibly be really good at, unless I try it?

So maybe I’ll change that saying that I like so much. Maybe now I’ll think about it and say, “What will you try just to see how good you can be at it?” After all, you really never can or will know unless you try. At least once. Or twice. Here’s to trying new things - or anything, for that matter!
Today is a gift because: Hillder hvac and electrical check-up dudes; picking up Lindley and Everley at school; Lindley and Everley time


Denise in PA said...

Well, thanks for the accolades. If you sewed as much as I do...you'd probably be better than I am! o:)

Kat said...

I saw that quilt you made and you are doing just fine :-). You also run/wog/whatever much more than I do -- doesn't make one of us better at it, just different at it :-). I do like your perspective, though... the failure comes from never trying, the success is in the effort.

Girl with a Goal said...

I need to a lot more of the "what I would do if I knew I couldn't ..." Thanks for inspiring me!