Last week, the vocalist from my favourite band, Otep Shamaya, posted this quote on their facebook page:
“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”
– Dr. Robert Schuller
And it got me thinking.
I would run a proper, full-day, paid workshop, sell my eBook and get some formal training for my energy healing. I didn’t even take a breath between reading it and thinking that answer. Well.. technically, my first answer was “Everything” but that’s a bit vague.
“Would you like me to give you a formula for… success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure… Go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember that’s where you’ll find success.”
– Thomas J Watson
Simplify your Work
This reminded me of a snippet from Tim Ferriss’s book the Four-Hour Work Week, where he separates the “what do you do” from “how do you earn money?”. For example, if I had a job, the answer would be:
What do I do?
How do I earn my money?
- Insert job title here
- Take part in paid psychology experiments
- Do odd jobs round my parents house
- Get older each year [birthday money]
What’s your skill?
- Breaking through fear barriers [getting good at, not an expert]
- Dancing? [apparently]
- Drinking herbal teas [I’m pro]
You catch my drift. Following on my previous post; society defines our successes by accomplishment:
- Position within a company
- Size of our house
- Type/number of cars
- Money earned
- Child’s successes/clothes/toys
“It’s about finding the right balance between work – having a creative dream, having a career and also being a mother and having the good time with your kids… to be able to spend time with them every day.”
– Stine Holscher
So I challenge you: decide which of these is idyllic and go for it. If you couldn’t fail, would you aim for a life with your family, living out your values in creativity; or work from 6-6 every weekday?
“By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day.”
– Robert Frost
Consider this: Which of the above two quotes would you prefer to live?
In my imagination, I’m in a smaller house with my husband; where the mortgage is small; we live happily on £30-£40 a week for groceries [he loves to cook/experiment] and thus out outgoing wouldn’t be too high. This would enable us to work less, so we could spend more time together/pursuing hobbies/ with friends and family.
Can you see yourself in that vision? Not in my house; get your own! (However, you can come round for dinner one night, if it’ll inspire you to give up working yourself into exhaustion.)
From what I’ve seen, the Nine-To-Five gives you:
- Something to do [time-wasters like meetings which put you behind]
But you often sacrifice:
- Healthy eating
- Priorities/Values that matter to you
Two Sides of the Coin
What are the chances of failure, and what would you lose? What would gain?
Things you may gain in a failure:
- Experience [skills – communication/leadership]
- Knowledge [to advise others]
- Perhaps money at first
- Clarity of what you want [That/ Not that]
Now flip it: what are your chances of success and what would you lose/gain by succeeding?
Things you may gain in succeeding:
- Community [new friends in the field/more time for friends]
- Relative Skills – business/time management or communication skills
Tell me that isn’t worth it.
Generally the potential losses are repairable: money and time. Obviously you can’t get time back, but since most jobs seem to cause waste, you may as well lose it doing something you love; something that has a chance at success: Time spent learning the lessons or skills that failure can teach.
“You’ll always miss one hundred percent of the shots you do not take.”
– Wayne Gretzky
“Nothing fails like success because we don’t learn from it. We learn only from failure.”
– Kenneth Boudling
“We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake, never made a discovery.”
– Samuel Smiles
“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”
– Woody Allen
“The things that hurt us teach us.”
– Author Unknown
“Make failure your teacher, not your undertaker.”
– Zig Ziglar
Just because you fail, it doesn’t mean you lose. Take a chance.
So, Dr. Schuller: What would you do if you couldn’t fail? You’d never learn, grow and thus never succeed.
Picture Credit: Behrooz Nobakht