I was running through my Twitter stream a while back and ran across this quote on @DavidRoads Motivational Quotes. I highlighted it as a question to ask my classes for their journals and then I got thinking about it more myself. I think my answer might have to be that there is nothing I would attempt if I knew that I couldn’t fail.
Here’s my thinking on this one. Why do we try things in the first place? For the most part we attempt new things as a kind of challenge to ourselves. When we succeed we feel satisfaction at success, if we fail we may give way to defeat or may try again with greater focus and determination. If there was no chance of failure, where would be the satisfaction in success? Short of something like single-handedly bringing about world peace, there aren’t that many things that would be worth the effort of “attempting” knowing we were guaranteed to succeed.
I don’t know, of course, but I don’t imagine that was the sort of thing he was thinking about when posing the question. Expected answeres might have been things like skydiving, committing to a long-term relationship, learning to fly, snorkling through the Cenotes, or riding a horse. Fear of failure can be quite debilitating for some people and certainly deserves some attention. But I stand by my own answer to the question. It is that potential of failure that creats the lure for trying new things.