Sunday, March 11, 2012

The F Word

I know what you're thinking, and yes, this word has four letters.  Fail.  F-A-I-L.  Have you ever seen such an ugly word?  It conjures up images of a scarlet F written on a paper and circled for emphasis.  It says you've lost.  That  you're a loser.  That bad things are coming.  That you messed up.  That you didn't plan accordingly.  That you're not good enough.

For many people, failure is a fate worse than death.  It's embarrassing.  Sometimes heartbreaking.  It's the same reason that people are so afraid of public speaking.  They're afraid they will make a fool of themselves, or be embarrassed, or get laughed at.  They are afraid that they will show the world their weaknesses and look foolish.

I love the question, "What would you do if you knew you would not fail?"  I think if we're honest with ourselves, there is probably a lot that we would do.  What would you do?  Would you go skydiving?  Put a bid down on your dream house?  Move to a new country?  Go back to school?  Run a marathon?  Lose 50 lbs.?  Adopt a child?  Run a 5 minute mile?  Apply for your dream job?  Be a reality TV star?  Do 10 push ups?  The sky is the limit... what would you do?

I have a challenge for all of you, and for myself.  Today I would like you to fail at something.  It could be little, like not being able to finish the New York Times Sunday Crossword, or a big, fall-down-on-your-face blunder.  You get extra credit for one of those.  

Just go out and fail at something today, and then smile about it.  You know why?  Because if you practice failing, it loses all of its power.  In opening yourself up to failure,  you set yourself up to reach higher standards than you ever would otherwise.  If you're not afraid to fail, you're not afraid to take risks.  And you know what the most successful and interesting people that I know all have in common?  At one point in their life, they stepped up and took a risk.  A leap of faith.  I hear-by give you official permission to make a fool of yourself.  Get to it.

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