Notes from Janey . . .
The other day, Tupelo and I had an errand to do at a local print shop. I sat down and loved on the resident golden retriever while we waited for the quick job to be done. All kinds of sayings covered the walls — mottos – creeds — posters — inspiring words, all. I had plenty of time to read most of them.
One caught my eye. It read: “What would you try if you knew you couldn’t fail?”
Ooh, I liked that one. Imagine having a golden touch, and anything we wanted we could have. With every goal we could think of, we’d be successful, fulfilled, thrilled and content. Our inner critic would not exist. If failure was taken out of the equation, our imagination and determination would soar. Undeniable strength would come from knowing how powerful we are as creators. Our life would be exactly what we would want it to be. The law of attraction wouldn’t be a theory or a philosophy, it would be fact.
When Tupelo came from the back room, I pointed it out to him. He smiled. Like me, he considered it a pep talk – a sentence to jumpstart our thinking into doing without having the fear of failure.
The owner of the shop saw which one we had singled out from the wall of words and nodded. “I like that one too. But an older gentleman came in the other day, and when he read it he said, ‘If I knew I wouldn’t fail, I would do nothing. What good is it if you already know the outcome? Where’s the challenge?’”
Ooh, I liked that too. I understand the man’s point. Imagine what it would feel like to know ahead of time that whatever we tried, failure would not be an option. Every cake would come out of the oven magazine perfect. Every creative endeavor would end up exactly like we had envisioned. Every client would be thrilled with our work. Metaphorically, we would reach every mountain we set out to climb.
I agree with the gentleman. After a series of easily achieved successes, we would think, what’s the point? Our joy in the achieving would feel hollow, our effort inconsequential. We’d fall into an uninspired state, and do nothing. It would have the exact same outcome as if we were afraid of failure in the first place. We would do nothing.
Think of the last time your efforts turned out successful and re-experience the elation that came from it. Why would we even consider short circuiting that feeling? It’s the mystery of not knowing the outcome that creates deep joy and satisfaction. Success or failure brings us our greatest life’s lessons.
It reminds me of the time we hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon with some close friends. Tupelo and I thought we were fit enough for the strenuous hike and were well equipped for the four day camping trip.
After hiking seven miles down the Kaibab Trail that first day I was doubting my sanity the following morning when I couldn’t roll out of my sleeping bag. My legs hurt so much I couldn’t walk without squeaking in pain with every step. My back ached with the memory of the 60 lb. pack.
Three days later I almost kissed the ground when we got to the top of the Bright Angel Trail. I was elated. I made it! I had blisters the size of quarters on my feet. Every cell in my body ached. But I was thrilled. The journey to the bottom of the Grand Canyon on a full moon, autumn equinox was not the easy outing I had envisioned. But because of the immense challenge and toll it took on my mind and body, it turned out to be one of the most memorable and worthwhile experiences of my life.
So the statement, “What would you try if you knew you couldn’t fail?” is true from both vantage points.
Coming from the first direction, let your imagination fly with the inner knowing that whatever you try, you will succeed. Put no limitations on yourself. Make a list if you want to. Then let this list be an inspiration to make your life better — however you envision it.
Coming from the gentleman’s outlook, let the statement be a kick in the butt. If life was easy, what would be the point? Life is worth every drop of sweat, and every tear we shed. The point is that we have to take charge and try beyond our abilities.
We do have a golden touch. We just need to believe we do, the courage to use it and the heart to try.
(Article and photos by Janey Wing Kenyon)
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