I have been a fan of Robert Schuller, the televangelist and retired pastor of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. Rev. Schuller speaks quite a bit on the power of positive thinking and has published many books on the topic. An email came across my inbox the other day with the following Robert Schuller quote in the signature.
“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” — Robert Schuller
I have never seen that quote before. I have to admit I really like it a lot. What appeals to me about this quote is the open ended nature of the sentence. It is not at all limiting but is inviting. It invites me as a reader to apply it to whatever facet of my life I have on my minds.
Sure, I have been thinking about it since I read it. It’s the topic of this blog entry. As I plan my long and challenging cycling journey this summer, it invites me to expand my horizons on what I can accomplish and allows me to take on that challenge with a more positive attitude and outlook. I know I will not fail.
Right now I am working on a committee to establish a long-term post-op bariatric support group. We are in the early planning phase of this effort. “If you knew you could not fail” has been beneficial as I participate in brainstorming and idea exchanges with the other planners. I find myself looking past the obvious traditional weight loss surgery support formula and looking at it with fresh eyes.
I am a person who for years was defined by limiting myself so that I could avoid the embarrassment of failing. This of course led to many missed opportunities and allowed a good part of my life to pass by as I watched on the sidelines. Most people who know me would most likely disagree with this statement. You see, I hid it well. I over-excelled and over-performed in areas I did very well. It created that illusion that I had no fear of failure. Tricky little guy, wasn’t I?
Today I allow myself to fail. That’s the truth. I still am an overachiever in many areas and successful in many ways. But I now put myself out there, even when I am not sure I will succeed. Guess what? Sometimes it pays off and I succeed. Other times I fail. I now use those failures as ways to challenge myself to succeed next time and lessons about what I did wrong.
Robert Schuller’s message is all about putting yourself out there. From my personal experience, I can tell you that it won’t kill you (unless it involves standing in front of a moving train). People don’t care as much about your failures as much as you think they do. People do admire you for trying something new and conquering a challenge. Spend the next week thinking about “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” I guarantee that you will be in better place at the end of the week.
“The guy that puts himself out there”