What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
I am going through some big life changes these days and, I’ll admit, it makes me a little existential. I have always liked the notion that, right now, wherever and whomever we are, in this moment, we are an absolutely perfect blend of every single moment we have ever lived. Every experience, every relationship, every thought, feeling, sight, every taste and sound–all these things are the delicious recipe of us. And, what’s more, changing one moment along the path of our lives has the power to alter the entire outcome. Known in the chaos theory as the Butterfly Effect, this convergence of moments into our present selves is a big, mind-blowing idea that actually gives me comfort because, as a glass half-full person, it takes into account all the stuff–even the stuff for which we might feel a sense of disappointment or regret. If you are generally a satisfied and optimistic person, you get to embrace your dark side, your bad choices and your mistakes and chalk them all up to being a part of that great, big picture that is your life. You also get to hold onto the fact that, just as quickly and unexpectedly as one challenging moment arrived, a new flip-side can slip into view just as suddenly–often as a direct result of the other. As the saying goes, you never know the sweet without the bitter.
And, while life changes can prompt us to be reflective, I also notice that the temptation to try very hard to become a fortune-teller is quite strong and I wonder if this isn’t a dangerous direction for a healthy mind. It’s all too easy to get caught up in being so afraid of bad outcomes that we let fear and anxiety dictate the direction of our lives. We can end up choosing what we don’t actually want to choose at the very moment of the choosing because of some completely imagined outcome that hasn’t even happened yet.
I find all of this quite poignant because the cautious, fear-filled life leads to the quintessential death-bed scenarios of people who can’t stop wishing they would have done things differently, people who can’t help wonder what could have been if they’d only chosen what they wanted to choose without fear of failure. And as if our own fear isn’t enough to discourage us from living our truest lives, the people around us love to play judge and jury when they run out of their own fears. The irony, of course, is that we are a culture who truly values struggle on the way to success and, more than anything, loves to root for the underdog. We like stories of serendipity and chance and want desperately to believe that “everything happens for a reason.” It’s our fear that keeps us from being our own heroes and heroines.
I started thinking about all of this a few days ago when my favorite bestie sent me a link to an excellent article by Maria Brophy. Brophy is a creative Jill-of-all-trades and is the owner of Son of the Sea, Inc. which oversees her husband’s surf-related artwork. Her expertise is in licensing, marketing and promoting art and her blog is a treasure trove of information on all manner of art marketing. But it’s this recent post on Providence that inspired me last week. I especially love her comments about LUCK because I hear this idea of what makes me lucky all the time from people who punch the clock and ignore their otherwise creative impulses for a “real job.”
First, luck is not a factor. People tell me that I’m lucky to be able to travel and run my own little family business.
A freedom-based lifestyle is not created from luck. It’s the result of making a commitment to what you dream of doing, and then living it out as everything falls into place to make it happen. This is what I consider “Providence.”
Her article is full of so much inspirational goodness that I think you just ought to read it for yourself, particularly if you are feeling as discouraged about the world as the news media would like to have us be right now. She brilliantly weaves one of my favorite quotes into her post. It’s a quote credited to Goethe and, although the critical jury is still out on Goethe as the source, I don’t care one way or the other; I love the sentiment and find it invigorating thought-food for the heart, soul and mind:
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back– Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
So, this week, I’m talking to you about initiative, splendid plans, and boldness, my friends. What would you seize if you had no fear? What would you jump headfirst into if you didn’t worry about the outcome? What would you attempt to do if you stopped thinking about failure? Who would you be if you were being your truest self?
TRY THIS WEEK: Seize that day, everyone. It’s going to be a good one.