August 4, 2011


How would you live your life differently if you knew you could not fail?

I don't mean to get all self-helpy on you but I saw a version of this question online the other day and it got me thinking.

We all live our lives fearing, to some extent, failure. Because we all fail. Me? I sometimes lack confidence in myself professionally. I'm positive I'm getting fired, that I'm in over my head, that I'm somehow managing to fool everyone around me. Do I really honestly believe that? Not most of the time. But those mostly unfounded fears make me better at what I do. Because fear of failure can itself be a valuable motivator and responsible for successes.

The bottom line is that I'm not sure I'd want to live my life free of the fear of failure. It might actually make me less good at some things.

What about you? How would you live your life differently if you knew you could not fail?

Posted by Chris at August 4, 2011 7:42 AM

Honestly, I'm not sure it would change anything now. I don't really fear failure at this point in my life. I guess that means I'm not trying hard enough or going out of my comfort zone at all, which is kind of pathetic now that I think about it!

My younger self would have been much more daring though as I was terrified of failure. For the longest time I wouldn't even try something new if I didn't think I could be good at it. I'm hoping to teach my kids that failure is okay.

Posted by: Elizabeth at August 4, 2011 8:05 AM

I don't think I would want to do anything different. I strive to get better each day. I don't exactly fear failure so much as I respect it.

It makes me really happy when I am successful and I push myself a little harder to keep up the standard.

Maybe it is the military training. Maybe it is that, in my mid-thirties, I am finally just happy with all that I have and enjoy sharing it with my family. :)

Posted by: Holly Reynolds at August 4, 2011 8:27 AM

I don't know if its necessarily a fear of failure so much as a realization of the consequences of failure that I use as a motivator.

Posted by: J at August 4, 2011 8:58 AM

I'd be worried about becoming complacent. If you can't fail, what's the point of pushing yourself? Ambition is no longer necessary. Personal growth and any success worth having happens outside of comfort zones. Without the possibility of failure, the world is your comfort zone. This is why I worry about the current generation of kids wherein everyone gets a trophy and no one fails. It's setting a dangerous precedent and instilling some damaging neural pathways that will be hard to re-route.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at August 4, 2011 9:16 AM

I would become a master gardener if I knewmi would never fail at it!!
Yes, I know that sounds totally stupid but I don't like to take it on because why spend the money if things aren't going to come up when planted or die because I forget to water them.
I'd knit more stuff too!

Posted by: NancyB at August 4, 2011 9:34 AM

I'd wish I could do my degree over, with a much better GPA, and I'd get into grad school on a scholarship and not have this debt :P Also I'd probably pursue (all) relationships differently, if not failing was the same as not being rejected. I wouldn't be so chicken to make friends :P

Posted by: Heather at August 4, 2011 9:57 AM

I totally think it depends on everyone's definition of failure and success. Does it mean I would be the best at everything I do--that I or my family would not need or want for anything? Then I think that would probably cause me to be lazier than I already am! If I didn't have to really TRY at anything but always come out on top, I wouldn't have to push myself very hard. But if it meant I would get by at my job and nothing terrible would happen like getting fired or losing my house--then I wouldn't act any differently because I'd still be striving to be better. Oh, and in general I would probably be more adventurous and less frugal :)

Posted by: Susan at August 4, 2011 10:13 AM

I don't know if I'm afraid of failure so much as I cannot fail because I'm the one supporting my whole family. If I had leisure, I'd write more, maybe publish a book. But I can't take the time to do that now; I don't have the luxury of taking the chance.

Posted by: Brooke at August 4, 2011 12:08 PM