What Would You Attempt to Do, If You Knew You Could Not Fail?
This quote, whose author is unknown, is worth a few minutes of your dedicated focus. The genius of the question is that it simplifies “vision” by wringing out self-doubt and anxiety. Looking through that lens, if only for a brief window of time, can tell you who you really want to be. And that’s a big step forward to becoming that person.
The other thing a few minutes pondering the question will do is make it a little tougher to distance yourself from the answer to that question—to deny it. You might find the answer unexpectedly popping up over the next days or weeks or months. Because just a glimpse of who you really has its own power to remind you of it, again and again.
What the question really does is to put you in a little closer touch with who you really are, deep down. No, it doesn’t make all of you visible or palpable to you, but it reveals an important part of you.
Seeing that part of yourSELF won’t be enough, of course. You then have to move in its direction. And one step can begin that journey. If you were to answer the question with, “I’d run for political office,” then you don’t have to form a campaign committee tomorrow. But you could start researching what is involved with running for political office. You could volunteer for someone else’s campaign. You could write an op-ed or letter to the editor about an issue you care deeply about and see how it feels to enter the public square. You could host a fundraiser for a local candidate.
The idea here is to simply encourage the part of you that the question “spoke” to. The answer to the question is not a daydream, it is a beacon.
Sure, lots of people don’t reach their goals. But reaching your goals isn’t really the Holy Grail. Striving for your goals is. That’s the magical part of just moving in the direction of your core passion; it brings something alive inside you. It kindles your possibilities and powers your potential.
Too many of us avoid ever getting in touch with our possibilities and potential because it actually hurts. That’s how you know you’re in close proximity to them. Realizing what you really want to become is uncomfortable, because it reminds you that you are not there yet and that you owe it to yourself to strive to get there. Debts to oneself are the ones that accrue the most interest, psychologically.
Once you resolve to stop resisting your truest goals, you stop the debt service on them. You start wheels spinning in your heart and mind that are supposed to be spinning. And you also magically, mystically set in motion immeasurable forces that can add to your momentum.
The great Scottish mountaineer and writer William H. Murray put it this way:
This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!
Dr. Keith Ablow
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