What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? (And WHY this quote pisses me off!)

This original phrase attributed to Dr. Robert Schuller, American pastor, televangelist, and author is actually - “What great thing would you attempt if you could not fail?”

This phrase has kept repeating itself in my mind lately and not in a positive way either and it has actually started to really piss me off!

I have seen this phrase hundreds if not thousands of times like most everyone else.  So why is it having this effect on me now? Because it hit me in a different way than it ever had before.  I broke it down and realised that it really gave off a negative vibe to me personally. 

It landed as self-defeating . . . like -  “Well, let’s be honest, you’re not ever going to even attempt it  anyway because you know you can fail, but let’s just pretend  and imagine that you actually did”.

Well, I’m sorry that’s just not good enough for me.  My life is too precious and will never be long enough for me to just hypothesise and imagine the "what ifs"!


For a start, let’s just get rid of that word “fail” – I can feel the negative energy jumping off that particular four-letter word.  Words are SO POWERFUL and when you understand how they land in our subconscious mind it is so imperative to watch the words we use.  Because our mind believes EVERYTHING we tell it – it’s actually like a small child.  It doesn’t care whether it is good or bad, true or false, healthy or unhealthy.  It doesn’t understand sarcasm or self-put downs - it believes everything you feed it.

Anyway, there is NO such thing as failure – there is only LEARNING and GROWTH.  I think the word fail/failure should actually be obliterated from our vocabulary.  I’m sure everyone has heard the stories about inventors such as the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison – all the great minds who never gave up because they believed so strongly in what they were doing that there was no such thing as failure for them (thank God!). 

How about this? In 1926, one year after Scottish inventor John Logie Baird gave the first public demonstration of a working television in London, American radio pioneer Lee De Forest proclaimed the device a commercial and financial impossibility, calling it ‘a development of which we need waste little time dreaming.’  20 years later people still weren’t convinced, with film producer Darryl Zanuck stating in 1946 that ‘people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.’

Well Mr Baird certainly showed them didn’t he?!

I guess my whole point of writing this little piece was that you don’t have to live your life by other people’s quotes.  You don’t have to take everything at face value.  You can question it and see how it sits with you personally.  Make your own quotes up, ones that empower and excite you!

So I decided to put my own personal twist on this phrase - (just delete the words in the brackets)....

What great thing (would) are you going to attempt (if) that you (could not fail) may not succeed the first time around but you are going to do anyway?
— Suzie de Jonge