“Dare to Live Without Limits”
“The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream… It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for. Not failure, but low aim, is sin.”
— Benjamin Elijah Mays
Failure is a label stained with stigma. Early on we are imbued with such a fear of failure that avoiding it becomes a quest. Risk-aversion limits us from even attempting any endeavor in which success is less than virtually guaranteed.
As a result, you shun any objective, regardless of how desirable it may be, where there is a measurable chance it will flop. This causes you to miss out on so much! People without goals never run the risk of failure—if you don’t want anything, how can you be disappointed?
Imagine you have a high-performance sports car worth $1 million. You car is capable of incredible performance and handling. Your beautiful car is safely stored in the garage. Every day you spend some time admiring your car.
As much as you love the car, you refuse to drive it. The fear of getting into an accident, or even a fenderbender, keeps the car parked in the garage. And not only will you never experience the joy of driving your car, it will eventually become inoperable due to lack of use!
Now let’s consider a different scenario. A wealthy friend offers to give you a sports car he no longer wants. It won’t cost you a dime. Yet you turn down the car. You don’t want the responsibility of owning it. Additionally, you don’t want to be tempted to use it. Your own fears would prevent you from enjoying your dream car.
You probably consider these scenarios ridiculous. However, this is exactly how people treat their dreams, which are like the sports car. As a result, they never experience all of their own vast potential.
What if Thomas Edison had not attempted the invention of the light bulb? It was certainly a long shot. After all, no one else ever succeeded in creating a working bulb. It took Edison 10,000 tries to invent a functional light. Who would have criticized him if he abandoned his quest after 9,000 attempts?
Likewise, the Wright Brothers certainly faced long odds in their quest to construct a heavier-than-air craft that could actually fly. Throughout history, countless numbers of people had failed before them. What chance did they have in succeeding?
Our great country would not exist today if the founding fathers chose to avoid any chance of failure rather than risk dreaming of the birth of a free nation. Who in their right mind could think there was any possibility of a band of untrained farmers defeating the most powerful army in the world?
Don’t hesitate to dream. Formulate goals and pursue them. It’s such a waste to have no aspirations. Shoot for the stars! If you fall short you will reach the moon.
Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. Email Bryan at email@example.com or write him c/o The Resident.