If I Knew I Couldn’t Fail . . .

image from classicaustraliantv.com

image from classicaustraliantv.com

WordPress just wrote about blog events, so I checked some of them out. Some are questionnaires or challenges and some are writing prompts.

This is the introduction to the Daily Passion Prompt:

We live in a busy world, and sometimes we forget that passion and purpose are more important than promotions and PR.

Over the next 39 days, I’ll post one compelling question a day to help guide you towards re-igniting, re-discovering, or re-designing what you’re passionate about in life – both personally and professionally!

If you’ve lost that sense of passion about your work, career, school, or personal life; then these questions will serve you well.

The Daily Passion Prompt for today is “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

Oh boy, where to start?

Well, I’d become a helicopter pilot, I’d hike down into the Grand Canyon and back up, I’d create mixed media masterpieces and make a bundle and have lots of fun selling them at booths all over Austin and I’d write the great American novel. Ha! Wouldn’t that last one be ironic?

But I would fail at all these endeavors.

A helicopter pilot was the first thing I ever wanted to be when I grew up. Skippy was my favorite television show in Australia, and Ken was my favorite character, because he flew a helicopter. But learning to fly a helicopter involves lots of math, and I’d never make it.

I’m obese now, so hiking down into the Grand Canyon would definitely be an epic fail. Hiking down anything isn’t the problem; hiking back up is. More importantly, hiking up would be embarrassing. And expensive. Hiking up would last about 100 feet, and then it would involve an ambulance, a guerney, two strong EMS guys, and paying for all of that. So forget about it.

I don’t know how many times I’ve started writing a book. My first attempt was at age 7. I started at least ten books in the next seven years–all of them about a girl who runs away from home because she has an evil mother. I had no problem writing the part where she runs away and finds a good cave to live in. But then what?

My last attempt–last year–was pretty much the same. Fifty pages about a woman running away and finding a cave and getting supplies there in secret, but then what? Apparently my writing skills have not evolved since I was 14. That’s pretty discouraging.

But hey, you love my blog, right? “Those who can’t write, blog.” It doesn’t apply to everyone, but it certainly applies to me.

As for making mixed media art and selling it at a booth: I tried that, but I didn’t have the patience to figure out what materials to use, or I didn’t want to spend the money on expensive materials, so it wasn’t very successful. My flurry of creativity also didn’t last that long.

However, this is something that I haven’t quite given up on.

I realized later that I failed because I started with the idea that I would sell my products, and so I always had the bottom line in mind. One of these days I’m going to make something again, but just for myself, so I can use whatever materials I need to to make it beautiful. Because the important thing for me is to reconnect with my creative side, not to make money doing it.

Since I’m always hot, my first project will be a fan. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but it’s hard to just start. But now that I’ve told you, readers, about it on my blog, it’s become a commitment. I’m going to make a fan.

“I’m going to make a fan.” You may think that sounds pretty pathetic, but apart from my failed flurry of activity I haven’t done anything creative since the beginning of college, about 35 years ago. Especially since I had B, my life has evolved around taking care of the children, and me and my creativity have had no priority.  After so much time, it’s hard to get started again.

So this writing prompt really works! I can definitely recommend this blog event if you have to determine your priorities. And watch for a photo of my fan in the near future.

8 responses to “If I Knew I Couldn’t Fail . . .

  1. Pingback: Flying On Empty Thoughts | Day 1:What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

  2. Love your post! I have tried and failed at many things in my life but for some reason I can’t be discouraged. I just keep on trying lol I have also written a few short stories and books but I never finished them either. Writers block is truly a disease lol but hopefully blogging will spark our creativity back up 🙂 Your books sound like they could really turn into something great. How about if you finish one of your books, I’ll definitely be the first to download it on Kindle? 🙂 I look forward to reading more of your posts 🙂


  3. OK Barbara, a great topic, but help me on this one. I’ve seen several people try to answer the question “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” For the most part I’ve listend to intelligent compasionate people come up with answers that seemed, well…. frankly rather small and self focused to me. Why don’t people respond with answers like ” find a cure for cancer, produce peace in the middle east, redesign the economy to provide full meaningful employment to everyone, design a very low cost low carbon energy source,etc? These seem to be the obvious types of answers that everyone should come up with, but almost nobody does. Does this say something about my personality type, or how people have been conditioned to think in our society, or..? I’d like to know what you think about this.


    • Hi Mike, the prompt came from a site that tries to help people refocus on their personal priorities. The goals are personal and have to be attainable. Sure, I’d like world peace as much as Miss America, but I can’t get the Israelis and Palestinians to stop fighting. Hell, I can’t even get my own kids to stop bickering in the backseat of the car. I’d love to find a cure for cancer; unfortunately I’m a librarian and a translator, not a scientist. Does it count that I know someone who is finding a cure for cancer? I’m also not an engineer, so I don’t see myself designing low-cost low-carbon energy sources any time soon. But I did just buy a new second-hand car that runs 50% more efficiently and the tie-dye frog bumper sticker on the back is making the peace sign.I have my opinions on the big issues and I voice them regularly on my blog. Once I’m an American citizen–I’m dragging my feet–I’ll vote accordingly. In the meantime, on my own personal level, making a fan would be huge.;-)


  4. But the question specifically asks “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” To me that specifically means putting aside all question of what is reasonable and achievable – assume for a moment that you could achieve ANYTHING you wanted to achieve. How would you use that power? What types of things would give you the greatest satisfaction? As the site says, I take this as trying to “guide you towards re-igniting, re-discovering, or re-designing what you’re passionate about in life”. That’s different from an exercisee to make a practical 6 month plan. If they’re asking people to do what I think they’re asking, maybe it’s something that is very hard for most people to wrap their heads around. Or maybe I just have a personality quirk that causes me to take things too literaly? Actually, that’s almost certainly true. But it still leaves open the issue about how to interpret this particular question.


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