There’s a motivational question people ask: What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? It’s a good question for getting over the hurdle of fear of failure.

For me, it can kick me into action. Once I’m in action, though, my immediate instinct is to do what makes the most sense to reach the goal.

But it seems to me that it isn’t failure we’re afraid of, it’s uncertainty. So I tried asking, “What would I do if I had to do something, but knew I would fail anyway?” (Eliminate the uncertainty, but make it a guarantee of failure rather than a guarantee of success.)

Much to my surprise, my approach became a game. It freed my thinking in a way that the other question did not, and I began coming up with very “out-of-the-box” ideas.

(This reminds me of the essay The Wisdom of No Escape, by Buddhist nun Pema Chodron.)

What’s your experience? Does the question “What would you do if you knew you would fail?” do anything for you?

What would you do if you knew you *would* fail?

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