Trading a Toothpick for a Pick Axe

To talk about what I would do if I knew I could not fail is to try to sort out the crossover point between tenable and untenable challenge, between manageable and unmanageable risk, and identify that thing which is just on the other side of the line which I desperately want. Relatedly, I like to think that some things I want to accomplish are not yet done because the journey to that particular destination is lengthier, not because I’ve avoided arriving due to my fear of failure, and so there are some wish list items which rank there and are waiting their due date more than my unfettered bravery.

This is a bit of rhetorical dodging (even if the rhetoric is interesting) because I do have an answer to the question. It’s been the answer to the question for a long time, though the level of emphasis and need has ebbed and flowed throughout my life, perhaps because I’ve been in a period of moderate denial, or perhaps because sometimes aspirations take turns.

But that it not the point of today: today is about the removable of constraint (actual or emotional), of sensibility, of issues of timing–because it’s these thing that comprise my fear. With those things gone, I would zip away immediately from all work that is not the work of my own writing, so that I might look with focus, so that I might push with dedicated strength, and so that I may find out exactly what I am made of. These fits and bursts of writing I find time to wedge into my currently overstuffed life are progress but the sort that is like giving the miner a toothpick when he needs a pick axe–when it’s just time to get on with the dig, find the gold if it’s there–and if it’s not, put away the longing and move on to something else.


Today’s prompt: What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Why that thing? Spend some time considering what removing the possibility of failure would mean for you.

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