What Would You Do if You Knew For Sure You Couldn’t Fail?

In a telephone conversation I had a while back with Nick (it was our second talk), a 32-year-old salesman from Oregon, we discussed his future.  Nick, as per my suggestion, is reading Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich and feels it’s time to make a decision about what he’s going to do with the rest of his life, what course of action he’s going to take to bring meaning to his work-life.  When I asked him what it was he truly wanted to do, he said, “I really don’t know; that’s what I’m trying to figure out.”

So I asked him the question which is the title of this blog: “What would you do if you knew for sure you couldn’t fail?”—if success was an automatic, a given, an ironclad guarantee from the Powers That Be.  I learned this technique from Reverend Robert H. Schuller.  I think it’s a fabulous way to get to the nitty-gritty of an individual’s true desires, cut through all the baloney, all the nonsense caused by doubt and fear.  Of course, as I told Nick, there can’t be any self-imposed limitations clouding the process when one asks the question.  “To Thine Own Self Be True,” Shakespeare said.  You don’t allow yourself, for example, to eliminate medical school from the equation just because you can’t stand the sight of blood; you take the question literally: What would you do if you knew for sure you couldn’t fail?  All possibilities exist, everything is on the table, there are no limitations, none whatsoever!  “It,” whatever “it” is, is yours for the taking.

Nick is in the throes of carefully pondering this important question; I’m fully confident he’ll come up with an answer which will excite him and set him off on a mighty quest to fulfill a great dream.  The reason I think that is because (1) I have a lot of confidence in Nick, he’s a terrific young man who has made tremendous progress since I first spoke to him, especially about controlling his thoughts and emotions, and (2) once he tells me what “it” is, I’ll challenge him with these questions: If that’s what you’d absolutely do if success was guaranteed, if that’s what you truly want for yourself, isn’t it worth believing in yourself enough to pursue it to the sweet end?  Isn’t it worth giving yourself the opportunity to attain it, with the attitude that you’ll never give up until it’s yours?  Isn’t it worth the price you’ll have to pay (and make no mistake, my friends, there will be a price to pay, there always is!) to give this great gift to yourself, to live life on your own terms?  Life will give you whatever you demand of it; are you willing to demand of yourself what you demand of life?

Or are you willing to settle?  Are you willing to drift aimlessly through life being tossed and turned by the winds of chance.  Think of yourself in a boat heading out of New York’s harbor destined for Marseilles; do you want to take a chance on guessing the right direction to take, or do you want to have a compass and rudder with you to make certain you get there?

Let me suggest you do the same thing I asked Nick to do.  Take a pad of yellow legal and write out the perfect life for yourself, the perfect existence your imagination describes to you: the job or business you want, where you want to live, who you want to live with, the car you want to drive, every detail your imagination can communicate to you.  After you get it all down on paper, you’ll know what your “it” is.  Then it just becomes a matter of How badly do you want it?  What are you willing to do to make it a reality?

Whether or not you’re willing to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes.

Close your eyes and visualize the dream.  Dr. Norman Vincent Peale said, “Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding.  Hold this picture tenaciously.  Never permit it to fade.  Your mind will seek to develop the picture…Do not build up obstacles in your imagination.”

You get one shot at this thing called life; live it on your own terms!