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Afraid To Dream Big Dreams? (You’re Not Alone)

April 23, 2020

What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?
– Robert Schuller

You’ll see Schuller’s quote on everything from cups to t-shirts. It’s inspirational, don’t you think? It’s one of those quotes that make you feel small, isn’t it?

At least it does for me.

Because, it’s correct, right? If you weren’t afraid you might fail you’d literally do anything and everything, right?

But, you aren’t doing anything and everything, are you? No. Neither am I. But, according to Schuller if I’d just stop being afraid, I’d be able to do anything.

I’m such a failure.

I’m not discounting Robert Schuller’s statement. But, I’m not taking taking it at face value either.

Got a call from an old friend we used to be real close
Said he couldn’t go on the American way
Closed the shop, sold the house, bought a ticket to the west coast
Now he gives them the stand-up routine in L.A.
– “My Life” by Billy Joel

I have several friends who are comedians. Some, like my friend Steve Hofstetter do world tours. Other’s like my friend Andy Gold do gigs around the country. And still others like my friend Chuck Ryan, do open mics in his area.

Steve has devoted years to his craft. He has multiple comedy albums. He’s published a book, “Ginger Kid.” Andy has been working on comedy for less time, but has a chance to be a professional touring comedian. Chuck has done comedy longer than Andy, but Chuck will probably never be much more than a local comic.

Is it because Chuck is afraid of what he could accomplish? No. Andy and Steve are both single. I don’t know how often Andy tours, but Steve travels about 300 days per year.

Chuck is divorced. He has children and grandchildren that he absolutely adores. Could Chuck have been a successful touring comedian? I don’t know. Would Chuck trade his family and life for a career as a professional touring comedian? Would he have accomplished that great thing if he knew he could not fail? I don’t think so.

Chuck works for a major airline. He’s a couple years away from retirement. He plans to retire in a couple years and devote himself fulltime to comedy and doting on his grandkids.

At this point you may be saying, “Chuck appears to have accomplished a great thing.” And I would agree. But, if he measured himself against Steve, or even Andy, he might feel like a failure.

I’ve made some terrible choices and decisions in my life. I once was a paper millionaire. Shortly after I lost it all and ended up homeless sleeping in my brother-in-law’s barn with my lovely wife and 12 kids. And I have certainly felt like a failure at times. But, I have my children, and like Chuck, I have grandchildren that I adore.

And I can’t think of anything I’d trade for that.

However, I still have my “great things” I want to try if I can overcome my fear of failure (or success, whatever that means.)

I’ve started on a new advernture today. It may be the start of my greatest commercial success. I’ll write about it more in the coming days and weeks.

Look to your success and realize that not every tradeoff results in a failure. But, be willing to dream the big dreams as well. Just don’t base your self worth on Robert Schuller’s quote.

Stay safe.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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