of Tummy Tucks
By Barry Maher
most successful young executives I've ever known walked away from an unlimited
future because he was terrified of not being able to live up to the astonishing
record he'd established. He was terrified of being shown to be not quite as good
as everyone had come to believe he was. It was like a rookie entering the major
leagues, hitting .432 with 74 home runs, winning the MVP, and then retiring.
Because he was afraid that the rest of his career would tarnish his achievement.
It probably would have. In baseball terms, that
young executive probably never would have hit over .360 or .370 again. When they
put up his plaque in the Business Hall of Fame in Mishawaka, Indiana, it
probably would have noted that he barely averaged 65 home runs a year. Or maybe
he wouldn't have had a Hall of Fame career. Maybe his career never would have
been much more than outstanding, or remarkable, or good, or OK. Or even fair or
At least he would have had a career.
Unfortunately, he was more concerned with
maintaining his image than succeeding. He gave up what he wanted to do--which
means he failed--because he was afraid of failure.
Too many of us do the same--if not quite so
blatantly. And often without even having the achievement. Too frequently we're
afraid of tarnishing what amounts to a lack of achievement.
my suggestion. Discover whatever you're most afraid of failing at and, as soon
as possible, go out and FAIL at it. Unless it's skydiving or tightrope walking
or surgery or some such (in which case please ignore this particular
suggestion), you will find that:
1) It didn't kill you,
2) It didn't kill you.
3) After you do it, after you've already
failed, most of the time there's no longer much to be afraid of.
not something you can actual rush right out and fail at, envision failure. Is it
any worse than not trying? Or trying in a half-hearted way, hoping you can save
face if it doesn't work, and virtually guaranteeing you'll fail?
Every one of those people whose opinions
we’re all so concerned about has failed at one thing or another. Some of them
are afraid to try to fill their own glass because they're afraid that if they
failed, we'd have a lower opinion of them.
I always tell audiences that fear of failure is
a lot like fear of tummy tucks. Or butt lifts, breast implants or hair
I, for example, have a hair transplant. This
is, admittedly, a vain and probably dumb thing to have had done. I'm
looking enough to be the kind of guy you'd consider vain about his appearance.
But when faced with the prospect of being bald, guess what? To the surprise of
virtually everyone who knew me, myself included, it turned out I was as vain as
the next guy. Maybe vainer; the next guy didn't bother to have chunks of his
scalp sliced out and crammed into little holes elsewhere on his head.
But that's not the point. The point is, that
once you have a hair transplant--or, I suppose, a tummy tuck or butt
lift--virtually everyone you mention it to will confide that they've considered
some form of cosmetic surgery for themselves. A great many of them will tell you
they wished they had the courage to go ahead and do it.
We're far more alike than we are different.
Don't have the hair transplant. I can't comment on the butt lift. But as
for failure, go ahead and fail. Some people will envy your courage. Will others
think less of you? Probably. Let them. Do you really value the opinion of anyone
who'd prefer that you never tried rather than risk failure? Besides, that type
of bozo will think a lot more of you once you eventually succeed.
And if you never succeed? I've always liked
what Teddy Roosevelt said: "It is not the critic who counts, not the man
who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have
done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who
errs and comes up short again and again because there is no effort without error
and shortcomings, who knows the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy
cause, who at the best knows in the end the high achievement of triumph and who
at worst, if he fails while daring greatly, knows his place shall never be with
those timid and cold souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
worry about any "cold and timid soul?" Unless it’s your own. As
George Bernard Shaw said, "A life spent in making mistakes is not only more
honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." Consider your
past. What do you regret more, the times you've failed or the times you never
tried? What would you prefer to
look back on in the future?
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