Dave Lim

TEDx Ambassador, TEDxSingapore

This conversation is closed.

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

Do share your response to this intriguing question...

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    Jun 23 2012: I'll try to fail. Here comes the paradox XD
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      Jul 11 2012: Surely if your intent is to fail, and then you fail, then you've succeeded. Love this old philosophical question.
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    Jul 18 2012: I would attempt to construct a time machine, travel through space and time and learn about all the great, wonderful, and magnificent accomplishments mankind will have made in the next 500 years.
    Additionally, I would advise and warn global leaders of future catastrophes and/or unpredictable events that take place in the future in order to prevent said terrifying occurrences.
    If only I could find a companion like Dr. Who to assist me on my quest!
  • Jul 4 2012: If I knew I could not fail, I would attempt to fail. And, probably, fail at failing. But then, that means I succeeded at failing, which...nvm.
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    Jun 26 2012: I would like to eradicate corruption and scams,All the hard earned money from common man is going to those filthy politicians.
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    Jun 26 2012: End religion.
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      Jun 26 2012: why?
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        Jun 26 2012: Well, because I think religion (very specifically religion and not the mere belief in god/gods) has become a tool to keep people from thinking logically. Especially when you look at indoctrination and the fact that most people don't make informed choices when it comes to such an important belief. Religion is also moving into a position where many of the religious view science as anti-god. Consequentially, millions of people are refusing to even learn about the world around them because it contradicts the religion that was handed to them.

        Then, I look at war and how much violence, intolerance, and outright hate has been justified by religion. I would never claim that all wars and violence would end without religion, but I'd love to see the difference that I know it would make. I'd love to see a world where believing in any single thing (without exception) for which there is no evidence is laughable. I'd love to see people given a much better chance at exploring and learning about the world around them and the wonderful things that would come from that.
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          Jun 26 2012: The current arguement is that religion establishes morals, but where would moral be without religions? I think moral will still exist.
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          Jun 27 2012: Derek that is what became of Eastern Europe after the Soviet Union abolished religion.
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          Jun 27 2012: "I'd love to see a world where believing in any single thing (without exception) for which there is no evidence is laughable."

          I believe there is hope for humanity
          I believe I can succeed through persistence
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        Jun 27 2012: And morals still existed.
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        Jun 27 2012: Joy, there is evidence that you can succeed though persistence. And "hope" for the world is pretty ambiguous. It would need to be very clearly defined before you could look into evidence. World hunger? World Peace? Does hope mean that it can happen or that it will happen? I still stand by my point that we should not believe things without evidence. I think that's pretty fair.
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          Jun 27 2012: Can you prove anything? I want proof of proof. Do you think you can prove anything at all? I think we believe we are real because we have faith in reality. I am not arguing for/against religion. I address a philosophical question. What is truth? Is it universal?
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        Jun 27 2012: If we stop any exploration of evidence to ask "what is the real reality of what really is the realism of reality?" then we are forever handicapped. Also, how would we ever access a truth that is beyond our reality? Once we access it, doesn't that automatically make it our reality? Just because we may suspect that there are things beyond our understanding doesn't mean we should just start making things up. All opinions are not worthy opinions by sheer default.
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    Jun 22 2012: Get married
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    Jun 22 2012: I would close down all livestock, fish, dairy, and grain farms and replace them with high nutrition and calorie yield fruit trees like mango, banana, persimmon, date, papaya and all the other thousands more types of fruit, and farms of leafy greens and vegetables. I would remind everyone that we a FRUGIVORES, we are primates, and we need to return to a diet of fruits and leafy greens if we want to prevent cancer, degenerative diseases, obesity, malnutrition, allergies and other health problems.

    People are spending so much money, harming so many animals for research and wasting so much time trying to find a cure for cancer when we already know how to prevent it in the first place - eat right and stop polluting. We are primates and we should be eating like it. Humans, like our cousin apes, are frugivorous animals; everything about our physiology indicates this - from our digestive tract to our teeth to our colour vision to our nutritional requirements. Eat a diet of fruits and leafy greens, drink plenty of water, sleep 10+ hrs a night, play and live your life purpose if you want to avoid health problems.

    I also highly highly recommend the book '80 10 10' by Dr Douglas Graham. Many nutritionists, olympic athletes, marathoners, doctors and families have learnt this and are all beginning to return to a high carb raw vegan diet. It is a winfinity concept - brilliant for the environment, animal welfare, human health and sustainability.

    If we ate more sweet juicy fruits and stopped eating meat, eggs and dairy, not only would we cut our CO2 emissions in half, but we would also produce more calories and nutrients per acre (since unlike grains the fruit harvest is not on just one horizontal level, but spreads upwards and outwards to produce a higher yield on the same patch of land), the fruit trees would absorb CO2, we would save money on health care, nurturing animals and expanding their habitats whilst opening a new paradigm and reducing excessive consumerism.
    • Jun 22 2012: You sound connected to a Transition Town group or at least aware of Permaculture...
      Great vision!

      BTW, do it - you won't fail. Every planted fruit or nut tree or veg patch is a success.
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        Jun 23 2012: Thanks for the encouragement, I'm not connected to a transition town but am quite interested in them. Some people say that it's an 'extreme' vision, but really the current agricultural system is the one that's extreme.
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          Jun 24 2012: They work. Learn about Permaculture, or come find me!
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      R H

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      Jun 23 2012: Very fascinating. Thank you for the concise and eloquent information. I read a 'diet' book by Kimberly Snyder that purports a similar approach. That we are closer to the, pound for pound, most powerful animal on earth - the gorilla - than any other species. I have stopped dairy but not meat, and am very good with greens. But its the overall sustainability aspect that is most intriguing. I'm fascinated with the 'movement' of sustainability, am a big fan of Paul Hawkin, and appreciate your approach. Would you recommend any groups or blogs, other than TED, where a novice like me can get more information about applicability and transformation, and communicate with others of like mind? Also, what's your take on gluten? Thank you in advance for any input you could offer.
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        Jun 23 2012: I appreciate your comment, yes I am a member of a brilliant forum called www.30bananasaday.com, founded by cyclist, ahlete and youtuber Durianrider aka Harley Johnstone (here's a really nice talk from him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ha10HFlurY), as well as www.foodnsport.com, founded by Dr Doug Graham who is actually training several 2012 Olympians on a high carb raw vegan diet.

        My take on gluten is that it is best avoided, by eating tubers like sweet potatoes, potatoes as well as gluten free options made from rice, corn or soy instead of grains. There is a good book called 'Grain Damage' that you could maybe read on the matter. However, though I understand you may disagree, I'd say meat would be a higher priority to eliminate from your diet as many scientific studies have found it to cause diseases -
        http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/forks_over_knives_2011/

        If you are not ready to fully adopt a diet of fruits and tender veggies, you can still do your body and the environment the world of good by going cooked vegan, and you won't need to change your meals at all as there is a delicious vegan replacement for pretty much every meat and dairy product - the best 'meats' and burgers I ever tasted were vegan.

        The plethora of fruits that are abundant to us in supermarkets means there are many cooked dishes you can recreate even when eating high carb raw vegan, from delicious savoury 'spagetti' dishes with sauce, to 'apple pie' with 'ice cream', as well as seriously thousands of new recipes to try. I live in the UK and it costs me £2 to £4 a day to eat this way, beforehand I was spending £3.20 on lunch alone.

        Just a few environmental benefits:
        - Little to no food packaging
        - Free compost from peelings
        - Less water and chemicals needed to clean as there are no pots to scrub or dangerous bacteria
        - Fruit trees stabilise topsoil and provide a habitat

        The all-important PROOF of the super results: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucHEVNX2c9o
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          Jun 24 2012: It is so wonderful of you to respond so generously. I read in your approach so much positive enthusiasm for the subject, yet tempered by a realism and and a data-driven foundation that is inspriring and 'holistically' energizing. I hope you find much joy in your life and what you do, and that you don't get discouraged if it takes longer to accomplish your goals than desired... I know about meat, but convenience has been a problem for me. It also gets very cold here so something hot and hardy is welcome. I'm sure there are adequate vegan recipes. I need to get better organized. I have no problem with 'raw'. I actually prefer it. As I consider this further, it's really about being organized.I live in a large urban area and everything necessary is available readily. Sustainability is necessary, upon us, and very exciting to me. Next I imagine, after 'sustainability', we'll have true abundance for all. We are on the verge of this exciting transformation! It's happening now.
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      Jun 25 2012: I think you are a very well written and thoughtful individual. Did you know that a combination of beans and corn creates all of the amino acids and proteins needed to live? The pioneers learned this 2-300 years ago and it was just about all they ate.
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      Jun 28 2012: I hope you take a vitamin B12 supplement.
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    Jul 9 2012: My bucket list.
  • Jun 26 2012: I would cure the cancer that's killing my old aunty :(
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      Jun 27 2012: It killed mine too but it doesn't kill us all and that is progress. I bet you would cure it too, given a real shot!
    • Jun 27 2012: I think this is the best answer I've seen given you "can't fail"
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    Jun 26 2012: I would end homophobia.
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    Jun 26 2012: Make the best TED lecture EVER!
  • Jun 25 2012: I think the real question is, what WOULDN'T I attempt to do? :)
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    Jun 24 2012: Start a new civilization based on an equitable relationship with the Earth and all beings.
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    Jul 20 2012: I would convince everyone on the planet to be aware of their cognitive biases, open up to changing their minds when new, more accurate information is presented, and pursue truth based decision making. I'd hope to teach the world to suspend their emotions and make logic their primary decision making tool.
  • Jul 19 2012: Bring peace in the Middle East, create a Palestine state, eliminate nuclear weapons, preserve our natural resources, reduce poverty and racialism. The afore mentioned goals needs a commitment from all human beings.
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    Jul 19 2012: I would find a way to restore the balance of Mother Earth for the sake of humankind.
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    Jul 18 2012: I would attempt to unite the world.
  • Jul 17 2012: I guess stop all porn
  • Jul 17 2012: I'd implement a global distribution system for the produce of volunteer workers after completely removing the current economic system and all the greed and waste that goes with it..
  • Jul 8 2012: If you desire to do something worthwhile should attempt to do so regardless of the fear of failure.
  • Jul 4 2012: This is a great, classic self-help question. It is designed to identify desires that are being ignored because of the fear of failure or even the knowledge that you'll fail. I use it with my own students. The point is not that you do the desire--I might want to play in the NBA but am 5 feet tall or sing opera but have no talent--but that your life touches that desire. I've had students who've wanted to swim in the olympics who now coach kids, students who want to end world hunger who now volunteer at the food bank, and those who say they want to be president who then run for student government. Most compelling is when a student realizes that NONE of their life touches their soul--they're studying computer science because of their parents' desire. It can be a transformative question, but admittedly a fun academic exercise as well.
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    Jul 3 2012: At first I was struggling to imagine which thing to pick from so many good choices - contact advanced alien civilization, find the pattern to pi, make a jillion dollars revolutionizing the computer industry, but then it hit me: Re-boot the American education system, hands down!
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    Jun 29 2012: Thank you Debra. Orphaned children and those born to dysfunctional families deserve just as much of a chance in life as the rest. Unfortunately, most of these children are not likely to succeed. The saddest part of all is that they themselves often feel they don't deserve anything better than what they have and that has to change. So if I could, I would teach these children that it is ok to want more out of life and it is ok to be happy.

    This may not be such an unattainable goal, after all, if more people were interested in doing something about it. .
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    Jun 28 2012: Hey all,
    A new joinee..
    Well..initially i tried to answer the question in the similar fashion answered by fellow members like curing others, helping society etc but then something stuck me. We don't try something on the premises that we gonna fail or succeed. There is something else that holds us back from trying things that we wish to do. There is some amount of fear and that is not of failure. For eg. my wish of proposing a random girl is irrelevant of the fact that I will succeed or fail but I will be hesitant in approaching her at first place.
    So what I am stating is even if we have an option of not failing, may be, it wont matter.
    My views
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      Jun 29 2012: What if she thinks you are cute and says YES! Your premise is that she will say no or your experiment would come to an end. I hope.
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        Jun 30 2012: Well that can be an outcome. But what I wanted to state was that anything that we actually choose to do is not depending on a success or a failure. Suppose I really want to solve the hunger problem of slum kids and I already know that I may not succeed. Still if I really wanted to do it, i would go and see to what extent I can do. If already know that girl is going to say YES or NO, I may stammer or hesitate in the same way as I would have when I was unaware of the outcome. If we really wanted to do something, we will go ahead whether we succeed or not. Rest all is wishful thinking. Hope I make some sense.
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    Jun 26 2012: I agree with you, Derek. I'm pretty sure the morals would still exist. Especially since there are so many non-religious people with morals. That's another great discussion in itself! Sam Harris' book, The Moral Landscape, has some interesting points about the emergence of morals.
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    Jun 26 2012: teletransport
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    Jun 22 2012: Paradoxically attempt to fail.
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      Jun 26 2012: If you try to fail and succeed, what have you done? Are success and failure the same thing?
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      Jun 22 2012: Hi Don, I read your comment I was deeply touched by the meaning of the sentence that you write, so I keep reading your biography in your profile and I think that your story is amazing. I don’t know if you have already given a TED talk but you have something important in your hands, so if you haven’t, please do it. Thank you Don for what you have shared please uses your experience and your wisdom to make a positive impact in many communities that need it.

      In Latin America a lot of children experience the evil every day of there life in their own home, so I would fight to change this reality.
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          Jun 26 2012: I have hope in my generation and the ones that come after me, but is a hard work. For the world, to be saved, it needs that we sit down, young and elders, to find the eternal teachings of this life. The youngest generations needs to be heard and support, this refers that have to exist a “worthwhile discussion ”, just like you said, with the experience of the people of your generation and with the desire of mine, we can get to the solutions.

          The Eternal truths are constituted, according to St. Augustine, through Divine Revelations supported by reason. And it can also be the other way; Arguments, acquired through reason, supported by divine revelations. This is from the point of view of Philosophy, which for me is the way to wisdom. This can be a form to unite people, no matter if they follow a religion or not, the only thing that is required, is to be open to new kind of thoughts and find a consensus reign just by by pure reasoning.

          But for this we need to learn to listen again, because what we do is , remaining silent, waiting for the person to say something in which we disagree, and Suddenly we stop to the communication process and begin to organizing our words and ideas in the mind and waiting for the other person to stop talking, to give our point of view, seeking to be right.
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    Jun 21 2012: Change our society's mentality from being driven by greed to be driven by greater good for humanity.
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    Jul 20 2012: I would bio-engineer the beautiful Water Lilly to produce a useable electrical flow directly from photosynthesis. Storage cells in the roots would continue to release electrical currents during periods of darkness. A harvesting grid under the plants would distribute the energy to the public grid.
    I would distribute seeds freely all over the world.
    Every park and suitable rooftop in the world would become the producer of all the electrical energy needed for humanity.
  • Jul 18 2012: I would find a safe way to harness nuclear fusion and get that energy to every corner of the globe, right after I got clean, fresh, running water to every person on the planet that needed it. And if it's possible, in any way shape or form, I'd like to travel faster than c!
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      Jul 18 2012: I support your effort to combat fear. Courage is a waining trait these days...
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    Jul 17 2012: I would end wars, educate poor and invent the happiness pill
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        Jul 18 2012: I meant to reflect the idea of "Making people happy" but since it turned this way, then pies would be a better idea, they are not portable though =D
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      Jul 18 2012: They already have happiness pills. They cost about $20 but it always ends badly.
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      Jul 18 2012: Would you actually take the pill? And isn;t it called Prozac?
  • Jul 17 2012: Abolish money.. think of the implications.
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      • Jul 19 2012: Before money there was gold. Before gold there was slaves. There is always a system of trade. The big picture would be to figure out a way to remove greed.
  • Jul 17 2012: Failure is directly proportional to successes ....... The more you fail the more there are chances to get a success .
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    Jul 17 2012: I would do as I do already. Knowing one cannot fail doesn't mean we have a magic wand with which we can end disease and poverty or take flight. What it means is that we live the life we chose to live and do the things we want to do.
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    Jul 16 2012: If I knew I could not fail....I would end religion. End wars. End poverty.
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    Jul 14 2012: Win the lottery and be a mega-million lottery winner of $512,000,000 and begin my dream project. Of course that can be the after tax amount. Wish me luck or help manifest the this event. Thanks ;)
  • Jul 14 2012: My dream would be to make the world a better place for children. It doesn't hurt to dream.
  • Jul 14 2012: I would do many things, but what quickly comes to mind is : Complete the USMLE, get a good residency spot, do a Phd, start a biomedical company.
  • Jul 14 2012: Write a song the every single person in the world could listen to at the same time.
  • Jul 13 2012: Be happy.
  • Jul 11 2012: What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
    Spend more time on my hobbies in school time for it is hard to balance the two. For the part that I normally end up failing is school work. ( not completely but in context with the question yes)
  • Jul 9 2012: I would fly - just using my own arms, like a bird. Dreaming of that since I was 8 and 30+ years later, the dream is still alive. The closest I came to this was the freefall during a tandem jump.
  • Jul 8 2012: Cure cognitive dissonance, make many more friends, encourage my sons and daughters (notice I no longer refer to them as my kids) and my grandchildren, my siblings etc.
  • Jul 8 2012: Stay home and read a book.
  • Jul 8 2012: If I knew that I could not fail whatever I do,
    I intent to be a primary minister of world peace.I struggle for serenity of people. but this is probably fail.
  • Jul 6 2012: play the lottery.
  • Jul 6 2012: There are no words in any human language to describe what I would do.
  • Jul 5 2012: If I knew that there was no chance that I could fail I would negotiate a treaty of unification between the major powers of the world. You know what why stop there if I knew I wouldn't fail I would unite all of the countries of the world peacefully.
  • Jul 5 2012: I would rob a bank ;)

    But on a more serious note, I'm not sure what I'd do? Alot of the things I do know, or that I strive for, I do in order to challenge myself. I do it because it's difficult. Why do something that's easy? How boring would that be.
    And if I could not fail, then why would I even bother doing it? There's no challenge to that, and no gratifictaion from having completed it.
    Almost like playing a computer game with cheats, and unlimited money, unlimited life, unlimited bullets, etc. It soon becomes boring.

    That's why I would rob a bank :)
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    Jul 4 2012: I would just pretend that I already succeeded at what I couldn't fail. It gives you a self-indication and motivation to get the job done and makes you confident. But you might as well gain illusion by too much of this, therefore causing a backfire.
  • Jul 4 2012: Given the recent appalling state of the country .. I honestly cannot think of anything better but to revive the failing economy of Pakistan ... that way once the pieces are in place and things are back on track .. we the people will be able to breath and progress towards greater success
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      Jul 4 2012: i hope you get such an opportunity because it would help so many. Go A. Junaid!
  • Jul 3 2012: I would become omnipotent. The same way if I were given one wish, I would wish for unlimited wishes.

    I'd go from there.
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    Jul 3 2012: I believe the human mind is capable of transcending space and time from within. If I knew I could not fail then I would spend the next few years trying every technique known to man - ayajuasca, dmt, kundalini, kriya, merkaba etc. to find the key to unlocking the secret pathways in my brain to travel inwards and outwards just using my mind. There is a door to that perception within and in a fearless world I would walk through it. I may just have to do it anyway...can't wait to be fearless...
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    • Jul 2 2012: Hi Don

      wouldn't you agree that if we keep doing what we are doing now we will always get what we are getting now?
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        • Jul 3 2012: Hi Don

          Thanks for encouragement, I started a question, but it is closed now, I can ask the same, the answers may be different.

          I agree you thought I was attempting to extent the argument and I believe you will agree that a question creates questions. my comment was based on your first sentence.

          Cheers
      • Jul 4 2012: Brilliant!
  • Jul 2 2012: I would change the American political conversation. No more ridiculous presedential election coverage consisting of shallow actions to appeal to the media. How can we improve the quality of life in our own country, use science and kindness to make our country a proud example the rest of the world would want to follow? No need for preemptive strikes. Change must start within! We have to remove the log from our own eye instead if focusing on the spec in our neighbor's.
  • Jul 1 2012: I found it interesting!

    Make a special study group :) ...which is totally different from any other colleges or organizations.

    ..which has no intention to be religious nor political.

    We wouldn't need to worry about being employed or getting good grades.
    We would study for the world and ourselves.
    We would fight againt injustice.
    But we would also cherish the value of childlike innocence.

    Without professors, we could share, create and organize our ideas.

    Studying without specific directions with the people who have passion and compassion would be really something!

    We could publish a bunch of books.

    Yes..we could also be TED speakers :)

    Besides, we would always try to be impartial and unprejudiced toward the world.


    lol love this question!
    Even though I'm being a bit utopian.
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      Jul 1 2012: i think you are an idealist.
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        Lejan .

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        Jul 1 2012: No, he isn't! He knew he could not fail! :o)
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        Jul 2 2012: I have to correct my comment!

        No, SHE isn't! SHE knew SHE could not fail!

        Elisabeth, I beg your pardon! Somehow I got your gender mixed up.
        • Jul 2 2012: Oh, come on~! Do I really look like a boy?

          lol

          kidding

          That's quite alright
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      Jul 2 2012: No you don't!

      Alas! Now how to get out of this one ...?

      Let's say that it did not really help to look at Dave Lim's picture, while 'fighting' in your honor!

      And by the fact that any knight will assure you, that 'fighting' in the honor of a lady is always more pleasant,
      I am quite happy you finally turned out to be one! And also forgiving! You've got my swort! :o)
      • Jul 2 2012: Oh, it's an honor to be the ONE.
        Yes, I forgive you. lol

        You're a funny man! lol




        Good to know you :)
  • Jun 30 2012: I would fulfill my creative vision of a new media model which can drive education reform by placing the horse of motivation in front of the cart of knowledge whereas now we still have it backwards where people mostly acquiesce to education to avoid consequence. This can be accomplished by harnessing a source of journalistic content that has global implications but whose current exclusion form the commercial/sensationalist model of publishing makes it "academic" by the time anyone gets around to learning about it. My formula would remove the generation loss and make that information "dynamic" and contemporary thus creating a theater of human endeavor which students and learners of all ages can influence and not just study after the fact.Can you imagine reliving your entire education where relevance guided every choice you made? Even if you don't see yourself as being dramatically more of an achiever, the world would be being effected by millions of other young people whose motivations would be being personally fulfilled instead of neglected. I have developed this perspective through looking for a way to create something new that "can't fail"--no one will choose dysfunction over function. And by comparison, the old way will be seen as dysfunctional.
  • Jun 30 2012: Would it be proper to call it an "attempt" if we cannot fail?
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    Jun 30 2012: Start a school for dyslexic children.
    • Jul 2 2012: Hi Lee Ann

      Good Idea, but HOW?

      How would you start it?
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        Jul 3 2012: Well I think I would begin with the early grades, reading liabilities are easier to remediate when caught early. I really believe that children with disabilities should be educated with their non disabled peers, and that special education should be a passage in time not a life sentence. So, maybe would be clinic with in a school that focuses on all the current research, yet educates all students together. Regardless it would need to be longer school day then the traditional school day.
        • Jul 3 2012: Hi Lee Ann

          Great Idea, I love that.

          I hope you have noticed that you know that you have all the resources you need.

          you started : Well, I think I would begin with ...... (and it goes all the way to explain HOW it can be done) ...
          It is like to know what ingredients we need / have to make a meal. but we need FIRE to make it. unfortunately that FIRE is missing in many of us. only few uses it, only few finds it.

          So Fear of failure is greater than desire of achievement. - this is in our nature.
          sometimes we forget there is another word that can be exchanged with FAILURE which is
          FEEDBACK.

          when I had to take my driving license practical test, (I couldn't pass the test after first and second attempt) everyone thought I failed, I thought I got a feedback, so I knew then what not to do, and how to do different. I kept trying till I got it. (If I knew I would fail, I wouldn't do it - but I didn't know that and I knew I would get it, and I did it)

          The saddest thing in life is losing the resources we have.
          so use it before you lose it

          Cheers
  • Jun 29 2012: Apply to Harvard, skydive, cure diseases.
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    Jun 29 2012: If I knew that I could not fail. I would go into the field that I'm currently in (Consulting), go back to school and get a degree in engineering (specifically green technology) and with this degree. I would begin working on a new form of renewable, safe and affordable green energy. With this new technology the human race could minimize the amount of oil used with hopes of not only rejuvenating the earth but also alleviating the tension caused by the oil dependency.
    This being said, where would that leave oil dependent economies? A problem solved and a problem created. One step at a time I suppose.
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      Jun 29 2012: "one step at a time, I suppose" - you are on your journey, Ryan, Keep walking and all these things wiil come if you do not choose others en route.
  • Jun 29 2012: Bring music to the world, sing, sing, sing. Heal hearts , create community, sisterhood and peace!
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      Jun 29 2012: This is a noble dream and purpose! Sing Nikki!
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    Jun 29 2012: Give best quality of education and health care to children, especially the orphans to give them a chance in life
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      Jun 29 2012: I am humbled by your beauty - and no, I do not mean your picture although you appear to be lovely.
    • Jul 5 2012: That is a great and a noble thought !
  • Jun 27 2012: I'd attempt to fail. I like a challenge. ;-)
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      Jun 29 2012: I do not know how to do a raspberry in print, Gord.
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    Jun 27 2012: Hey tedsters,

    I read so many interesting comments below and I thought "you know most or all of these ideas are possible", so I think attempt (but realize a chance for failure) what you have said and make positive change for this world. =)
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    Jun 27 2012: Joy,

    Correction. You would be the most humane dictator the world has experienced.

    Andrea
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      Jun 27 2012: Sometimes you are so insightful it is scary!
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    Jun 27 2012: Your question is an oxymoron! Attempt presupposes the possibility of failure.
    If I could not fail I would imprison all of Wall Street, and all governments for crimes against humanity.
    I would junk all weapons. I would free all the artists, poets, musicians, and those jailed for minor drug offenses.
    I would distribute basic medicine and food to everyone who needs it.
    I would change the minds of all the people to thoughts of peace, love, hope, trust.
    I would make access to all education free and universal.
    I would be the worst dictator the world has ever experienced!
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    Jun 27 2012: Climb Mons Olympus
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      Jun 27 2012: Nice I'm changing my goal to this one. Mars it is!
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    Jun 27 2012: I will unify the four forces
  • Jun 26 2012: i would attempt to fail XD
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    Jun 26 2012: I would start a new career
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      Jun 27 2012: Do it anyway, Zanele! You should reach for happiness. Such a radiant smile will bring the success!
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        Jun 27 2012: Dear Debra

        Thank you my dear. I have just graduated with an Honors Degree in Industrial Psychology and the next move is to do an internship for 6 months and then do the Board exams to be registered with the Health Profession Council. Then I can begin to be fully employed. Psychology is something rewarding for me to do and I am scared out of my wits. I have been studying part-time and now have to leave this comfort zone to embark on my adventure. Thanks for the complement.
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          Jun 27 2012: Zanele! Congrats and best wishes for success!
          I just want to point out something that readers may not be aware of and that is that IO in psychology is extremely competative and difficult to get into. It is considered the pinacle by some as it requires the very top grades in an extremely competitive field which, because so many people choose to study this field (because it is so darned interesting, I suspect) more people are in the pool to compete for the positions in graduate school. Good on ya girl!
          Deb
  • Jun 26 2012: Love
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      Jun 27 2012: Risk it Constantina! the water feels fine!
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    Jun 24 2012: Life would probably be pretty dull and uneventful, but I would attempt everything within my lifetime, if I couldn't fail.

    Though in a worst case scenario, if there were other people who couldn't fail as well would, then chaos may exist in some places on earth while others are complete utopias.
  • Jun 23 2012: If i could not fail, there would not be anything to prove me i have succeeded....bi would not be able to learn from my failures...What other call Failures, i call unsuccessful attempts!
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    Jun 23 2012: I would put myself through the NASA astronaut training program - can't think of a more exciting endeavor and knowing I wouldn't fail....
  • Jun 23 2012: Great question, in some ways quite difficult to answer, I think I would attempt to earn a living by writing.
  • Jun 23 2012: Two chicks at the same time :) That being said, pass a balanced budged amendment in the US to make the Fed stop printing Dollar's at will and keep our debt down and keep our currency the global standard. I don't even want to think about what's going to happen if commodities like Oil start trading in currencies other than dollars.
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    R H

    • +1
    Jun 22 2012: Create a gadget where everyone could understand each other' needs, fundamental wants, and desires. Where we could feel what the other is feeling, and know what the other is understanding. I think we would learn that we all want basically the same things, would understand what we're doing to each other, and have no further need for such a gadget.
  • Jun 22 2012: Generally, pursuing objectives where failure is not a possibility is not challenging oneself. Conquering the fear of the unknown and taking some risks are some of the most fulfilling things we can do. Every victory or success is just a litter sweeter because surely we have had failures along the way.
    For this hypothetical situation I would do few things, stop being politically correct and truly express my feelings, enact world peace, end hunger, fix the middle east, give all kids loving nurturing parents and the education they need, figure out overpopulation and global warming, just some little things like that, if failure was guaranteed not to be an option.
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    Aja B.

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    Jun 21 2012: Looking back at the old conversation that Fritzie linked to below, I really liked David Barnett's response:

    "I would make one person happy. If everyone wished for the same thing, then everyone would be happy. If 6 billion people wish to end world hunger, there are 5.999999999 billion redundant wishes. Why not wish for everyone to be happy, I hear you say? Well, I like to try and keep my answer within the realms of the realistic."

    What a great way to look at changing the world. If we all pitch in, the small things really do add up.

    So, to answer your question... if I knew I couldn't fail, I'd spend my energy working to help everyone pitch in and make the world a better place through small, achievable actions.
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    Jun 21 2012: The last time I read this question my reply was attempt to fail. I still believe that to be my answer but I now have a follow on in reference to my reply.

    If I try to fail and succeed have I succeeded or failed?

    All the best. Bob
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    Jun 21 2012: I think I would like to create a neurosurgery to remove my brain clots so I could have my regular life back. 6 months of this is enough.
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      Jun 21 2012: Ouch, sorry to hear that. As a RN I know it can be painful, stressful... awful.
      But I meant, more something I would do so the people would hear about me and think... "I really want to be a better person".
  • Jun 21 2012: Bring peace to the whole globe.
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    Jun 20 2012: Live on Kepler 22B
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    Jun 20 2012: Here are some for a start from the last time around!

    http://www.ted.com/conversations/10380/what_would_you_attempt_to_do_i.html
  • Jul 20 2012: i would get smart enough to bring happiness to every living thing in the world. once i gain that wisdom/ knowledge i would teach all human kind how enable themselves to be happy/ and or at peace with themselves forever. and maybe even unify the world.
  • Jul 20 2012: Everything not yet attempted.
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    Jul 18 2012: I would find a method to choose totally wonderful, bright, caring, and strong leaders and put them in charge - like a dictator - of a silly place - like Texas for instance, and see what happens. He or she would have to scrupulous to the nth degree
  • Jul 18 2012: I would want to lead the world
  • Jul 18 2012: I live in the UK so right now? Make it stop raining so much!!!! (It's raining again right now. Can you sense my frustration?)
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      Jul 18 2012: Please do not make it stop if you gain such power just send it to Canada and the Niagara Penninsula where we really need it. We were wondering where it went!
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      Jul 18 2012: My guess: Be relieved that I had waited?
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        Jul 18 2012: Let's keep going then! I'm game and I promise honest aqnswers to honest questions.
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      Jul 18 2012: Let's keep going then! I'm game and I promise honest answers to honest questions.
  • Jul 18 2012: The not so thoughtful answer - Fly without the aid of machinery or technology.
    On a more deeper thought - I would engage people with the bigger issues in the world and kill the parasitic culture of the celebrity.
  • Jul 16 2012: A person who never fail, never tried anything new
  • Jul 14 2012: I would colonize a new planet, improve space travel, reduce crime, fix capitalism, and bring back abraham lincoln the vampire slayer. i would also travel a lot and um...create the best breakfast dish ever.
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      Jul 18 2012: OK, Abraham Lincoln is one of my heroes and I think we might need him but real history is not the same as fictional movies.
  • Jul 14 2012: Personally play in the NBA. But education wise, I would like to create a new system wherein education is actually free and child driven without plitical B***s**t...
  • Jul 14 2012: This is one of my favorite questions to ask people. I would provide clean drinking water to every person on Earth.
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    Jul 14 2012: Anything worth doing takes effort, and stretches you. Anything you can do without failing takes little to no effort. For instance, you could watch "American Idol," or try to tackle James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake," or learn Linear Algebra.

    So I doubt I would try anything I was guaranteed success in--at least for long. It would grow boring, and I would move onto something new.
  • Jul 13 2012: I would attempt to not die. Then I would have time to do whatever I wanted, it would cease to matter wether I failed or not at anything else. I would have infinite practice. I could do whatever I wanted. I could make the world a paradise if I wanted.
  • Jul 13 2012: Simple. I would change the world into a better place without wars, prejudices, corruption, fear, and all the negative challenges we are facing today.
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    Jul 10 2012: Hello Edwin,

    Thanks for your words. It not that I don't have the faith in my abilities. I do. Rather it is going it alone.
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      Jul 12 2012: Common in from the cold, Lee-Ann. we will help you find the faith you need in your own very special abilities. At least, I think we can.
  • Jul 8 2012: educate the world on the perils of overpopulation and work to eliminate ALL religion
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    Jul 8 2012: I will rectify the reasons of my failing in past...!!
  • Jul 8 2012: I 'll probably clean the world and people's mind :) !!!
  • Jul 6 2012: Get the hell off this planet!
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      Jul 4 2012: It is always a pleasure to correspond with you Edwin.
      Thank you for your note and interesting comments. I did realize we were speaking of belief systems and I was working within the illustration to demonstrate the beliefsa are shaped by many unconsidered inpiuts.
      • Jul 4 2012: Thanks Debra,

        I highly value our friendship through TED. if I may call it Friendship.

        The Beliefs are shaped by many unconsidered inputs - indeed, very interesting! to me this is new and I like it. If I am not an old fashioned I though our Beliefs system is created and shaped by the culture and environment we live in.

        We used to believe all sort of thing that our elders (grandparents, parents, family members and teachers) believe, When we were a child we believed that Santa Claus was real, but when we reach to a certain age we start to create our own beliefs. this remind us that our belief system changes as we grow up and even when we change our environment.

        I believe that we are very flexible beings, but we don't want to realise and sometimes for some people the adaptation to a new situation is very hard work.

        warmest regards

        PS: There is a talk in TED (not exactly what we talk here but close to this)
        http://www.ted.com/talks/larry_smith_why_you_will_fail_to_have_a_great_career.html
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    Jul 3 2012: You're right Mark. I think there is something called the "in-between" state that we need to tune into that is between the two states of so-called consciousness. We only need to alter our states a little bit for the shift to occur. Being able to call upon it at will....that is the ultimate Yoga that shows us what it is that alters us.....
  • Jul 2 2012: Hi all,

    This is more or less the same question as:

    Who believe that he/she can make better hamburgers than McDonalds?

    If you believe that your hamburger's quality is better than McDonalds ...

    Now take your time to think

    ... then how comes McDonalds makes more money than you do?



    I believe Dave's question is more about human's belief system than attempting and failure.


    If you believe you can do something different compared others,
    If you believe you can do something that others don't
    If you believe you deserve it
    Then GO for IT


    to this I would only add, Between you and your goal is your limited belief.
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      Jul 3 2012: The answer to your first question is that it is hard to defeat a food item created by a company who panders simply to taste of the masses. Many people have burgersa better than MaCDonalds but the children were raised on them by parents who just wnated them to eat and parents grew accustomed to them when their nervous systems reinforced the chose due to reduced stress reactions.
      • Jul 4 2012: Hi Debra

        Thanks for your note.

        That question isn't about the certain food item (in this case a hamburger) it is about our belief system.
        Without doubt we all can make better burgers than what we eat outdoor in fast food restaurants, but only few of us believes that we can actually sell them.

        The fast food restaurants don't change they products because we, as costumers, are used to their meals and anything that is unknown isn't always attractive. Fear of Unknown.

        when we cook something else or the same meal but it tastes a bit different our children refuse to eat.
        we know that and mcDonald's know that too. we change the meals from day to day because we know our children won't leave us, but if mcDonald's change their meal their costumers will leave them.

        so Dave's question was about attempting to do X if you know you won't fail.

        It is also about Belief System.

        If we knew we would fall out of bed, we would not attempt to get out of bed.

        (after all it's our opinion, there are no rules and guide lines in this)
  • Jul 2 2012: Opposing thought:
    You might just smoke opium and live in a brothel. Trade instant gratification for accomplishment.
    If you know you can't fail, is there accomplishment in success?
  • Jul 2 2012: There was a movie about this called "Limitless". The magic little pill that gave you all you need to do any you want. When I watch TED talks I often times wonder who had access to these little pills...

    Maybe that's what I would if I couldn't fail.
  • Jul 2 2012: Make sure nobody else could do the same with this dangerous power.
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    Jul 2 2012: Become the worlds greatest opera singer.
    • Jul 2 2012: Hi Ashley

      If you knew you couldn't fail you would become world's greatest opera singer, is that correct?

      if I were to ask you what really stops you from attempting to become what would your possible answer be?
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    Jul 1 2012: I would install a mechanism to keep it that way. This just opens more options. :o)
  • Jul 1 2012: HELLO
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    Jul 1 2012: I would do what most of us would do. Nothing nothing at all no reason to try you won't fail. There would be no challenge no reason to do anything. Most of us would end up in the nut house.
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    Jul 1 2012: I would dust off an idea I had years ago concerning a new way to look at crosswalk safety. The tech is now much better than it was but it would still cost a bit to develop. I saw a woman get hit and knocked to the ground and it was just one of those images that is hard to shake.

    First off, why on earth is a pedestrian, in a crosswalk, without the safety of 3000 pounds of steel around them, only afforded the color of CAUTION (yellow)? Everyone knows it should be just as RED as the stoplight. Why don't people stop at crosswalks? Because it's all yellow!!! Yellow= proceed with caution. Right. Everyone runs the yellow. Humans are walking here and drivers are on cellphones. Let me repeat for clarity: YELLOW is CAUTION and RED means STOP. Change that one aspect of the crosswalk signage (the color) and you will cut crosswalk deaths in half. Make it RED, not yellow. The current signage is just plain stupid. We make cars stop for each other based on the color of danger (red) but pit humans against cars with a yellow caution...grrr. :)

    OK, get that fixed and in that time I'll be able to raise funding and develop part 2 of my master plan to keep humans from killing each other in CROSSWALKS! What a waste of life.
  • Jun 30 2012: Cool question!
    So if I could do anything and not fail- I would design a system of transport that wold enable us to travel through space more quickly and efficiently with the goal of exploring new galaxies and new planets etc.
    haha, basically I will get off this planet and live a life of exploration-with of course- a fun and skilled crew to accompany me

    I also had much simpler answers at first then thought a bit longer and read some comments and realized that I could get more creative!
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    Jun 30 2012: I find this an interesting question and I have it on my list of thought experiments that I need to perform in order to understand the concepts better. My initial thought is that I will make myself a better person. There are a few Ted talks on the idea as well as outside research into our fear of failure. Our fear of failure is ingrained and can be a good thing. I want my Salesman to lose their fear in regards to sales and meeting people. BUT, I want my surgeon and their staff to fear that failure. Watch their checklist, double check the blood type. FEAR that failure. Not debilitating fear, but that nagging fear not to get cocky which could lead to a death.

    On the flip side that evolutionary fear of failure, fear of the unknown, etc, has been usurped and used in our social cultures. So it is nice to be able to think critcally. "should I ask this girl for a date?" That is a fear than can be overcome. "Should I change jobs?", "Can I enter politics?" These are all fears of failure to address and overcome. Those are not the same as the fear of scavenging, leaving a safe haven to look for water, etc. I think it is the same mechanism being used to warn us of potential danger.

    So what would I do? I shall search for the wisdom to know when that fear of failure is good ( a surgery, driving safely, following safety procedures) and when it is bad. (asking for date, or getting a new job). I will then search for ways to overcome that second form of fear. To realize that it is an evolutionary mechanism being misapplied in a situation where failure is meaningless, or of no real consequence.

    If anyone has tips in this regard please share. I have not yet made this a full blown thought experiment yielding any practical procedures. lol. It is on my to do list. :)
  • Jun 29 2012: So I just wonder If you will do sth as you just knew you could not win.There is something we can't change.If we fail again and again,what about reminding yourself that maybe it's the one you can't change.It's the one you can't love.It's the one you can't choose.
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      Jun 29 2012: There is common sense in your response Walt. It is extremely valid and necessary to know when enough is enough. However, is there not evidence that this is the modus operendi of most of humanity? Why would we get in the way of the dreamers. Dreamers are not here to validate that way - they serve to point the way, the impossible without blind faith way- maybe the only way that ultimately works way - to others. Let them dream and you do the sober part.
  • Jun 28 2012: I would Remove all borders and make it so the would be no such thing as countries!! one would move anywhere on this galaxy!!!!
  • Jun 27 2012: I had a simple answer like start a business then I read all these other great answers like cure cancer and teletransport and now my mind is flooded with possibilities. So I'll go with the thing that touches my heart the most and feed the hungry.
  • Jun 27 2012: Invest in stock or a business
  • Jun 27 2012: Travel around the world.....
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    Jun 26 2012: If you use the keyword or topic SEARCH CONVERSATIONS function (located directly beneath the MY PROFILE block) and type-in "could not fail" you will find additional responses to your exact question submitted previously by Mr. Busby. Good day sir.
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    Jun 24 2012: I will clear all my back papers and then i will contest in an election
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    Jun 23 2012: I would open my heart and admit all that I'm feeling to this one person I love.

    Sometimes we don't need more than that. Acceptance, love and respect.
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    Jun 23 2012: I would have attempted to do two things.

    1) I would have gone back in time & seen how Egyptians made the pyramids & how Chinese built the great wall.
    2) I would have gone to the future & seen when would peace come to my country Afghanistan.
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    Jun 22 2012: find out what's in the Eridanus Supervoid. it really bugs me that i don't know.
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    Jun 22 2012: I would sue governments.
  • Jun 22 2012: Scratch my previous post, I would take a cue from the movie office space and "do nothing".
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    Jun 22 2012: Hi Dave,
    I would try going on adventurous rides like jumping off a plane or jumping down a cliff on the adventures part of it .

    On a serious note, bring about a change in the society , by contributing more and more to TED conversations. Change people perception about various things, try to give a TED talk if possible :).

    Not forget follow my passion for music, clinical psychology so that I can entertain people through my music skill and connect with them through my counselling skills and eventually Make this world a better place to live. ..
    This is one of the very interesting questions ....
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    Jun 21 2012: I'd build a Tardis.
  • Jun 21 2012: To teach that "Science" and"Faith" go hand in hand.
  • Jun 21 2012: such a good question! i would probably work for PIXAR.
  • Jun 21 2012: Achieve the impossible
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    Jun 21 2012: Quit !
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    Jun 20 2012: Construct a colony on mars to evenly distribute the human population to save resources.
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    Jun 20 2012: Change lives.
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      Jun 21 2012: Be careful what you wish for, Branislav! After my two brain bleeds, I feel like I am living someone else's life. Everyone says I am coping so well......................they just underestimate my curiosity!