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Lydia Loizides

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What is the one thing that you wish you could do but are too afraid?

Every day we make choices - both to do and not to do. Why? What drives our decisions not to do something? Try something? Is it fear of failure? Fear of success? Or just plain fear?

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  • Jun 26 2011: I would love to trust fully that my dream(-job) will come true and I will have a good life.
    But I have the fear of failure, and that I might end up in a worse position than if I had taken a safe path in life.
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      Jun 29 2011: I understand your sentiments.

      There was a time when my darkest fear was chasing my dream. It's wild and bizarre that the thing I loved most could incite such great terror, but I feared trying my best, giving it my all and finding, in the end, that I wasn't good enough. That despite my best efforts my dream would flop and I would come to nothing.

      I was, also, equally afraid of accepting this idea and picking up instead a mediocre, boring life which I knew I could succeed in.

      There is no real satisfaction here. This is not living.
      What was I, then, to live for?

      It was a crisis par none.
      Don't let me fool you, it still is in some ways and it's not easy.
      But here's what I've figured out and it's given me something real to live for:

      I no longer see success as a place to be, like standing atop a hard earned mountain. There is no such place. I see, instead, success as the thing that exists in trying. To endeavor persistently IS to succeed. It is never in the end result, for there is no such thing, but in the trials to reach an end you desire, that success is made.

      Put another way, the only way to truly meet failure is to stare down your dreams and tell yourself that you're too afraid to try. That, rather than shoot and miss, you convince yourself that shooting was never REALLY your thing...and so it goes, settling instead for mediocrity where discontent and dissatisfaction are often masked by this or some similar web of lame excuses.

      Staring down my demons rocked my to my core.

      For you, I say
      Dare yourself to face your darkest fears. Dare yourself to try.
      If you can do this, if you can attempt it everyday and for once feel the burn of your own honesty, then much truth, beauty, and wisdom are yours.

      While difficult, it may be the only life worth living
      and the only life that can truly be lived.
      We only get one shot, and I, for one, will die trying.
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        Jul 2 2011: man oh man this post is so amazing. Your redefinition of success is so very inspiring! Although I have that you tell us to take up the challenge of facing our fears, I cannot tell you how many times I've thought about giving up the standard path of going to medical school and pursue my love for dance. however, coming from Cameroon, Africa, we are told from a very young age that our lives are not our own and we do not to live only for ourselves. I was always reminded that there are many people who are counting on my success and failure is not an option. Pursuing the instability of dance is therefore not the ideal path for me because it does not guarantee the money and stability that I need to lift my people out of poverty. what's a girl to do?
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          Jul 4 2011: Very true and tough to answer!
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          Jul 12 2011: Dany,

          I believe that each of us has unique gifts and that success involves developing these gifts to improve our world. If we ignore our gifts, we may limit our success.

          Improving the world is best accomplished by helping others develop their gifts. This can be done in many ways. Sometimes we look for quick solutions to “fix” things by providing direct service. The road to bringing about lasting improvement is less clear, so we may feel we need to “sacrifice” in order to provide that service. While this may be true in a short-term crisis, to “sacrifice” one gifts over the long-term would see to me to be more of a disservice to our world since true success involves everyone developing their gifts.
        • Jul 18 2011: believe yourself !,and konw what you really want ,just do it!
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        Jul 13 2011: Michael wrote: " I see, instead, success as the thing that exists in trying."

        I’m not sure I agree with this statement. If we try doing something that persistently does not work, trying harder and longer is not necessarily helpful and can be harmful.

        I would define success as developing our potential to improve our world. Success requires understanding, compassion, empathy, and humility so that are efforts match the needs of changing situations we face.

        We don’t achieve success. We live success.
        • Jul 17 2011: Hi Bob, no disrespect intended! But I see in your words (and your picture) a person that spends a lot of time in the corporate world, living that life, and probably very successful and fairly well off. Your opinion of Michael's post is a "corporate think" opinion. Michael was describing how he has managed to overcome his fears, in his words, in his way. Bob, I feel you are actually coming across as very negative, because you are trying to redefine Micheal's post in your terms. You are trying to say that his words are invalid. You are trying to put his thoughts in your little corporate boxes. It doesn't work. All of us have widely varied lives, experiences and educations. Michael was trying to share how HE overcame HIS fears, and you are seemingly telling him that his words are not valid. If his words don't apply to you, perhaps you should just let them be. Your methods have clearly worked for YOU, but they don't necessarily work for others. Just my 2 cents.
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        Jul 17 2011: While reading Michael's post I couldn't help but think of my favorite Emily Dickinson poem:
        "Finite to fail, but infinite to venture for the ship that struts the shore. Many's the overwhelmed gallant creature nodding in navies nevermore"

        I think what you were saying really puts understanding in that poem. To predict you will fail or convince yourself to not go for your dreams halts the dream from ever coming true. Not trying is in itself failure or an end. But "infinite to venture" success is infinite. It keeps going as you keep trying. When you've ultimately reached your goal or dream you reap the benefits of your success forever. There is no end.
        • Jul 18 2011: agree with you!
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          Jul 19 2011: Thanks for sharing this verse, Malarie. It gave me a new perspective on trying. I tend to think of trying as pushing myself, which I have learned tends to narrow my focus and easily leads to frustration and burnout. "Venture" makes me think of "adventure" and changes the definition of trying to a sense of exploring - "try this" rather than "try harder."

          Failure can continue to loom large as we try harder but the chance of a final verdict of failure becomes much smaller if we venture forth and continue to explore our gifts and potential. A venture may have setbacks and course changes but it eludes failure with openness and hope.

          This brings to mind these lines from Emily Dickinson:

          Hope is the thing with feathers
          that perches on the soul
          and sings the song without the words
          and never stops at all
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        Jul 17 2011: Phil Brooks wrote: "Hi Bob, no disrespect intended! But I see in your words (and your picture) a person that spends a lot of time in the corporate world, living that life, and probably very successful and fairly well off."

        Thanks for the good laugh and feedback on my need to write more clearly, Phil. Actually I have spent the past 35 years working with disadvantaged people, earn considerably less than most professionals in my position and spent on third of my career working for a poverty program at very low (and, for a year, no) pay. I built my own house, heat with wood I cut, and grow much of my own food. I live simply, in a very rural area nowhere near any large corporations and have never worked for profit-making organization. The picture happens to be one of the few I have of myself and is a reject from those taken for a book cover. (I go years without wearing one of my three ties)

        I respect Michael's struggle to live his dream and agree with the thrust of his point that process is more important than outcome. I just wanted to share my belief that success is less a matter of trying harder than developing a clear sense of our potential and how it fits with the needs we see around us. Helping people to do that has been my life's work. "Success" to me is living with heart. This is less a process of “trying” than of letting go and realizing who we are, what we have to offer and how that fits the needs around us.
      • Jul 23 2011: wow.... you are too good in defining a sucess that convinced me after my 19 years of life...
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      Jul 13 2011: I am wary of dreams. Dreams are different from passion. Dreams tend to be precise and specific. Passion pulls us in a direction that has many unknowns. Choosing to pursue a dream is an either/or proposition. Choosing to follow a passion is more like deciding what to take with us on a journey, what to explore, be open to and cultivate when possible.

      We can foster the growth of our passions without directly pursuing a specific dream. This allows them to develop, mature, and adapt to our changing situation. Our passions become part of who we are rather than something we wish we could do.

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