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Sartaj Anand

Founder, Egomonk , Melton Foundation

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Fill in the Blank - If I knew I could not fail I would ___________ ?

The question is simple and self-explanatory but I would request you all to think for some time before you answer it.

" Change the world " is a satisfactory (and abstract) answer but is that something which concerns You the most at this moment in your life. So, what would You do if You knew You could not fail ?

My Answer -

If I knew I could not fail I would fall in Love.

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  • Dec 7 2011: If I knew I could not fail,
    would I not seek to fail? -
    Justifiably resist
    all blessings of success?

    If I knew I could not fail,
    what could I call success?
    For an action without risk
    deserves no reward.

    If I knew I could not fail,
    what could I work toward?
    Every defeat is the
    impetus to excel.

    SEP

    *I have not read the conversation yet - I saw the question and have spent the last twenty minutes writing and typing up my poem there - so I do not know if I am rehashing what has been said or offering something new. I feel that failure is necessary to the process of growth and serves to set our frame of reference. Though it can be painful, it is helpful if we are not too stubborn to learn from it.
    Thanks for an interesting question and conversation topic.
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    Dec 4 2011: If I knew I could not fail I would never know what success means for me.
  • Dec 12 2011: Ive decided to come back and give this "filling in the blank" thing a shot even though I cant truly say I understand it.
    If I couldnt fail I'd tell all of you to simply do what it is you're afraid of doing rather than filling in blanks...

    Here's a poem I wrote a while back it might just help:

    Looking Out To Sea

    By: Tiago Landman

    As I sit on the edge of a cliff looking out to sea,
    I think of all the other places that I´d rather be;
    I imagine past sea men from here parting ways,
    In search of a new world and many other bays;

    I imagine the fortunes that lay beyond to be made,
    What great adventures, I´d miss out on, if here I stayed;
    What uncertainty I feel about stepping into the unknown,
    Especially when I´m planning to do so on my own;

    What world lies beyond those dark rugged seas?
    Will I withstand it all or will it bring me to my knees?
    How will I be treated by the new world’s strangers?
    The sea certainly has its charm but also its dangers;

    It will take a mighty strong soul to make it out there,
    On the voyage alone all the problems I´d have to bear;
    This thought once great now causes me such fright,
    Surely out there on my own I would not last the night;

    Yet this perilous thought continues to grip my mind,
    From this voyage of a life time my heart I cannot bind;
    Even though I think of the dangers and of being alone,
    I´m so tempted with going out into the dark unknown;

    Every journey has its own perils and its own thrills,
    But the idea of traveling this vast ocean gives me chills;
    Maybe somehow I´ll make it through or perhaps I won´t,
    I´ll never know for sure if taking that first step I don´t;

    Yet I don’t believe I´m a man for such a great feet,
    I would surely be torn to shreds and suffer defeat;
    So I´ll keep looking out to sea at the edge of this cliff,
    Thinking of great voyages and asking myself what if?

    What is the point of life if we dont face our fears? Especially the fear of failure!
  • Dec 9 2011: Hi Mr. Anand, how are ya?
    " If I knew I could not fail " I would help the abused children of the world. If I could do it without failing, that means,saving ONE abused child. I would do it! That is what I would do. Alas, for some reason, it is difficult. Governments are protecting these humans, that abuse children. I would do it and I am trying! :) Excellent question! :)
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      Dec 9 2011: You've hit an important issue. Everyone needs to open up their eyes and do their bit to help these children. I hope you stick to it and keep going strong !
      • Dec 10 2011: I intend to! It is frustrating tho! I will continue to be vigilante. Like so many other humans that refuse to give up!
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      Dec 11 2011: The force be with you Tishe.
      • Dec 12 2011: May the Force be with you also! We need it when, we have to deal with laws, that let these humans go free. :(
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          Dec 13 2011: Count on the fact that the power of goodness, lying in your heart, is billions of times bigger than any obstacle.
      • Dec 14 2011: Hi Jullette, innocent, abused children, will never know the power of goodness. We now have yet another case, of child abuse. Seems a child is dead because the, the girlfriend of the father, of said baby, is dead. She decided to drop the baby on the floor and then throw a cup at the baby? This little human is now dead. The girlfriend is facing 2nd. degree murder charge! Yes! It is a step, in the right direction! BUT NOT ENOUGH! Yes there is, finally, a power stepping in. There are toooo many little babies still being hurt by their LOVED ones?? It has to stop! I cannot fail this. Take care Jullette! ( with respect)
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    Dec 7 2011: If I knew I could not fail, then life would not be worth living. What is the joy in success without the feeling of overcoming failure?
    • Dec 9 2011: Hi Dylan, success is over rated. Failure is over rated. It is lessons learned? Once it is called a failure, humans tend to give up. :) Respect and liked your comment! :)
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      Dec 14 2011: How about just gaining more knowledge and deeper understanding. Isn't that worth living for?
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    Dec 6 2011: If I knew I could not fail........I would make disappear all nuclear and other weapons from this earth.
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      Dec 7 2011: Alas, a world without sticks and stones.
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        Dec 7 2011: Edward ??
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          Dec 7 2011: Wherfore art thou Juliette?
          All I am getting at is, according to Albert Einstein, if all weaponry and war technology were to be eliminated, the next war would be fought with [sticks and] stones. Man makes wars, weapons don't, and if the only weapon he can find is a stone he will hurl it at you with great hatred and vigor! If your objective is a peaceful earth use your one wish to change the heart of Man, then the swords will be made into plowshares.
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        Dec 7 2011: But Edward !! ..... I have already used my "one wish to change the heart of Man" ..... previously upon rubbing the genie lamp which was given to me at another conversation !!!!!!!!!!!
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          Dec 7 2011: Once again I find myself under-informed. Sorry.
          I haven't been out lately, has your wish been granted?
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        Dec 7 2011: It has Edward....it has. I woke up the next morning with my heart filled so to the top that it overflows with goodness...and I ran out and poured of my joy into everyone I met....I watched their eyes sparkle with joy..... and an exuberant bliss filled the air...So I can report from my post..that it has begun and....it is rippling outward...when the wave lifts you....you will know.
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      Dec 9 2011: Juliette

      that makes two of us
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    Dec 6 2011: Be saddened that I had become a robot immutably programmed for success no longer having the precious freedom to learn and grow by trial and error.
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      Dec 6 2011: There is so much emphasis on freedom. Why is justice so commonly neglected? Is it implied in "trial and error?'

      I think your contribution is profound so happily marked "thumbs up." Also, I would like your comment on my assertion: people who would not think of your profound statement would benefit from clarification that justice is the key to kindness and humility--the marks of success.
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        Dec 7 2011: I readily see, Mr. Beaver, how freedom is in play here. Justice, on the other hand, is not so straightforward for me. If I am denied the freedom to try my own ideas, with the possibility of failure, am I a victim of injustice? Of course I am!! Any denial of freedom (except in crime and punishment) is an act of injustice. You sir are correct. I think my confusion is rooted in my lack of appreciation for just how closely liberty and justice are related. Perhaps they should never be thought of as separate and distinct from one another.
        "Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe," (Edmund Burke). Thanks for the impetus. :-)
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          Dec 7 2011: Mr. Long, thank you for such a rich response and for the quote.
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    Dec 6 2011: If I knew I could not fail in getting many replies I wouldn't start a topic in this format :P
  • Dec 14 2011: Hey tishe thanks for the great words of encouragement. I hope others will think along the same lines. We never stop to think about the kids that turn 18 and that is the end of State care for them and they are on their own.
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    Dec 14 2011: sing and dance! :D
  • Dec 13 2011: This is more a I hope I do not fail.... I want to adopt an older child within the next year. Hopefully I can give an older kid a family that he or she would not have had otherwise.
    • Dec 14 2011: Oh my gosh! That is wonderful!! There are so many out there! Kudos GR!! :)
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    Dec 12 2011: If I knew I could not fail I believe that I would end all discrimination and attempt to make the world an equal place, where everyone's ideas are appreciated and the advancement of society is the fundamental goal of everyone.
  • Dec 12 2011: I like this. Sentence stems are a useful exercise developed by Nathaniel Branden to gain insight into one's Self and unblock our thinking. As he'd recommend, write six to 10 answers to that question, stream-of-consciousness and without editing yourself and you might be surprised at what you come up with.
    • Dec 13 2011: If I knew I could not fail, I would:
      Travel to the US and invite people from Wall Street businesses to a conference
      Talk to the primeminister in Sweden to ask him if he wants to have weekly meetings
      Buy a note book where I can write down a "To do list"
      Ask the local gym if I can work as a group leader
      Write application to Swedish Institute to get funding for starting up my private consultancy firm
      Organize conferences over 2012 to save the Baltic Sea
      Invite local schools, universities and green businesses to join the conferences
      Skype with my ex girlfriend and tell her I miss her.
      Talk to my ex classmates and say I would like to meet them again
      Create an awesome website for my firm

      DO what I am inspired to do in the moment!
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    Dec 11 2011: Some of the most intersting, some of the best entertaining and fun things in my live happened because I failed, because I made less than optimal decitions.

    So I think I, if I could not fail,
    I would try to learn it.
  • Dec 11 2011: I would sue the tobacco industry.
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    Dec 10 2011: If I knew I could not fail...I would have trouble doing anything, for the result would already be determined, and theres no fun in that...
    • Dec 10 2011: Good answer! ( oh, what does it mean?) :)
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        Dec 10 2011: I mean, if I knew I could not fail, then I would be able to be successful at EVERYTHING, which sounds good at first, but how does one learn if you are always correct? I could get really profound as prepose that if I could never fail, then more then likely I would never succeed either!
        • Dec 11 2011: Cool! However, will you try to fail? Try to make a difference? Then fail. Then try again?
          Humans are so weird. TRY AGAIN! We are the only ones, that can do do it. ( does that make sense?) :)
  • Dec 9 2011: I would approach and get to know every person I meet in my life!
    I would find what I want, the way to do it, help people to develop themselves and make earth a better place to live!
    I would travel around the universe and find extraordinary forms of life!
    I would travel with my time machine back in time to see with my own eyes what really happened in the history of mankind!
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    Dec 9 2011: I would bring down the white house, capital hill and all of the world banks so they can stop oppressing people.
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      Dec 9 2011: A fan of the Occupy movement then ?
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        Dec 9 2011: Well since I was 18 I've disliked the U.S. government and capitalism so my views extend well beyond that of the Occupy Movement but to answer your question yes, I'm in full support of the Occupy Movement.

        But if you ask me, what I stated should have happened a long time before this movement began
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          Dec 14 2011: Do you just seek to destroy what is? Or does your ambition extent to the point of replacing it with something better?
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          Dec 14 2011: I'm pretty much with you on the current US government, though I have to admit, I still believe we live in a democracy, so it's really mostly our fault for electing them. I blame people who listen to advertising, not people who advertise... There will always be wolves, you just can't let yourself be a sheep... In my humble opinion...

          On Capitalism, I am curious though, if you have a particular ism in mind to replace it? Honestly I feel the same way about capitalism, as I do about democracy, "It's the worst form of governance, except of course, every other that humanity has yet tried" Winston Churchill.

          I see lots of people flaming capitalism, lately, and I feel like I'm unaware of a new philosophy of economic governance that has arisen... because, yes capitalism is horrible, and unchecked it leads to extreme wealth distributions... but so does everything else humanity has tried. So I've always felt it was democracies job, to keep capitalism in check. I've always thought it was encumbent upon us as people, to use the tools of democracy to put capitalism in check.

          What I can't give up, in capitalism is the big thing "merit based pay"... I've always thought, that as a fundamental philosophy for building widgets, planting crops, or writing code... There are measurable metrics and outcomes, and some people do better than others, and for that skill they should be rewarded with the little perks society has to offer.

          I believe Japan has a capitalist system with a 150 to 1 rule, so that basically the CEO can't pay himself more than 150 times what he pays his lowest paid worker. So if your Janitor makes 10k a year, you can make up to 1.5 million... If you janitor makes 50k, you could make 7.5 million. So it's what I would call "capitalism up to a point", a point at which the society say's "hey you're not that good, you're greedy". I kind of like this idea... Do you have a philosophy you're backing in the future?
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      Dec 9 2011: I hope your chosen profession is not home repair and maintenance Mr. Hawkins. If you found a serious problem with a structure you would "bring it down" rather than identifying the cause and fixing the problem?Re-staff the White House and Capitol Hill by exercising your right to support and elect candidates you identify with. But perhaps the representative republic form of government cannot meet your needs, in which case you would be better served by moving to a country that has your preferred form of government which is apparently vastly different from our form here in the USA.
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        Dec 14 2011: I usually get that argument but I do not feel as though I should have to get up and leave. It was not my choice to be born in the U.S. just how it is not the choice of an individual who is born into a corrupted Indian government and stuck in a family of 27..

        To put it quite simply I am not a big fan of American exceptionalism because it comes a very terrible price morally, politically, economically and environmentally. Positive change is not going to come about through an incremental political system and it is because politics are not designed to function that way. Politicians are not concerned about the interest of the whole. What they are concerned about is their interest and the interest of those close to them. You can argue that everyone is concerned about their own personal interest and those close to them but not many people will do it at the expense of others in a deliberate manner.

        Once people realize their interest, how politicians do not serve their interest, how they can empower themselves, who they are and what they can do to alleviate suffering around the world and to know that that change do not have to come to them at the expense of their other interest (family, work, etc), I think things will change but the way our political system is at the moment I honest do not see what I'm talking about happening anytime soon
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          Dec 14 2011: For you to move to a country which has the form of government closest to the one you long for was just a counter-proposal to bringing down the White House, Capitol Hill and all the world banks. If you go with my suggestion many people who love the United States, with all of her flaws, could continue to enjoy life here and you could enjoy life as a citizen of your new country. It sounds like a win-win to me.
          By the way, it is not clear to me, were you born into a family of 27 in a country with a corrupted Indian government? If so, why did you come to a country you clearly do not like?
        • Dec 14 2011: Edward,

          Your ideas about Orlando's residence & opinion amount to you thinking if he maintains residence in America he must either 1) LIke it, 2) Leave it, but on your terms, or 3) dislike it, but on your terms.

          And that's simply absurd. It's so absurd it betrays the color of intelligence you're attempting to project.

          For example, while you've let on as though you've built an invulnerable argument, saying, "to move to a country which has the form of government closest to the one you long for was just a counter-proposal to bringing down the White House, Capitol Hill and all the world banks." completely forgetting that his response was an answer to the question:

          "Fill in the Blank - If I knew I could not fail I would ___________ ?"

          So then his response is *not* an expression of what he *is* doing, or *does* wish to do, rather, what he'd do in a reality constructed by a hypothetical question.

          In your treatment of his response, you've approached his hypothetical plans as though they are his *real* plans. Which, as I've read them are clear enough for an unprejudiced reader.

          Moreover, you pretend to ignore the hardships that one encounters attempting to expatriate from the US. However, even if you know them, it doesn't matter because frankly, since you don't like his opinion, you don't care about his well being.

          And, it's okay not to care about his well being. It sad for you that the reason you don't care *is* because he doesn't share your opinion. Since Orlando hasn't shared what his preferred form of government is your suggestions about him finding somewhere else is completely based on ignorance, as it is most caustic & prejudiced too.

          Your analogy was ridiculous. Your 3 options of no option is absurd. The problem isn't a lack of representatives, it's your notion: Be like me or you suck & are wrong.

          I hope your profession doesn't include repairing or solving problems because your approach to this would leave projects worse off than without you.
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        Dec 14 2011: I see what your getting at.

        As Ive mentioned to Tishe, I did not come from a family of 27. I was basically saying that it was no more my fault for being born in the U.S. as it is for an individual who is born into a corrupted Indian political system and lives in a household of 27. It was a point of comparison

        I understood what you were saying and my apologies if it seemed like I was engaging in polemics. What I was simply saying is that if this is my home, I should take part in improving it as opposed to running away.

        In regards to my very first comment I think most of the world issues a direct result of what goes on in Washington D.C. as well as the world banks and if they were dismantled and replaced with another system that tries to alleviate the suffering of the whole (not everybody of course since this would be impossible), that would be far better than a system we have now.

        now your correct that the U.S. is a better place to live than most other places but because of this it is also assumed that because the U.S. is a great place to stay it and many people immigrate here, it creates the illusion of it being "THE PLACE" to be and does not consist of problems of its own. If that was not the case, then the American Dream would have died out long ago.
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          Dec 14 2011: We're good Orlando, thanks for your cool-headed response.. In today's volatile climate words and phrases like "bring down" have a chilling aspect to them.
          What makes the USA a good country is the fact that her constitution is a living document which can be amended. Citizens are free to participate in the system although most choose not to. I think carelessness and apathy on the part of our citizens is what puts the wrong people in office. I am happy to hear that you intend to take part in improving America, she sure needs help now more than ever!
          Calvin Coolidge said: "Patriotism is easy to understand in America; it means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country."
          No surrender Orlando!
      • Dec 14 2011: " I hope your chosen profession is not home repair and maintenance Mr. Hawkins. If you found a serious problem with a structure you would "bring it down" rather than identifying the cause and fixing the problem?" ~Edward

        Orlando hasn't expressed discovering a problem with the relevant "structure", rather, his problem is with the "content". Which is to say, his problem isn't with the buildings but the goings-on in the buildings, or, not with the automobile but with how the driver drives.

        Clearly, Orlando's objection has not been, even from his first comment, about the structure (either physical or functional) of American government, but the choices officials are making while executing their duties, as well as the world's leaders of economy.

        Your analogy, that places Orlando at the base of Capitol Hill with a sledge hammer because the plumbing is shot, isn't sensible. I know *you* think it works. But, Edward, it doesn't.
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          Dec 15 2011: thanks I really was trying to avoid a polemic discourse but i did enjoy the conversation with Edward nonetheless.
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        Dec 14 2011: That would work in a perfect society, but with the amount of homeless people, or people with not enough knowledge, the vote is never clean. If all Americans voted you would have a much more complete government, but, as in Canada where I live, not enough people want to or have the chance to vote to actually let their voices be heard.
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          Dec 14 2011: Right on Stephanie!
          A person can be elected by a landslide when, in actuality, three out of four citizens did not vote for them! That is the power of apathy.
          Every vote FOR someone or something is a vote AGAINST the other candidates/issues on the ballot. If I do not bother to vote then I am helping whoever wins by not voting against them.
          I think the vote can be cleaned-up.
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          Dec 15 2011: Hi Stephanie,

          you are correct about the amount of homeless people and people without enough knowledge but I am curious as to what you and Edward think about the individuals who do not vote because they realize that their votes really do not matter? In the sense of, "well this politician is really out for his own and his rhetoric is nothing more than a propaganda tool?". Do you think they have good reasons not to vote?
    • Dec 10 2011: Why? :)
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        Dec 14 2011: is this a question for me?
        • Dec 14 2011: Hi Orlando, yes it is a question for ya! I loved your comment but ( don't ya hate the but?)
          You are "stuck in a family of 27",, ( that would be very cool, in my opinion?) Apologies, there must be more to your story and the politics?? Does that make sense? :) With Respect to ya!
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          Dec 15 2011: In Canada, if you do not like any of the parties running you can check the box at the bottom of the page that says you do not support any of those people. Your vote still counts. If you spoil the ballot, or don't vote, you don't count. I am not sure how it is in the States, but that is how we handle it, so you can actually say, in short, they all suck.
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        Dec 14 2011: Hi Tishe,

        I understand where you and Edward are coming from. No I do not have a family of 27. What I actually stated was "just how it is not the choice of an individual who is born into a corrupted Indian government and stuck in a family of 27".

        I was just stating that I am no more at fault of being born in the U.S. just as an individual who is born in Indian to a family of 27 is not at fault for being born into such a situation. Sorry for the confusion

        Now I am not sure If I understand what your saying? Are you saying that you interesting in knowing more about my politics being that I did not really elaborate on what I said? If so I would not mind going talking about it. I just didn't want to bore everyone with my political beliefs being that it would seem to divert form the original topic, which is why I did not go into detail
  • Dec 9 2011: Do everything possible in the world, why limit yourself if you cant fail.

    A lot of people seem to choose to fail, as theyre thinking of the saying, 'a smart man learns from his mistakes'.
    Seems most forgot this is only part of the phrase:
    "A stupid man does'nt learn from his mistakes, a smart man learns from his mistakes, and a really smart man learns from other peoples mistakes"
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    Dec 7 2011: I would see that no one goes to bed hungry or without a place to call home and bring true peace to the world.
    • Dec 7 2011: I would be interested to see what 'true peace' looks like. It seems to be one of those dang paradoxes that the human mind could not grasp. Like the universe, or the mind of God. True peace is just as complex. Though it could just be me, and I might be way off.
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    Dec 6 2011: If I knew I could not fail, I would demand verifiable contact from any god(s) that existed and see if anything came back. A condition would be that any reply had to contain a full explanation and justification of the reasons for creating evil in the world.
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    Dec 6 2011: If I knew I could not fail, I would cure all lethal diseases and cancers.
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      Dec 13 2011: Then we won't have a challenge :-(

      nothing to cure after medical school :P
      • Dec 14 2011: No worries, there will be another one, ya all can tackle!! (trust me on this) :)
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          Dec 14 2011: In fact, history shows that every serious disease cured is replaced by a new more serious and harder to cure disease. So... is curing all diseases realy the smart thing to do?
      • Dec 15 2011: With respect, Mr. Sanders, umm yep! ( i am thinking you are a comedian, on the side?) :)
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    Dec 6 2011: a stand up comedian...
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      Dec 7 2011: Try anyway! The world needs more laughter!
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      Dec 11 2011: Wow Vivek, you have the same dream as I do. There was a question on a form I had to answer once. It was "Who do you admire the most?" My answer was stand up comedians. I think those people subject themselves to the most physical form of failure of just about anyone...no laughter (and sometimes heckling). I can see why, for some, it would become something like a drug to hear that laughter each night. To make people laugh is one of the greatest gifts we can give each other. So I really admire those who do it...fail...and continue to hone their craft to make themselves succeed. I may never achieve it, but at least I can appreciate and admire it.
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        Dec 13 2011: Exactly Lisa, Your words possess amazing resemblance with my thoughts. I also feel the same way, and this is one of the most difficult but equally satisfying job in the world. I think people are either born this way, or do you know if there is any professional training available for serious aspirants? If there is one, I will leave behind everything and will spread as much as laughter I can. :-)
  • Dec 5 2011: This idea seems strange, because without failure my life would be much, much worse. But if there was something I'd be interested in attempting, I would join the occupy protests. It is incredibly important that they find a leading voice, and I would love to be their voice. Without fail, I could organize all of them and bring everyone to the same page, so they know the specifics of what they're fighting for.
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    Dec 3 2011: Dear Sartaj, I am convinced that you have arrived at the best answer that I too would give.

    Another might be: If I knew that I could not fail I would work to feed and educate every hungry kid.
  • Dec 15 2011: No Orlando, you are doing a fine job! You want to bring the White House down, etc., etc., you shouldn't worry about that. They are doing a bang up job, doing it, all by themselves! I was wondering why, this would be your, not fail mission? ( does that make sense?) :)
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    Dec 14 2011: I would go to school to become a Minister. The Bible has always fascinated me and I would like to learn the theological side of it too.
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    Dec 14 2011: I would travel. So i could discover the unknown, see the unseen, hear the unheard, touch the untouchable.
    Basically, I'd live my life in the fullest possible way.
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    Dec 14 2011: Idealistically:
    If I knew I could not fail I would:
    - unite the world's governments into a global government focussed on the development and betterment of all of mankind
    - eradicate all forms of religious or idealistic extremism
    Selfishly:
    - learn to understand everything