“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” ~Paulo Coelho
I have seven nieces and nephews and not a day goes by where I don’t find myself in awe of them.
They constantly amaze me—the new things they learn, how they perceive the world, and the questions they ask. So many times I find that in the process of teaching them, they are the ones teaching me.
I thought of this a couple of weeks ago as I witnessed my fearless two-year-old niece.
We were at her sister’s birthday party when the realization fully set in. The party was at one of those indoor places for kids to play, jump, dance, go on rides and slide down slides. That day was particularly busy as there was another birthday party going on, as well as families just popping in for some afternoon fun.
My niece walked right in and took right off. She flew into the sea of strangers without a care or worry in the world.
I was telling her things like, “Wait,” “Slow down,” “Be careful,” and “Don’t go so fast,” but she couldn’t hear me.
While my mind was filled with worries, her mind was filled with possibilities.
Later, a big, plush mascot came out to dance with the kids. As the crocodile shimmied onto the floor, most of the kids backed off to give him space, and to give themselves space.
Not my niece.
She launched right at him. Literally. She threw her entire body into the belly of the beast and gave him a huge heave ho.
She did this over and over again in between dance moves until she finally saw the crocodile’s tail and decided to go after that.
No fear. No worry. Just pure fun—the pure zest of going for it.
I hope this fearlessness never goes away. Well, let me rephrase that. I hope fear shows up in the moments when it can protect her from possible dangers. But I hope that when it comes to living life fully, going after what she wants, she stays just as she is now: a mix of confident, carefree, joyful, innocent and fun-loving—all exuding from her being no matter the circumstances.
I say this because as adults it is so damn hard to live fearlessly. We can be questioners, worriers, and our own worst naysayers. We can work so hard to reach for a goal only to stop ourselves right before the finish line.
We let our fears take over when we should be taking over our fears. (Tweet that!)
As adults, we tell ourselves all the things that can go wrong, when as kids we truly believed nothing could ever go wrong.
Yes, time has taught us that’s not true. Things go wrong all the time; in fact, sometimes we need them to.
But when we were kids and felt like everything was rigged in our favor, it freed us from the very thoughts and fears that, as adults, swipe at us no matter how hard we try to dodge them.
So what if we approached our dreams with the childlike belief that we were destined for the happy ending? What if, instead of asking, “What can go wrong?” we say, “It’s going to be great.” And what if instead of saying, “That’s probably not for me,”or “I shouldn’t even bother,” or “This relationship will never work,” we simply say “I’m going for it.”
What would the harm be in just believing in ourselves—in our chance—for a change? (Tweet that!)
That’s what I hope happens the next time I see my dream dancing right in front of me. I hope I’ll look at it head on and dive right in. I hope that right before I take the leap, my fears quiet down, and my childlike faith rises up, roaring and I say:
“I’m going for it.”
No ifs, ands or buts—just pure excitement as I lunge towards an unknown future.