Tag Archives: invention

Day 95: what would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?

4 Apr

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

My friend Gregg forwarded this question to me last night, along with a video from TED.  First of all, my friend Gregg may be one of the smartest people I know. Sure he went to Harvard, and also happens to be an optics genius, but he’s also the funny-ironic-one-step-ahead-of-you kind of smart.

So, when Gregg sends me something, I pay attention.
This video was no exception.

The question, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” was asked by Regina Dugan, (formerly the director of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and now working with Google).

She begins her speech by saying: “You should be nice to nerds.”
(As an aside, I think we would all agree that we SHOULD be NICE to EVERYONE.)

Then, she goes on to explain what the “nerdy” set have given us, invented and otherwise developed to help move our society forward.

I was struck by two things: 

1) How very important it is to FLY
2) What we are capable of BUILDING

First up — Flying.
As Regina points out, we humans only learned to fly through trial and error. Before the Wright brothers, we were told it was impossible — and believed it to be so.  But, a few people not afraid of failure pressed on … conquered fear … and taught us how to fly.

We can’t FLY without a TRY.
It’s one of Regina’s points in her powerful video.  We must spread our wings and fly, even when everyone around us says “flying” is impossible, or would rather see to it that we stay grounded.

You can watch the video for her mind-blowing examples of what “we” can already do (like an 11 minute flight from New York to Long Beach, or a mechanical hummingbird that flies right before your eyes!).

So, I must admit, watching all of this incredible flight and fearless invention makes me a little nervous.

It makes me nervous because I realize how much we can BUILD when we have a reason, passion and unquestionable calling.

“Failure is part of creating new and amazing things”
Regina states this in her speech and I love it (and want to remember it in the moments that count!) but, I also love the overarching question of this video:

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

In my year of getting over fear, I think I will make a list.
What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail? 

In the meantime, what I want to know is this…
What would we all attempt to do if we knew we could not fail — AND, we created and invented only out of a place of love, joy and fun?

What if all new inventions came not from fear of surprise attack and military protection, but instead from love and connection?

What would we create then? 
I’m hoping some really smart persons already have a head start. 

Check out the video below:

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