Have you ever been asked the most over used, rarely comprehended motivational question; “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” Of course you have, probably several times. I bet from the likes of coaches to your hyper positive Facebook friends. How do you answer? The truth is, the answer doesn't matter because the question isn't realistic. We all face failure, setbacks and have things to overcome. Yet we act like none of this exists.
The good news is we are not alone. The annals of time are littered with examples of those who endured unbelievable trials to access their potential. I was reading about the mythology of Icarus lately and it sparks some observations.
We all remember reading of Icarus flying too close to the sun by the time we were a freshman in high school. Much is focused on his folly and inability to follow his father's instructions. It reeks of the dangers of youthful pride and arrogance. But here are a couple of things I feel will shed light on both Icarus and our misconception of his lessons:
*Limitations are learned: Icarus had a youthful curiosity, a desire to achieve at a higher plain than others his contemporary. Instead of influencing his son to realize his own personal potential, he was warning him to stay mediocre. Remember it was from his father Daedalus that Icarus first heard what was not possible. In life we are actually assimilating the fears and limitations of the people around us. Whether family or business associates, the real fight is to determine what possible will be for you.
*When all else fails, flap like hell: The myth has it that Icarus, after flying too close to the sun's heat, didn't even notice his wings had melted and he was only flapping his arms. This implies that for a moment or two he was flying of his own power because he didn't know he couldn't. What a revelation! Some of your success will ultimately come because you're just too dumb to know how to fail. Embrace that time of sheer luck and capture it's magic.
*No matter where you land, enjoy the ride: Icarus was overcome with the moment. While most today have evolved to the space to acknowledge the power of a moment, Icarus was already there. As it goes, he was overcome with giddiness and lost sight of the plan. But isn't that what the journey is all about? Maybe the real plan is not about the destination, but you seeing your experience as special.
The Icarus Syndrome is described as individuals who get carried away with their own success. But I see it another way. Since when is passion and intensity for higher things frowned upon. Icarus could have done things differently. And so could you. The beauty of this journey is we win or we learn. Instead of looking at your last 'Icarus' experience as a negative. It was just the lesson you needed to learn. So get back up, slap on some more wings and flap like hell!
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