“Failure Is An Option, But Fear Is Not.”

Shaking in my shoes as I faced my fear of “flying on the trapeze.”


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I was struck by the quote above that reads: “Failure is an option, but fear is not.” Those eight words were spoken by director James Cameron during a 20-minute brilliant talk on Ted. Cameron’s reputation as a hard-nosed, determined, and often crass director leaves him open to criticism. Critics love to hate him.

I happen to find the man compelling.

Dana Goodyear’s profile piece on him entitled, “James Cameron: Man of Extremes,” is a solid profile of a man who understand the word perseverance. He does not take no for an answer. Within the article, Goodyear quotes him as saying, “If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.” In fact, I might go as far as to say his curiosity makes him riveting to listen to. He’s created cameras, gone deep diving to see the wreck of the Titanic (and invented technology to shoot it), made documentaries, and works with NASA. These are some powerful words to live by offered to us by an intelligent man.

Several years ago, I tackled a fear. Heights combined with flying = The Trapeze. I watched Sarah Jessica Parker fly on the trapeze in New York on an episode of “Sex and The City.” I figured I could do it, too. A group of us booked time at the Trapeze School in Baltimore, right on the field at the Inner Harbor. My hands and legs were shaking as I climbed up the very tall, very high rickety ladder to the teeny-tiny platform. The only way down was via the Trapeze.

I did it three times. And that was it. Enough. But I did it.

I’m proud of myself for persevering. Likewise, I believe I’ve persevered in so many other instances, in particular with the publication of my independent novel; for these reasons, James Cameron’s credos are rules I live by daily. I wouldn’t want to ever be afraid of failure. It’s true that failure is an option, but not trying is even worse.

What have you tried – and succeeded at – that makes you proud of yourself? How do you conquer the everyday challenges of your life without living in fear of it?

I’d love to hear about it.


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