Purple RainYou know that question that’s running around on social media: “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” It’s meant to get you to let go of your fear for a moment, let your right brain have a couple of seconds to unfold some of the low hanging fruit of things you want to do/be/accomplish, and then let reality snap back into focus. Hopefully in that process you’ll get a glimpse of some practical ways to implement that, maybe for the first time and then maybe you’ll act on them. It’s unlikely that a meme or a mental process like that will override our desire for certainty (safety) but it’s possible.

The thing is, we actually want to be sure. We want to have no fear, to have so much courage that our fear doesn’t matter, to know absolutely the way to go and how to get there so we can just head in the right direction, never have any doubts and never make any missteps. We want it so bad that we take our heroes and inspiration, our myths and idols and rewrite their stories. We give them overwhelming odds, heroic battles, damsels to save, and certitude. Even in their darkest moments we know they are good, they are going to move ahead no matter how it hurts, and we are with them all the way. Because nowhere else in our lives are things that certain or are we sure that everything will work out (or not therefore cathartic tragedy.)

This year has been one of sad endings.  Endings of people who made huge impacts on our culture, not because they were sure. Part of their legacy was/is the fact that they were sure of nothing. Yet they were demonstrably, openly, loudly themselves. They were courageous because they had fear and yet they kept going, because they said no to expectations, to conformity, to what is safe and sure. They said yes when asked whether they were this or that. They made missteps and called it a plot twist. They had a deep impact on people because they didn’t lead, they didn’t say “come be this” they steadfastly said “Be you.” Today of all days, instead of trying to be sure, let’s be enthusiastically ourselves and see what happens.