What would you do if you had assurance that you would not fail?

It’s an interesting question posed to me by a friend. Here’s the long answer. (It’s not a straight answer either.)

It has been a long, long time since the prospect of failing has stopped me from trying anything. When I was a kid, I was afraid to fail and I’m certain it cost me some life experiences. But I haven’t been a kid in a good, long while. I have enjoyed many successes and endured a number of failures. Try as many things as I have tried and you’re bound to fail now and then. Along the way I learned that failing and failure are two different things (but that’s another post for another day).

What stops me is contentment. Contentment has a strong pull. There’s nothing like a good rut (my friend Nancy says).

To me, contentment is success. Find your groove, get in it and enjoy the ride. The grass may look greener, but it rarely is. There will always be that next shiny, new thing, but the shine always dulls. Strip off the filters to reveal your life as what you’ve made it to be and contentment is likely to follow. My friend Phil once said, “you always get what you want, what you really want. You may say ‘I want six-pack abs,’ but you don’t get six-pack abs unless you want them more than you want Krispy-Kreme donuts.”

Sometimes contentment will be mislabeled – as laziness, lethargy, ignorance or worst, underachievement. Contentment is no more a sure sign of laziness than looking busy is a sure sign of being important. It is a state of mind, not body. I know people with more money, larger houses, nicer cars and more trappings but little or no contentment.

I also know this. There is no one in whose skin I would be more comfortable or content than the skin I already own. That is a gift with immeasurable value, and makes each day an oyster I long to crack open with great anticipation of what I will find. Maybe it’s because I’m simple, easily amused, or lacking ambition.

Or maybe it’s because I’m a Jones, and I’ve got no one to keep up with but myself.

So my short answer? What I’m doing.

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