if you KNEW you could not fail?"
From my own experience, and opinions formed by observing others, I think most of us become more fearful as we get older. Think about it - we start out not knowing the meaning of fear (not to be confused with the 'startle' response). We have to LEARN to be afraid of the pretty flickering stuff, and that it goes by the name of "fire". We have to LEARN that if you jump from the top of a tall staircase you will most likely hurt yourself. We have to LEARN that every action has a consequence (because we don't come here with that knowledge), and then the presupposed consequence of that action gets labelled "good" or "bad". Here's where the problem comes in. The label given to the consequence is determined by the person who is teaching you at the time. Some are obvious: "Don't leap from the top of the stairs because you will hurt yourself." hurt=bad (I keep using that example because it took me a several tries and a number of injuries before I learned this lesson.) Others are not so clear cut: "If you leave this small town and move to a big city, you will be surrounded by crime, drug addicts, and all sorts of derelicts." Fear. It's an invisible system of control. Others, often well-meaning people who just want to keep us safe by keeping us in line, teach it to us. Once we have sufficiently learned our lesson, and have had our wild streak tamed, we teach it to others. Fear.
In school we learn which group we belong to: jock, smart kid, weirdo. In our families, we learn our role: the baby, the responsible one, the troublemaker. In the workplace we learn where we stand: top earner, middle management-type, the dependable assistant. We all learn to live within the titles placed on us. We learn how we are 'supposed' to dress, supposed to speak, supposed to NOT speak, supposed to be. According to OTHER people who have been taught how to be.
Think about that for a while...
and in the meantime, just for kicks, make a list of things you would do if you knew you would not, COULD not fail.
More to follow on this.
(I'm coming up with my list as well...)
added 1/16/08 - Part II can be found here: PART II