Acting as if failure is not an option, anyway

With God all things are not necessarily going to happen, but are possible.

All that is necessary to break the spell of inertia and frustration is this: Act as if it were impossible to fail. That is the talisman, the formula, the command of right-about-face which turns us from failure towards success. --Dorothea Brande (1893-1948)

P.291 - §3 (26:5.3) That, then, is the primary or elementary course which confronts the faith-tested and much-traveled pilgrims of space. But long before reaching Havona, these ascendant children of time have learned to feast upon uncertainty, to fatten upon disappointment, to enthuse over apparent defeat, to invigorate in the presence of difficulties, to exhibit indomitable courage in the face of immensity, and to exercise unconquerable faith when confronted with the challenge of the inexplicable. Long since, the battle cry of these pilgrims became: "In liaison with God, nothing — absolutely nothing — is impossible."

P.555 - §3 (48:6.24) If you fail, will you rise indomitably to try anew? If you succeed, will you maintain a well-balanced poise--a stabilized and spiritualized attitude--throughout every effort in the long struggle to break the fetters of material inertia, to attain the freedom of spirit existence?

Tom's Compare 2011 August 18.
My dear old friend Tom has for several years been posting pairings of quotes from mortals with quotes from the Urantia Papers.
Tom's Compares at the Urantia Book Society of Oklahoma

Act as if it were impossible to fail.

Tom has probably done more "compares" with those quotes "feast upon uncertainty" and "rise indomitably" than any other, or else I'm just more aware of them. A quick search of my "Compare" log (which goes back further than the online collection) shows he has used the "feast upon uncertainty" quote 15 times and "rise indomitably" 16 times. He has often paired them as above.

In 1995, I published UB Comix issue #6 on "Success and Achievement." One of the weakest issues, I always thought. I was trying to do the comix on a schedule at that time. I don't generally work well under a forced deadline, and I thought it looked forced. As the center page of that issue portrays. Always liked the back page, though.

Anyway, I often toyed with the idea of doing a second issue on that important subject. For research purposes on the subject. Or an article. Or something. I've copied several relevant "Compares" into a separate folder. The folder keeps growing. Here are some of Tom's Compare quotes from that folder:

"One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks." --Jack Penn (1909-1996)

"The key is to have a dream that inspires us to go beyond our limits." --Robert Kriegel (motivational speaker)

I like this one:
"How can they say my life is not a success? Have I not for more than sixty years got enough to eat and escaped being eaten?" --Logan Pearsall Smith, essayist (1865-1946)

O, Lord!I'm currently into two books, a chapter in one and the whole subject of another is on the same theme of pushing one's boundaries, not succumbing to failure, and all that. I've heard this kind of motivational stimulus all my life, in and out of the UB, and yet, I've not really known what the UB in one place refers to as "the sweetness of goal attainment," more than very limitedly and very transiently. My fascination with success and achievement may therefore be somewhat comparable to a paraplegic studying great athletes or mountain climbers — a fascination with that which seems ever beyond my grasp.

Similarly, there's the exhortation to proceed "by decisions, by more decisions, and by more decisions." It's rightly been said, not to decide is to decide. Or, another way of saying it, if you don't decide, things will be decided for you. I haven't always been all that dynamic in marching toward choosing and deciding situations, but choices and decisions aplenty have been thrust upon me; I'd like to think I face decisions rather than run from them. I do my best to choose wisely. But best isn't always good enough, in the mortal sphere.

The fruits of my choosing have been pretty consistently rotten. There ought to be some taste of success somewhere in there. I've not got a lot of emotional energy to be depressed because I'm busy being so surprised at how consistently failure marks all my efforts. Since I try big things, naturally I have big failures with big consequences. I'd gladly rise indomitably and all that if it weren't that every time I rise I get smacked down harder, and it makes me wonder if I'm not trying things in all the wrong ways. Too much like Einstein's definition of insanity.

It's one thing to push the envelope in a worthy purpose, win or lose, and it's another to just be nuts. I'm afraid my choices fall more toward the nuts end than the wise. I don't hear the "still small voice whispering 'this is the way,'" so I guess and tend to guess badly. (This is why I don't gamble.) It may be true that "wise planning [is]... the one thing essential to worldly prosperity" (Rodan of Alexandria), but if "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley, an' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, for promis'd joy" (To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough, by Robert Burns,) how much more true of the less-well-laid plans! When I think I've made plans, it often turns out I was just proceeding in a kind of hopeful pipe-dream.

Make God Laugh

For each argument that might be made, "Yeah, Don, but you [good thing]," I have seen too harshly the harsh negative consequences. And oddly enough, considering this is what I see, I'm really more optimistic than otherwise. That may be part of the reason why I don't plan well enough for the eventualities of failure, even though they are far more frequent than success.

A relative, not a Urantia Book fan, has sought after more-or-less bogus gurus and been into astrology and yoga, but he was nonetheless always an inspiration to me for seeking spiritual truth. So it was sad, in a way, to hear him tell me once that he himself was disheartened when he looked in an astrological tome about the influence of Pluto on his natal chart and it said, "This person will seek for the golden thread which runs through all the world's religions." It was not like he thought this was a good thing. It's not like there really was such a golden thread, or that there was truth, or that his seeking it was a good thing. It was disappointing because it was merely "in his stars." Like the color of your hair or eyes is in your genes, it doesn't really mean anything. I feel somewhat the same when I read about the influence of birth order. Fourth-borns like me "may have huge plans that never work out" and are "financially irresponsible.". Big plans that never work out and a lack of financial responsibility which would make "wise planning" possible. It's just in my stars and genes. That's not real inspiring.

So, I don't even feel like, as Rodan put it, "each life failure yielded the culture of wisdom and spirit achievement." Maybe I'm just too dense to benefit, but sometimes it seems a fail is just a fail.

Epic Fail

But when I set out to live a life of loving service, believing that the will of God can be done in any earthly occupation, and find that my occupations seem all ultimately to be of great disservice and in fact end up undermining that very ability to proceed through which service is possible, as well as wrecking those fundamentals of home and family, I have to wonder, is it live or is it Memorex, or I mean, is it just that I'm the bumbling fool (in a universe of infinite possibilities, somebody gets to be) or is God up to something greater, down the line. Which seems to keep being down the line. Further down the line all the time, in fact. By Occam's razor, bumbling fool seems the more likely possibility. Whenever I encounter that old bromide, "God doesn't make junk," I cringe at the naivete. Nice words aren't always true. But, I suppose, I can't help but "act as if it were impossible to fail," anyway.

Found elsewhere on the WWWeb:
Topical studies at (Urantia related site):on Success and Failure, Defeat
Prayers for Success & Breakthroughs In Business at Mountain of Fire
"The secret of happiness is not doing what one likes to do but in liking what one has to do." -Sai Baba