I’ve been reading The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin and really found that the premise of the book has really resonated with me. I think we’ve all been told the myth of Icarus as the son who is given wings made of wax and told not to fly to close to the sun or the wings will melt. Of course, Icarus gets carried away with the glory of flight and does the exact opposite of what his father told him, melting his wings and plunging to his death in the ocean. Not exactly the happiest of stories, but it does a thorough job of serving as a cautionary tale: don’t try to “fly” too high or you’ll crash and burn.
This is an unfortunate myth to propagate. We are basically being told to fear our own success! That we shouldn’t aim too high because it is likely that we will fail.
But as Godin points out in the book, there is another part to the myth that has been dropped from the cautionary tale: Icarus was also told not to fly too low or risk losing the lift in his wax wings that kept him aloft.
So, though we’ve been warned against flying too high, against striving for great success, the part where we get told to also avoid flying to low – to avoid never trying at all – has been dropped from the cautionary tale.
Basically, we’re being told that it’s okay to just not try at all, because it’s better than trying to be too successful and ending in failure.
I think it’s better to work hard at something you enjoy doing, to strive for success and want it with all your being, to put every ounce of energy into that success even if your attempts come to nothing.
I would much rather fail at something, knowing that I gave my all, than to never try at all.
What about you?