Here’s a question: What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
If that question seems familiar, it should. One of the hallmarks of a powerful question is that it gets passed around, and among innovators I spoke with in the tech industry, this one has been making the rounds perhaps more than any other–quoted by everyone from Google’s Regina Dugan to Sebastian Thrun at Udacity and Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia.
Interestingly, the question did not originate in Silicon Valley. It can be traced back three decades to the American pastor Robert Schuller, who used it in inspirational sermons and books. But its popularity was jumpstarted a few years ago by Dugan, who featured the question in a widely circulated 2010 TED speech (Dugan was a creative director at DARPA at the time).
Worried about failure? By asking “What if I could not fail?” you create a mental landscape in which the constraint of failure is removed.
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