When he asked for volunteers, I was NOT the first to raise my
hand. This was raising the stakes. If I broke my hand,
that was one thing, but if I pierced my throat with an arrow, that
could be fatal.
I watched as another participant snapped the arrow in
two. I thought, well I might as well try. I got up,
set the arrow against the wall, strategically placed the tip
against my throat and started to lean into it. I leaned with
force and as the other members of the class were telling me it was
beginning to bend, I felt a sensation that the arrow was going to
crush my larynx.
I am a speaker and a trainer. Without my voice, I
wouldn’t be able to work. I immediately backed off from
the arrow. The class as well as Dennis encouraged me to try
again. They assured me that I had almost succeeded. So
I tried again. As I leaned into the arrow, again the class
gave me the feedback that they could see the arrow bending.
I leaned harder and again I felt the sensation of crushing my
larynx. I backed off. Although they encouraged me to try
again, I couldn’t bring myself to do so.
I sat down, convinced I had saved myself from losing my
voice. As I processed the experience, I realized that I have
experienced this sensation many times. I convince myself
that something disastrous will happen if I go ahead and act on an
idea I have. I come up with many good reasons why it won’t
work, each one based on what I consider fact.
Just like the arrow experience, I feel we many times pull back
from success because of the “concrete evidence” we manufacture
in our minds.
I believe I learned as much from my failure to break the arrow,
perhaps even more, than if I had been successful in my attempt.
The lesson here is, that we can learn more from our mistakes
and failures than we can from our successes.
Thank you, Dennis, for giving me this life lesson.
is the author of How to Get Up on a Down Day, What do
you Want to be When You Grow Up?, and STOP the BS (Bad
Service). Visit her website at MargoChevers.com