"Go into a kindergarten class and ask the kids how many of them can sing. EVERY hand will go up. Fast-forward 13 years and ask the same class of seniors the same question. Only a few hands will go up. What changed? The kindergarten kids believed they could sing because no one had told them otherwise."
This is a short anecdote from a book I've started reading. It's a fascinating illustration of how past experiences, whether good or bad, shape our future. How many of these kids, and we could put ourselves in their places, could have been singers had they not been told otherwise? How many of them would have continued in trying to sing until a pleasant sound came out? They might not all become American Idols, but there would be more many more singers in the world.
It seems we all have been programmed in a similar manner. We've tried, failed, been given advice on where to go next, and given up on what we started. We've been told the best ways to live our lives and many times those don't lead us on the roads that intersect with our dreams.
There is a common thread in the stories of those who have made a monumental impact to society. Most, if not all, have had pathways marked with failure after failure. The difference between most of us and them? While most people accept the reality that we're not "singers" after a failure, these individuals refuse to accept that it's not possible. They keep on working, learning, and expanding their abilities until they reach their goal.
Life is short and life has purpose. It's much too short to spend it wondering about what we could have done if we hadn't given up on the possibility.
"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot