I'm spending my first Saturday in the LBK in an auditorium at the Texas Tech Law School, listening to people talk about subjects I had no idea were this fascinating. (3D printing -- who knew?)
The inaugural TEDxTexasTech event is probably the most interesting thing that's ever happened in a law school. I found a woman who has such a similar dating persona that I wanted to jump up and down, then hug her. I've laughed at jokes told by a robot, admired the artistry of Burning Man and gotten tears in my eyes as a young Pakistani woman pleaded to be considered an American. The speakers have talked about language, science, technology, overcoming adversity, becoming smarter and really helping the poor, not just helping ourselves feel better about helping the poor.
I've learned that being the first follower is just as hard and just as important as being a leader, that "impossible" should always be followed with "challenge accepted!" and that our emotions dictate so much of who we are and what we do. (I've also been blown away by the technology tha is out there. What some people can make computers do is unreal.) I've also done some introspection, obviously, and one thing is clear -- I need to become a computer programmer.
Psych! Sort of. In all seriousness, though, I need to get to know myself a lot better. Either I don't know where I want to end up, or I'm ignoring it because it's hard.
One thing, more than anything else, that was said today, is sticking to me: Don't be afraid to fail.
Because I am in fact wickedly afraid of failure. When I worked at Target after my mission, I hated running into people I knew and was quick to explain why I was there instead of off doing something better. I still look back on my year as editor of the college newspaper with some shame because I didn't accomplish what I wanted to. I didn't teach and baptize as many people on my mission as many others. (As if God is keeping a score sheet?)
The secondary question here is, why am I so afraid of failure? Really, what's going to happen--I don't have any money or a job and have to move home? Been there, done that --twice. I realize I'm not good at something I wanted and lose a dream? Sad, yes, but nowhere near as sad as never trying it. I wasn't good at pole vaulting in high school, but I have never forgotten the thrill of flying even just those few feet.
The primary question is, what would I be doing if I wasn't afraid of failure?
Well, I suppose I would be flying.