If you try enough times, eventually the ball will go in. No matter how terrible you are at basketball. You don't have to be any good. You don't even have to improve over time. If all you want is one spectacular basket, you just have to keep making attempts.

How many Mona Lisas does one person need to paint in his lifetime anyway? If your current painting isn't turning out the way you want, toss it aside. Maybe you do have to spend at least some amount of time on revision and polish, but maybe that's where basketball has the advantage.

Once the ball leaves your hand, you can't modify it anymore. You can only choose to either try again, or go home. The sooner you go home, the less likely you will make that one spectacular basket.

And we go home all the time. We give up. We see all the failures and believe that's the set pattern. Then we never see what is behind that wall of failures.

Yes, if the ball does go in, it may just be luck. But does it matter whether a masterpiece exists because of accident or careful planning? It may depend on your goal. If you want to be known for skill, that is a different goal than being known for one specific accomplishment.

This. This is all we're after.

I don't care if you fail for the rest of your life, but because you have this, it makes all the attempts worthwhile. Imagine if you never made those past attempts at all. Then we would have missed the chance to witness this.

That would have been a terrible tragedy.

No, you may beat yourself up for the rest of your life for being a one-hit wonder, but does it matter? Is it better to be a no-hit wonder? Would the world have been better off if you had not tried at all, if you had given up and spent that time doing who knows what?

No, you have this. And it is enough. And if you continue, you may have more still. *We* may have more still.

And that will be the opposite of tragedy.

Maybe the best work of your life is still ahead of you. We can't know for sure. But if you stop now, then it will only be in your past. That is the only sure way to guarantee you will never be able to do anything more spectacular.

Maybe you don't want to do anything spectacular anymore. If that's the case, that's alright. You shouldn't force yourself to do anything you don't want to do.

But I don't think that's you. That's not what I see in you. I see a fire behind your eyes that yearns to explode again. And if you want that again, there is only one way to go.

To keep throwing those balls. As many as you can.

The more you throw, the more failures you will experience. And those may hurt, but the more you throw, the more successes you will experience as well. Maybe they'll be mediocre successes. Maybe they'll still be drowned out by the failures. But once in a while, whether by extreme fortune, skill, or some combination, you will find lightning has struck again.

You won't find it in the safety of the shelter.

You will find it outside. In the dark. Drenched in rain, the wind whipping your hair in your face. Maybe not tonight. Maybe not this year. But you will not find it if you come back in. It is safe here from failure, but the lightning will be channeled into the ground.

And you will miss it. We all will miss it.

And the world will be lesser for it.

You don't have to go out there and risk your life. Granted there is always some risk, but we don't want our best people throwing their potential away - either into the storms of too much danger, or the shelters of too much safety. We want you to accept thousands of failures, because the one success among them will be worth it.

Even if you never succeed again, it's okay. There is little difference between never trying again and failing for the rest of your life. But only one of those paths leads to your full potential.

You have so much time left in this world. Don't waste it.

But you have to judge for yourself what is or is not a waste. I want you to look back at the end of your life and be able to tell yourself that you lived with meaning and purpose, not berate yourself for having given up.

We may benefit from what you do, but in the end, and at the end of every day, you have to be at peace with yourself and what you have done or attempted to do. If you decide there are better ways to spend the minutes you're given, that's fine. Go ahead and do them. Be happy with the choices you make. But if you want to accomplish something but give up because you fear failure, then you need to learn about the law of sheer numbers.

If infinite monkeys can come up with the full works of Shakespeare, you can be all of those monkeys. All you need is the time to do what they do with numbers. Spend your time on something else, and we will never get another Shakespeare. If that something else is worthwhile, by all means, get to it. Surprise us with something wonderful in a realm we never considered before. Put in the time. Put in the numbers. Put in the sheer number of repeated attempts.

Not all of it will be Shakespeare. Most likely none of it will be Shakespeare.

But you will still have something. Maybe it will be something you recognize. Maybe it will be something others recognize. But unless you took the time to bring it into existence, there will be no one to sift through and find what they personally value in your potential treasures.

Even if 99% of us hate what you do, what if 1% sees it as life-altering? If one person could save the lives of 1% of all humanity, wouldn't that be something? Don't let your efforts go to waste. Put it out there, if you feel brave enough to do so. Even if you don't personally like your own work, who is to say you are the best judge?

If you don't have cancer, then a cure for cancer would be worthless to you. But if you stash that away, do you not see how it would affect the rest of the world? Or not affect it? Granted some filtering on your part may be necessary, just to save time for others. But keep in mind that your values are not universal values. Things you leave on the cutting room floor may just have been the cure for cancer someone else was looking for.

Maybe when you have enough good stuff, someone would gladly look over your clippings for you. But don't stop.

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