At some point during school, I made a slow transition from learning to trying to get the right answer. If that was the only step, while not ideal, it wouldn’t be terrible.

Unfortunately, the next transition is a bumpy one – from trying to have the right answer to trying to not have the wrong answer. While subtly different, there’s a huge gap in mindset.

it was in this time period when my Residency Director shared a quote with me:

“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”


Up to a point, this is a helpful question. To act “as if” and move forward.

Eventually, this isn’t the most important question to ask. Perhaps another subtle difference, but vitally important:

What would you attempt to do, if you didn’t know whether it might fail, and you do it anyway?

It might not work. And you do it anyway.

That’s how we learn.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Leave a Reply