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Excerpted from Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher. Copyright © 2006 by Barbara Sher. Excerpted by permission of Rodale, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
 

"Sometimes the best cure for stress is failure!"

  Barbara Sher, Refuse to Choose, Part 6

Those are the words of Kirpal Venanji, a Hindu monk. And you know he's right.

But how can you let go of all the criticism and move on? It's a good question. Here's a trick that will actually work:

Go ahead and fail.

Yes, that's what I said. And I'm not kidding.

When I was in high school, someone wrote in chalk on the sidewalk "Flunk Now! Avoid the Push! " We tried hard to avoid flunking back then, but flunking might not be a bad idea for now, believe it or not. After all, you're stuck in your tracks and you're not moving anyway. What do you have to lose?

Don't take big risks or burn any bridges, but do whatever you want, and if it fails, so what? Sometimes the best cure for stress is failure! Write that book or try to create a new Pet Rock, and let it bomb. If you don't get into action, you've failed anyway. And we're all much too afraid of failure.

Here's how to fail: Pick any project (you might as well pick the toughest one and leave the easy ones for another time, when you're in the mood to succeed). Then all you have to do is simply refuse to give the project your best effort. If you like, you can work hard at first, but when the time comes for a final burst of speed, just don't do it.

And when you've failed and your critics are watching -- oh, how I wish you'd really do this -- flaunt it. March up to the dinner table and say with a face full of joy, "I totally fell on my face. What a loser I am!"

Go into details until you can see they wish you'd be quiet -- and be sure to look happier than you've ever looked in your life. Your critics will mumble that you're crazy, but you'll take all their ammunition away. If they fire a few more rounds of criticism at you, agree enthusiastically and start flaunting your failure all over again. Done right, it's a real eye-opener. And it's fun. It might even make you unafraid to fail ever again!

6. It doesn't make the slightest difference where you begin. Once you quit worrying about being judged, you can choose the closest goal, or the easiest or the prettiest or any other goal, to start with. You can do a few of them at once, if that's your best way of working. It doesn't matter. You're going to do them all, anyway.

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