Friday, June 26, 2009

"No Fail" Mode

I am not a video game person. Never have been. Strange, since I grew up in the golden age of Mario Brothers and games have just gotten cooler and more complex since then. I would just rather be up and doing something. Like chasing around a soccer ball. Or swing dancing.

And then I met rock band.

I love this game. So much so that scoured and scouted and bid, then rejoiced when I got a whole Rock Band set…to keep at a friend’s house. Yes, that’s right. I, who do not own a game system of any kind, bought Rock Band for the sole purpose of jamming out with my friends. Crazy right?

Not crazy. Brilliant! But I digress.

I was hooked on Rock Band from the first moment I picked up the guitar. My first song was “I Love Rock and Roll” and though I didn’t have a microphone, I sang along with myself as I played the guitar part. 98%! I declared myself a Rock Star and said I was going to retire.

That declaration lasted until an afternoon when I was coerced into playing bass and we started with “Eye of the Tiger” and didn’t look back. We conquered song after song. And when our drummer got tired and we had to recruit a replacement, the selling point was “Come on, it’s on NO FAIL mode.” Screeetch went the gears in my head. Huh? No Fail mode? You mean even if I miss lots of notes the song continues on? I won’t get kicked out of the band? The little on screen characters won’t throw a pixilated fit? How awesome is that?! I’m trying “hard” next time!

But you know what I’ve noticed about No Fail mode? Most of the time it’s not actually needed. People seem to rise to the challenge. Even if they hover down in the red area for a bit, they usually bounce back and finish strong. (Isn’t it amazing how much confidence one can find when they know they cannot fail?)

What would you attempt to do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Have you ever heard of the Paradoxical Commandments? I think following them is like living life in No Fail mode:

The Paradoxical Commandments
  1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
  2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
  3. If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
  4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
  5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
  6. The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
  7. People favor underdogs, but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
  8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
  9. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
  10. Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.
  11. The world is full of violence, injustice, starvation, disease, and environmental destruction. Have faith anyway.
Have you ever genuinely reached out and been misunderstood? Watched a project filled with your heart, sweat, and tears be swept under the rug? Done a good thing that was forgotten or went unnoticed? Opened up and been hurt? Had a great idea that was squelched? Rooted for an unpopular person or idea because it was something you believed in? Invested in someone who didn’t (or couldn’t) see the depth of your giving?

When you do these things, even if they don’t turn out the way you envision, you come out the winner. Even if you hit a wrong button, or mess up the beat, or can’t quite keep up with the rest of the band…you cannot fail.

This list is all about action. About loving, and helping, and doing good anyway. And just as the fun of Rock Band is in the playing, the secret of this list is in the living. After all, No Fail mode is useless if you don’t actually pick up an instrument and play.

So get out there. Pick up your drumsticks, tap into your inner rock star, and do it anyway!

You can’t fail.

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