Day 144 – Dare to fail

That’s what my day started with. Dare to fail. Next to a couple pressure moments in silence and a Psalm, I read a book with very short notes to get you thinking. There’s 365 of them. I am reading them together with my blog. The main reason is not to confuse my brain too much by all those numbers. I admit, I read those little quotes and notes. Usually I forget what it said till the next day, but today it sort of stuck with me. Daring to fail. It’s harder than I thought.

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I don’t like failure. Neither do you probably. But every adult probably knows that we sometimes have to do things that we don’t like or that we don’t think we are good at. So my response to feeling uncomfortable with something is trying to find out why that is. Having a degree in psychology gives me a starting place to find some decent information, but as with any topic there is a wide variety of information out there on fear of failure. I summarised a few points that might be useful to remember.

1. Most fear of failure is short-sighted. It’s about doing something for the first time. We usually aren’t so scared if we know that we have time to practice and invest hours of hard work. But doing something for the first time is the scary thing. Not just doing it, but doing it right.

2. Realise that is not reasonable. Because think about it, you don’t really excepted someone else to do something right in just one go, right? And there are so many things in the world that require practice. So most of us need several attempts to master a skill.

3. So where does that fear come from? I still remember getting a failing grade on a math exam when I was 14 or so. I usually passed my exams without too much trouble, but this time I really had a hard time grasping the topic. I don’t even remember the topic itself, I just remember that grade. All it screamed at me was: ‘you’re not good enough’.

4. Get out there and keep trying. In the end that’s what it comes down to. Win your fear over by learning. If you had a fear of failure as a baby you would have never learned to talk or walk, right? But it probably also didn’t happen in just one try. I can’t promise you will never fail. Sometimes you have to just do something to find out that it’s not for you. But then you learned something about yourself and that doesn’t really count as failing.

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