I think life can often be mapped out by our failures and successes, dictating a graph like curve of emotions from sadness in our failure to joy in our triumph. Our life being represented by this scatter graph of high points, low points and all the ones inbetween.
Failure can be an everyday occurrence, whether its failing to get to school on time to failing an important exam. Both can leave us feeling deflated and inadequate and can set off a chain reaction……at least sometimes it can.
Yet each time I fail, I recognize that I’m not the most resilient to it. I’m not made of rubber I can’t bounce back, sending these failures rebounding into the atmosphere and moving straight forward. Don’t think many of us can…those of you that can count yourself very very lucky!
And so the fear of failure develops, for me this manifests itself in the occurrence of perfectionism. That sometimes goes to such lengths that I will not start a project because I’ve gone through a million ways the project could go wrong and therefore concluded it will never be good enough, and I will never be satisfied and so why even begin…..and this is clearly a ridiculous way to live I am the first to recognize that. But I’m aware that this fear of failure can do different things to us all.
I think often its also a fear of our reaction to failure, recently I realized I didn’t say I was afraid to fail I said I was afraid of how I would not be able to cope if I did. And after reading this blog post back me and Debbie were discussing just this yesterday we fear the reaction not the actual act of failure, so essentially we’re recognizing we cannot control our own reaction to things.
We went through a similar thing setting up Andy’s Beat there were days when we felt dejected, obstacles arising all around us, making us feel claustrophic with the restrictions instead of excited with possibilities. There was endless research to be done, organization of our team and our structure, the set up of this very blog and the website and our lack of knowledge of how to do it or even when to start. In my first post I said about how Debbie and I spoke of this months before it came about. That’s because fear intervened we dismissed the idea before it could even go any further than the four walls of my room (though clearly it did), in a way similar to my perfectionist tendencies. However the success we have had so far has shown us our fears were unfounded.
But that’s not always the case.
Sometimes we can want it so badly, work our socks off, and still come up short. Another failure. This happened to me with some exams earlier this year. It didn’t ruin my life or even my plans, just knocked me off the course I was on and off my feet for a while. I stumbled around a bit not sure how to rebound from this alteration in direction. This same thing can be replicated even in the mundane everyday events. Everyone knows those morning, you wake up late you spill your drink, your top has a stain on it and you get half way to your destination and you’ve forgotten something essential, your stressed and flustered and just overall agitated. These feelings can happen through big things or little everyday things. So I think its safe to say we can all empathize.
But what if we didn’t fear failure?
What if we were reckless enough, radical enough to throw caution to the wind, and jump head first, daring ourselves to fail whilst still willing ourselves to succeed.
What if we lived in a state of constant anticipation? Not of failure but of crazy, thrilling success.
What if we made the conscious decision to look at each failure for as long as it takes you to learn from it and then throw it, without caution over your shoulder to the wind and walk forward to the next challenge with a renewed sense of success.
I can admit that I don’t know how to react to failure, I know that I don’t always react in the best way, I know I can improve. In a way I fail at failing, because I’m not the person who can immediately see the bigger picture to the failure, and so accepts it and move on in the blink of an eye. I’m a person who sometimes needs to hide away for a while mulling it over before I can accept it and then emerge tentatively ready for the next challenge.
But that’s ok. We can’t all be made of rubber, poised to let failure hit us square in the chest and or us to bounce it straight off.
But we can choose to rebuke the fear, fear of failure and of our reaction to it.
So what are you fearing today?