Should we fear failure?


To begin with, at time of writing, google defines failure as a lack of success or the omission of expected or required results. This being google, obviously they’re not allowed to define it with something like “You done fucked up”, “ ya dropped the ball”, or even “fubar”. Any way to describe not succeeding at something though basically means the same thing, you didn’t get/achieve something you wanted to.

So where does this fear of failure come from? Is it a lack of confidence, a fear of doing without the thing you wanted, a fear of being laughed at for failure, a fear of missing out on other the other things we could be doing with our time, or is it a fear of the consequences?

Well, lets have a look at self confidence first, one of the reasons we fear failure is because we don’t believe we’re capable of getting/achieving what we want. Self image can be crippling in some cases, thoughts of your capabilities sink in and you begin to worry. But, unless it’s something that has literally never been done before on the planet, you know the thing you want is possible. If it’s  possible you just have to rise to the challenge, which just takes time and determination. It’s important to take stock, if the guy sitting next to you can do it, you can too. You just need to find out what the person has/knows, and go out and get/learn that thing to put you on even footing.

Fear of doing without the thing you want to get/achieve has to be the most confusing line of reasoning you’ll ever convince yourself of. The guy who sees an attractive girl but can’t build up the nerve to talk to her because she might turn him down. The person who wouldn’t dream of applying for the job they want because they might get turned down. Whether you do or don’t, you still won’t. You won’t get/achieve the thing you desire, and you’ll still be without. Making this the most confusing line of thought, and even weirder is it’s actually really common…. Not trying to get the thing you want, because… you don’t want to do without the thing you want….. (riiiiiiggghhhhttt……)

Fear of being laughed at or made fun of for trying to achieve your goals but failing at them. This ones a bit of a soul search really, is the approval of idiots really worth living without the things you want to get/achieve? I say idiots because that’s exactly what they are, little minded idiots, anyone who does not encourage or better those around them is worthless to you and society as a whole. That might sound a little harsh, there are critical people all over the world, we all know someone who gets a kick out of other peoples pain and vulnerabilities. Well, that person is an ass, if you ignore them they will go away and if you were to fast-forward in to the future(on average) you’d find they without goals of their own will be left behind by life. So to repeat the question, is looking cool in front of them really worth sacrificing your own personal growth?

FOMO, or a fear of missing out, makes a lot of sense spoken out loud. Everyone can understand not doing X thing because you might miss out on Y. The fear and realization that saying yes to 1 thing effectively means saying no to a world of possibilities. Prior to making a decision or commitment to do something, you have the world open to you and you can literally do anything. If you were to pick 1 specific goal and really commit to it, you might miss out on something else that could be more advantageous to you later. This leaves you never trying to get/achieve what you want in fear of not wanting it after putting the effort in, because you missed out on some other big opportunity, and in comparison what you got/achieved is less. Again, spoken aloud this makes a lot of sense, in practice this could leave you wasting literal years of your life and missing out on countless things because you were too worried about “what ifs”. I saw a great quote on a fortune cookie that relates to this one, “Many a misstep were made by standing still”.

Finally, and most obviously, is the fear of facing the consequences of failure. Now out of all of the reasons for fearing failure, this one makes the most sense of course. But… most of the consequences we imagine tend to be all in our head. Some of course aren’t, some things can be life threatening or may cause harm to others, which aren’t the kinds of things I’m talking about. I’m more talking about fears with what we’d consider earth shattering consequences that don’t affect our health, or that of others. Here’s an example of a fear of consequences that seem justifiable, if you can’t deal with your job any more and try to jump jobs to something else. Some people have the reasonable fear of the new job not working out and being left jobless. Which would be bad, but you could have gotten a second job on the weekends prior to the swap and left the second job once you found yourself grounded firmly I the new one. This would protect you from being incomeless if the new job fell through, removing any actual worry. I think you can guess where I’m going with this, but all “consequences” we’re afraid of can just about all be mitigated with some proper planning.

So, should we fear failure? Personally, I think I’d rather have a list of things I’ve failed at than a list of things I was too afraid to even try. The person who does not try, has already failed.

This weeks advice

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