Anyone who knows me will think, What is she doing writing about this? She is more deeply consumed by the fear of failure than anyone I know. Yes, failure — along with needles– is my biggest fear. And I know I’m not alone, Recently, though, I experienced one of the biggest advances in my quest to break free of the fear, and it’s all thanks to this blog.
I grew up as a perfectionist, studying to get the best grades and working my body to its limit in ballet classes after school, and it paid off. I received good grades and good roles in professional ballets. However, I became as greedy with success as professional baseball players are with money. The more I got, the more I wanted. Soon enough, I couldn’t enjoy my ballet classes because I spent the entire time staring at my classmates, making sure I was doing everything better than they were. So much success at a young age instilled a fear of failure in me– a fear that consumed me for years. Bad grade on a math test because pre-cal was like Japanese to me? I’d cry. Didn’t get into a ballet summer program I wanted to attend? I sobbed. It got to a point where I didn’t want to do anything I couldn’t succeed at, and, well, that was limiting my life in an unhealthy way.
I discovered some new blogs the other day, and after reading this post about failure/ perfection, and this one about changing dreams, it got me thinking about the fear that has been holding me back for most of my life.
As we get older, we realize that failure is everywhere, and if we weren’t trained to deal with it, life gets harder than it needs to be. Maybe each person has his or her own tactic to suppress it, but for me, I found my cure in this blog. I found that after the first time I hit “publish,” I didn’t care if anyone read it. Each post I write comes from a thought I can’t contain and a passion for stringing words together to create beautiful sentences. I started this blog out of pure passion, not because I want to become a famous blogger who gets free samples all the time and scores a book deal and collaborates with one of my favorite designers someday. My cure for beating failure was to find something I loved so much that I simply enjoyed doing it without receiving praise.
I encourage anyone struggling with the fear of failure to do the same. Follow your passions (like I said yesterday), and beyond that, focus on them, and only them. If you can’t focus on it enough because you’re too busy thinking about how to be the best at it, then you’re not truly passionate about it. Keep looking for something that’s fun no matter how good you are at it. When you purely love doing something, you don’t care if you do it perfectly. Making it a part of your day will be enough. I’m not kidding when I say the idea of failure used to cripple me. If I can overcome it, you can too.