Every failure pushes you forward, quitting is what should define failure.
Fear of failure is so great that it can almost be diagnosed as a phobia commonly known as atychiphobia, a phobia that is ascended from life adversity or from a childhood traumatic experience. Be that as it may, failing is inevitable; everyone got introduced to failure at some point in their lives. Some failures wreak havoc on our self-esteem and confidence although rationally we know we didn’t know better back then or that it is as simple as saying it happens. Failure can range from wetting a bed at age 5 to failing at a course to something with a higher stake like a crumbling business. Avoiding failure can stuck you in a rut while watching everyone around you move forward. Whether it was picking a different career path to avoid failing in what you dreamed of. Ego plays a big rule in shutting our dreams down. Fragile egos can’t handle the humility that needs to be on standby when failure knocks on our doors. Humility is admitting you don’t have all the answer, it also means you still have room to grow and learn. Successful self-made people don’t have big ego they substitute it with strive, they always make room for failures for the lessons that come with it.
Voicing out your dreams and daring to go after them can sometimes intimidate people at your surroundings. Some will feed you doubt that you are not up to the task. Some will ask you to head back to reality because your dreams are all delusional. You are left with two choices, then you either welcome in their feedback and believe them or prove them wrong. If you don’t believe in yourself, then find a confidant who is willing to be your anchor when you feel the tides of doubt and fear drift you away. However, you still have to have a strong belief almost religious like in yourself; no amount of external support can get you to your finish line if your belief was doubtful.
Keep all distractions on the sidestep, we often master at finding ways to distract our racing thoughts to be something that our fear then fights back with emergency sirens mouthing out ‘you will fail’. Success needs persistence in the face of failure. Allow yourself countless of falls, don’t let the idea of failure being absolute creep in and make you quit. Every failure pushes you forward, quitting is what should define failure. You can either get caught on a doom loop of avoidance or seek out your goals that are out of your comfort zone and into the unknown.
Little tasks helps when you feel beaten down and uncertain. Don’t let the anxiety and depression put you on bed rest. One thing I can promise by is baby steps. One task a day; today write a paragraph or two, the next day post it online. If you need help or assistance don’t be afraid to ask. One thing that resonated about Steve Jobs journey to success is his ability to ask. “Most people never pick up the phone and call, most people never ask. And that’s what separates, sometimes, the people that do things from the people that just dream about them. You gotta act. And you’ve gotta be willing to fail, you gotta be ready to crash and burn” Jobs said. There has been numerous times where I debated with myself if it’s okay to ask for help and admit that I tried and failed but I often took the gutless route and opt to bluff.
Fear of failure can get the better of you even after you start to know better. Unconsciously the habit to flight is stronger. For years I have agonised over my failures for not picking what I wanted. I always picked what was safer or what made me look smarter.
When I decided to explore the topic of fear of facing obstacles and failure, I asked friends and family what was that one failure that completely shattered them. The majority mentioned math. And at the risk of sounding narcissistic their comment made me think of my choice of majoring in accounting. I hated math but math was meant to make me look smart. Although, if I was ever asked a calculus or accounting question I would choke under no pressure. Picking what others found smart fed my ego. At the time of my graduation I realised I made a mistake but felt that I was in too deep and there was no way out.
Our biggest failure is our disbelief in ourselves. We easily doubt our abilities when we stumble, we can be very hard on ourselves when we don’t notice little things like getting the time all mixed up or when we let the paranoia get the best of us when the replies don’t come as soon as we expected. We tend to judge ourselves very harshly that it ends up decapitating us; we support our family and friends when they fail but hide in shame when we feel defeated.
My original article is posted in Khaleej Times Opinion Column