Just like a lot of people, I used to be afraid of failure. For me, failure in school meant that I didn’t try hard enough. It was my fault, and my parents made clear that I had to avoid it.
But bad grades weren’t the only failure I feared. For instance, my mom always taught me that having a decent job was the only way to success. And for the longest time, I believed that being unemployed was the most daunting thing that could happen to me. Until I spend the most unhappy three years of my life in jobs that I hated.
This experience made me realise that it’s far worse to feel like life has nothing more to offer. And so I quit my job without a plan B on the horizon and decided to give myself space for exploring, trying, failing, and trying again.
Not trying will lead to regret
When we think of failure, we’re most afraid of disappointment and other people’s (and our own) judgment.
Maybe we want others to think that we’re too good to fail; maybe we’re afraid of being judged by people we love, and maybe we’re scared that our positive image of ourselves will shatter if we actually try. Or we simply feel like we’re not good enough.
But the truth is, if you really want something, dealing with failure is just a hurdle along the way, and the one thing you’ll regret once you’ve lived your life is if you didn’t even try.
Don’t let your life consist of “what if”
Let me tell you a concrete example from my own life: I always loved with blogs. When I was 18 years old, I discovered a fashion blog while looking for outfit inspiration online. It was back in 2009 when blogging wasn’t a job yet and no one else read them. Starting with this blog that I follow to this day, I discovered the whole fascinating world of personal blogs.
For someone who loves to write and be creative, blogging seemed like a dream. But I was too scared to start my own. The fear of failure stopped me from trying.
For almost a year, I would take pictures of all my outfits before leaving the house in the morning, hoping to start a fashion blog. But I was always too critical of myself. I wasn’t as pretty as the other fashion bloggers. My pictures sucked (they really did because I took them on my old Sony Ericsson phone, way before I got my first smartphone), and I was too afraid that people would find out and make fun of me.
Even writing this fills me with regret. Why didn’t I just jump over my shadow and do it? Of course, my outfits were terrible, and I would be embarrassed to look back on them now. But who knows what would have happened, how things would have evolved? Maybe my life would be entirely different right now!
Don’t let the fear of failure stop you
Now I did finally start a blog at the beginning of last year. Still too embarrassed to make it about anything personal, I decided to write a travel and lifestyle blog.
I would talk about nice and neutral topics like my favourite places in Paris or rainy day activities. Never did I mention that I hated living in Paris, or that my only rainy day activity was watching Netflix.
I wrote what I thought people wanted to hear, carefully pretending to be a “normal” person.
I didn’t mention my IBS, actually, I didn’t mention anything personal. And as you might imagine, that blog never took off.
Was it a failure? Yes. But I’m still proud of myself for making this step and getting out of my comfort zone.
Learn from your failures
Now, do I regret failing at it? Honestly, I don’t. In the long run, dealing with failure is easier than dealing with regret. Because failure actually makes you progress.
If I hadn’t made all the mistakes I made, I wouldn’t have noticed what I really wanted to do: write about my struggles in life and help others with IBS, being weird and introverted and shy, and having dreams bigger than the sky.
Can I be certain that this blog will actually find an audience? I can’t. But it’s something I’m passionate about. And if I were to fail again, I know that I would get back up, learn from my mistakes and make an even better try.
You don’t have to be afraid of failure.
Failure is always better than not even trying. Failure teaches you a lesson, makes you learn from your mistakes, it makes you stronger and wiser.
Not doing anything just makes you think about what could be. And once the moment passes, it leaves you wondering how your life could have been different if you hadn’t been so scared.
I’m not telling you to risk everything all the time. I’m just suggesting that if you really want something, you should go for it.
Maybe you’ll fail at first, but you’ll keep trying until you succeed. And this procedure of trial and error will save you from a life filled with regret.
If you agree that you shouldn’t be afraid of failure and found this post helpful, I would very much appreciate if you shared it with your friends! 🙂