Tag Archive | fear of failing

Success or Failure – You Choose!



Failing. We talk about it often. We think about it even more. But what is failing?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word as:

A usually slight or insignificant defect in character, conduct, or ability

Really. That’s all? Then why are we so fearful of failing? Everybody has a chink in their armor, we all mess up in our conduct at one point or another, and not having the ability to write really doesn’t exist. You pick up a pen or tap a keyboard and put one word after another. And then, if you are a true writer, you go back and rewrite, and rewrite again until the end product is something you can live with. So there must be more to it than what Merriam-Webster has to say.

What this is rare quality that so many people fear? Someone very close to me has a terrible fear of failing, which paralyzed her to not succeed in school. She thought: If I don’t try, I can’t fail.

Is that it?

Is trying, failing? I think so. You see, when we “try” something, we are allowing ourselves to fail. Whereas, if we DOING something, the project or attempt may not turn out the way we want it to be the first time, but we can say, “That was okay for the first attempt. Let me do it again. (Notice I didn’t say: Let me try again?)

Not getting up after you’ve fallen down is failing. Giving up because you’ve been rejected or criticized is failing. Not trying because you have deemed yourself unworthy is failing.

Even quitting isn’t always failing. Consider a guy who goes to a job day in and day out that is completely wrong for him. He hates it so much, but he trudges, collects his weekly paycheck, and goes back for more on Monday. He sees no way out because of pressures that he puts on himself–like providing for his family the only way he knows how. Living such a life of drudgery is so sad. Wouldn’t it be better for him to do something he loves, even though he might not be paid as well? Wouldn’t it be better if he could look forward to his work day on Monday? I think so.

Failure is not to take a chance. Success is a willingness to do so. And guess what? Success breeds success because on the next attempt, a person will always do better.And doing something more than once builds confidence. When we feel confident, people perceive us as successful. See how that works?

Don’t make yourself feel bad–there are plenty of others who will do that for you. The face of failing is in the mirror, but so is the face of success. You get to choose.

My advice (for what’s it’s worth) is this: Be yourself. Write what you want to write. Sing the songs you want to sing. Dance your own dance. Be strong in your own skin. If you love what you are DOING, the world will eventually come around. Let the world have its own opinion. Don’t get sucked in by the naysayers. Find friends who love to laugh.  Be happy DOING what you were intended to do.

Most importantly, remember, there is only one of you — you are unique. Don’t try so hard to be different– you already are.

That Four-Letter Word

Which wayAnother grey February day, but my spirits are bright. Snow is coming, but it doesn’t matter. Why? Because I finally found direction.

Yesterday afternoon Ken and I met with a representative from the ADRC — Aging and Disability Resource Center. It was a pleasant visit. Much more pleasant than I anticipated. I admit, some of the questions we had to answer were a little embarrassing, but at the end of the meeting, I felt lighter.

For those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know my pride gets in my way — on occasion. It’s in my DNA to be ashamed of defeat. It turns out my Grandfather had to accept “RELIEF” during the depression when he was fired from his job. For him, accepting money from the government to feed his family of eight was humiliating. He had fought for years to make it BIG in America as an Italian immigrant. But when both of us were backed into a corner for the sake of our family, we had to put our pride aside and ask for assistance. Liked Grandpa, I am backed into a corner, which gave me two choices, lay down and quit, or come out swinging. I chose the latter. And like Grandpa, I decided it was finally  time to fight for some help.

Ken’s MS and my long-term unemployment has destroyed our financial situation. And through the last three years, things have changed. Now, I must be home to care for him. He can no longer stay alone all day long, so full time employment is out of the question. Like everything complex, on one hand this is a curse, on the other it’s a blessing. After all, look at all the wonderful time we get to spend together.

As the ADRC  interview progressed, we found out we are eligible for financial assistance. We aren’t sure of the nuts and bolts of it all, and there’s TONS of paperwork to wade through, (it is the government, you know) and it will take time. But with guidance of helpful people and learning to utter that four-letter word, HELP, we will get some relief from some of the pressures we’ve been enduring for three years.

So, the next time you have a choice to yell, HELP! or keep quiet, I’m all for the yelling–now that I can utter the word out loud.

Saying that, just remember asking for HELP is a practiced behavior. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do it on the first try.

Getting a Mule to Drink Education

You can only be truly successful if you take complete responsibility for your life. – Anonymous

One of my pet peeves is someone who blames everyone else for his or her failures. You’ve probably known people like this. They go through life whining about how they’ve been wronged, hurt, slighted or cheated out of what should have been theirs. Instead of being courageous and taking charge of their lives, they grow old disgruntled, still believing life owes them something. Running around life with a huge “chip on one’s shoulder” is so tiring.

I have one student in my class who has such potential to succeed, but he suffers from this problem. He whines because he lost his book. During class, he told me the grammar concepts I was teaching were stupid. After all, he can write, why did he have to learn the terms of the language?

Last night I had had enough and I blasted him. I told him he was very smart, but utterly lazy. I told him he could write his own ticket if he just quit whining and started working.

He stared at me and bragged about the grades he had gotten last semester without opening a book. I retorted, “That’s fine. But imagine what you could have done if you had studied! Don’t you realize there are scholarships out there for students who are willing to PROVE they are smart? What are you afraid of?”

He realized I had his number. At that moment, he realized I knew he was afraid of failing, especially if he puts effort into it. If he doesn’t work and fails, he can say, “That’s okay. I didn’t study.” Again, he’s made an excuse for himself and thinks he can back out gracefully.What a waste of a good mind.

I have three more weeks of this semester left to inspire him. He’s worth the effort, even though he doesn’t think so right now.