Have you ever wanted something so badly that the very idea of it absolutely terrifies you? Have you ever put off doing something not because you don’t want to do it, but because you want it so much that you’re afraid of going for it and failing? I mean, let’s be honest, it’s less disappointing if you don’t get something that you never tried for in the first place. If you try really hard for something, put your heart and soul into it, and then fail? Well, that’s usually pretty crushing.
It’s something that I’ve noticed that I tend to do a lot. The fear of failure often makes me too scared to even try to do something in the first place, or makes me put it off as long as possible. One example of this is learning to drive. I’ve been putting it off for years, purely out of fear of being unable to do it. The sheer amount of coordination required made the task of learning to drive seem totally overwhelming, especially given that having dyspraxia makes my coordination pretty shoddy at the best of times.
Fortunately for me, or maybe unfortunately, I’m a rather competitive person, so as soon as someone agreed to make a bet with me about which of us could learn to drive first, with clear, defined parameters, I booked my first lesson. As it turns out, learning to drive isn’t quite as scary as I first thought it was going to be and so far I’m actually quite enjoying it, even if it is still slightly terrifying at the same time, but I needed that metaphorical push to get me to make the leap.
At the moment there’s a lot of stuff I’m procrastinating on simply out of a fear of failure, because it’s things that I want more than I’ve ever wanted in my life. The idea of going for it and getting it wrong, of failing, of being rejected, is almost overwhelming. I could give up, say that it’s going to be too hard, or that it’s too likely that I’ll be rejected. Say why bother even trying in the first place, there’s just too many places where it could go wrong. However I know that I have to do it.
I have to do it, because I know that if I don’t I’ll probably regret it for the rest of my life. Someone told me the other day “if you don’t try, then you fail” and it hit a chord with me. I realised I had far more to lose by not going for something that I really wanted, than going for it and getting knocked back. If I know that I’ve tried, that I’ve put my all in to something, and I get rejected, I’ll just learn how to do it better. I’ll find a new way to get to where I want to go, even if it’s not the same path I’d intended to take.
It reminded me of a quote from one of my all time favourite childhood movies; “don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” You could choose not to play, not to do the thing that you enjoy, for the fear of getting out. But if you never play you miss out on so much else, you miss out on doing something that you enjoy, and you miss out on any chance you could have had of winning.
So now it’s time for me to take that leap. Because even if I try and fail, I will regret it even more if I never try in the first place.