On the odd occasion, I like to do some things I rarely ever do. Sometimes, I text people back on time, on some nights I manage to drag myself to bed by 11 pm and some afternoons I decide I’ll be feigning confidence talking to my followers on Instagram stories. I never succeed at doing each and everyone on the same day, but last weekend I shoved my embarrassment to the side and decided to face the camera and speak through my phone.
You might be wondering what exactly is the big deal? You take your phone, press the round big button, pop on a cute emoji afterwards and post to your loyal followers. Well, for me it’s always been more complicated than that.
I wouldn’t describe myself as a shy person in general; I feel like I’m more likely to chat a person’s ear off than to be dubbed the quiet one in any conversation, but if you’ve been following the blog since it’s infancy, you will already know all about my struggles with speech and stuttering as I wrote candidly about it almost two years ago.
Whist I feel more confident with my speech now than I did then, and I stutter significantly less, listening to myself in a recording or in a video is still something I dread a little… maybe a lot. Last weekend, however, I took on the challenge to be more outspoken on the gram, and I decided I’d do it by answering some deep questions. It wasn’t easy and I certainly didn’t approve of the many first takes I shot, but after deleting a few and cringing a lot, I hit post, and it was up there for everyone to see.
‘What do you want to keep alive in the 21st century and why is it important?’ ‘What has genuinely surprised you in the past 48 hours?’
‘What would you do if you were not afraid of failure?’
There it was, that last question that left me flustered and unable to express myself concisely. I replied simply; ‘A lot… a whole lot’.
It was the most honest way I could answer because stating the list of things would have required a video clip a lot longer than 15 seconds.
After a couple of hours spent in the kitchen trying to avoid second-degree burns as my sister and I continued our kitchen adventures making spring rolls from scratch, I got back to my phone to some unexpected messages.
To my surprise, I had received responses to my story of many who could distinctively relate to my really short answer and as I read them it was clear they would have also said those exact five words.
It had me thinking a lot about failure; why it scares us so much, how we view failure as a society. Why are we so afraid of failure we allow that fear to live as an excuse as to why we don’t take a leap. Why would I rather sit on a dream than grind and grind to achieve it?
The replies I got made me sad – I was seeing my flaws in other people just as they saw theirs in me. The worst part is I feel like I’m usually the first to advise others to do the things they love and want unapologetically and yet I’m so guilty of sitting still as I watch my dreams roll away with the wind.
What is the answer then? I’ve been thinking back to all the things I feared but did anyways. All the things that made my heartbeat speed up and beat so loud in my ear that I couldn’t hear anything else. Whether it was getting on a plane that led far away or choosing a path that could dictate my entire future, truth is, I have taken leaps before.
It’s been so long since I wanted to start a Sunday series. I considered it over and over; what I would call it, how often I would release one, what I would want it to say, but then again, I never did. But here it is – out to the world and YOU.
Of course, there are bigger things in this world for both you and I that weigh heavy on our minds. Bigger things that make us quiver and shake at the thought of starting them. There are things we believe failing at would make us look like a laughingstock. We may be afraid of getting close enough only for things to slip through our fingers before we’ve indulged in the glory of all our hard work. Maybe we do it to manage expectations or perhaps it’s because we are terrified we won’t be able to endure the pain that comes when we’re forced to let go of something we’ve been nurturing.
I raise my hands first to admit I’m guilty of sometimes imagining the downfall before the rise, but don’t you find it weird that is always the easiest thing to do.
Here’s the bitter truth; the reason why it’s so easy to succumb to the fear of failure is that most time we get so comfortable doing the things we hate; we gradually stop fearing the possibility of never achieving the things we truly want. In the end, the only thing left after our complacency is bound to be regret.
When I think about it, it took me a little courage to hit that white round big button to say the things I really wanted to, but doing it led me to this. I’m not telling you to simply erase your fears, it doesn’t work that way. I’m saying we should utilise our fears to fuel our goals and ambitions.
In the new week, ask yourself ‘What would I do if I was not afraid of failure?’, then start.
Start with the smallest might in your bones; with your all fears and your concerns, in spite of your scars and all your tears. That’s brave – we can be brave. We must do it.
Your restless romantic roamer
Are you often afraid of failure? How do you overoome it?