The Fear of Failure

How many of us can admit we live with some type of fear, be it completely irrational or somewhat justifiable? Most people know exactly what they fear in this life and can spot it from a mile away.

Typically, fears are tangible objects or ideas. Take the phobia of heights for example; people resonate with this fear because of a simple concept.

If you climb too high, you could fall and die.

Seems simple enough, however, is the fear behind heights because of the altitude, or the thought of taking a wrong step and falling to your death? Or an even more disturbing question, do those who fear heights not trust themselves enough not to jump?

A comparison can be made between those of us who have a phobia of heights, and those, myself included, who are currently enrolled in some type of institutional schooling in an attempt to “climb the latter of success” and make something of our lives.

We have made the bold and drastic leap from adolescence to adulthood only four short months after graduating from the protective blanket of seniority we all benefited from in high school.

Beginning freshman year, we scratched and clawed our way to the top of the hormonal, peer pressure pyramid that was senior high. The look from on top was well worth the effort.

No longer did your opinions and ideas hold no merit, your voice was heard and your opinions were considered. Gone were the days of silence and submission that plagued us as freshman.

This was our first taste of power and freedom.

Though this feeling was sweet, it was short lived for again we find ourselves at the bottom looking up in longing, so we begin our climb.

Starting out with such gusto and optimism, our path to the top seemed smooth and almost effortless, with each step we took another appeared for us to place our feet on.

Our path to success was laid out before us in bright glimmering colors and we were filled with hope for our future.

As we begin to come closer to the top, more obstacles block our path and the optimism and vivaciousness we started out with begins to wither away, replaced with anxiety and uncertainty.

From this point on, the steps taken are over calculated, becoming graceless and tiresome.

It’s as if we are walking through quicksand, the more we struggle and push our way to the top, the deeper we feel ourselves sinking to the bottom.

This fear we have of reaching the top is neither a fear of heights nor a fear of death; this is the fear of failure.

However, similar to a phobia of heights, or any phobia for that matter, the fear of failure can be overcome. I often find myself looking up in disgust toward my goals when faced with a difficult assignment or test I am ill prepared for.

The way to conquer this fear is simple and attainable; just try. Honestly, there is no shame in failure if you gave it everything you had and can look back on your work with pride. Through struggle and suffering you will find success, or at the very least be content with your effort. The long and short of it is don’t give up! Like freshman year of high school, this is only temporary.


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