Over the holiday break, I visited my lola's house to spend time with my family.
One of my cousins, Joshua, just finished his keyboard class. Out of curiosity, I tried playing the song he was playing. I kinda know how to use one because I also took keyboard lessons when I was a kid but I never really learned how to play an actual piece. But you see, there I was, playing the keyboard at 23 years old. I even learned how to play two songs in just one day.
If I wasn't as bad as I assumed and if it wasn't as difficult as I thought, why did I stop attending my keyboard lessons before? I thought about all the projects I started only to quit halfway and the plans I didn’t even bother pursuing no matter how much I’d love to work on them. Then, it came to me.
I have a fear of failure.
This fear crippled me from trying and learning. The problem ultimately lies in the fact that I put too much pressure on myself to be successful, be excellent, and be the best.
You and I both know that it's impossible to be great at everything. So, what did I do to cope? If I don't feel like I'm gonna be really good at something, I simply quit. The pressure to always perform my best paralyzed me. Maybe that's the reason why I didn't learn how to play the keyboard and guitar, why I didn't know how to ride a bike until late last year, why I didn't pursue fashion or interior design and all the other things I wanted to do but didn't.
I guess, I thought it would be better to just skip the whole damn thing rather than to put myself out there to fail and presumably, disappoint myself.
All these seem too heavy to deal with but I know that I have to do it now. I always believe that transformation begins with awareness and then, action. Now that I'm aware of this fear, I'm trying to challenge it and hopefully, be able to manage it.
If you think you have this fear of failure too, I listed all the things I tell myself whenever I feel this fear creeping in.
1. Just try.
Sure, quitting may seem like the easy way out but it isn't. Don't rob yourself of the chance to accomplish something just because you're scared. Fear it but do it anyway.
It might not even be as bad as you think, just like with the keyboard. I know I'll never be a keyboard star (if there's such thing) but at least I can play it no matter how slow and out of tune I may be.
2. Do it just because.
You don't always have to be the best or get recognition for every single thing you do. Release yourself from all the pressure and expectation of excellence, and just do things for fun. Enjoy the moment. Laugh at yourself.
Making mistakes is part of being human. Stumbling along the way is totally normal! We are not robots. We are not in this world to constantly pursue all these achievements. Money is and should just be the means. The goal is to live and enjoy the silly little things.
3. It's okay to fail.
Sometimes, you win. Sometimes, you lose. That's just how life is. When you fail, just pick yourself from the ground. Start over or start something new. You can always change your mind, your strategy, and your plans along the way.
Plus, the best part about failing is that you learn from it. The truth is—you will never learn unless you risk embarrassing yourself and doing the uncomfortable.
Try, have fun, and fail.
Maybe, this is the year to change our mindset about failure. Maybe, 2019 is the year we embrace failure and start seeing it for what it really is — an opportunity for growth.
But of course, transformation takes time and it's never a linear process. When you feel like you're in too deep with the fear, just remember to be kind to yourself, and take it one step at a time. You're not alone. We're in this together.
On that note, I’d like to thank you for being here. I really appreciate you reading this and allowing me to share my thoughts with you. I hope that every time you drop by, you leave with a little something that inspires you to live with love and light.
As I end this post, here's something to think about:
What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?
That's your cue.