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It Seems to Me: Hating failure

Posted: Friday, Sep 20th, 2013

I hate failing, but I’m not afraid of it.

There have been too many times when I’ve allowed my fear of failure to prevent me from even trying, and then Dad asked me, “What is the worst that can happen if you try?”

It’s funny how monsters can grow in the dark corners of our imaginations. When I answered Dad, I was able to describe in great detail all of the terrible things that would happen to me if I tried and failed. I would be humiliated. People would laugh at me. The people who warned me not to try would say, “See! I told you.”

Dad just listened to me go through my list of the horrible consequences of trying and failing, and then he said, “Okay. So what is the best thing that can happen if you don’t try?”

I just stared at him for a minute. What a silly question to ask! “Nothing,” I responded.

Dad thought about it for a second and said, “It seems to me that if you try and fail, nothing really changes. You may feel bad, but you would be the same person. People may tell you that they knew you wouldn’t succeed, but they are going to say the same thing if you don’t try. They may call you a coward instead of a failure, but they’ll still call you names.”

“If the worst that can happen if you try is about the same as the best that can happen if you don’t try, you might as well try.”

So I blame Dad for my attitude. If it weren’t for him, I’d probably be quite content to just sit back, not take any chances, and not have to face any failure

For the complete article see the 09-20-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 09-20-2013 paper.

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