In our complex and intertwined life we go through various experiences. Most of us develop fear of certain things to a certain extent. If the experiences are intense the fear is also intense. Some of the walls we create in our mind can be extremely debilitating, affecting our lives very strongly. Most commonly, we all suffer from the fear of being seen as a loser (as it is fashionably termed). It makes us so afraid that we refuse to take any action. It freezes us. When we let our fear of failure arrest our growth and development, we lose out on many opportunities in life.
This can manifest in many ways; the fear of being ridiculed, belittled, dismissed or rejected. This results in stress, anxiety of addressing an audience, unwillingness to interact within a group or participate in activities or other hobbies. It can cause hesitance in voicing an opinion, uncertainty towards taking a decision or in general low levels of confidence.There can be several reasons behind this. In most cases it can be linked to memories of public humiliation or to overtly critical parenting. An experience so traumatic that one decides never to try again; a fear that shadows every aspect of that individual’s life. This often shatters our self-image and prompts us to give up.
We have to realise that all these walls and limitations are in our mind. Just because we fail a few times does not mean that we have to stop the experiments altogether. Our experiments with life help us learn and grow. If we stop the experiments we stop growing. Most of us will face some kind of rejection or failure in life. Walt Disney was thrown out of an early job due to lack of creativity. Albert Einstein was considered not very bright when he was a kid. Similar true stories of immense success after initial failure abound. Our own In Conversation with Amish Tripathi Amish Tripathi faced rejection from many publication houses before becoming a bestselling author. At some point in life we all see failure. Some fail examinations, others do poorly in a presentation. Some get dumped by their romantic partners. Some get rejected at campus interviews. But imagine if Walt Disney had given up on his dream, had he listened to his detractors, we would have had a childhood without Mickey mouse and his friends !!!
Failures test the limits of our present strength and expose our vulnerabilities and imperfections. These insights are beneficial for our growth, development and eventual success. People succeed only when they refuse to let their fear of failure or rejection stand in their way and keep emerging stronger.
I once read somewhere “This thing we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.” You are not a failure if you keep lifting yourself up after each set back. Remember, life is tough and we all have our shares of setbacks and rejections. Nobody is immune to that terrible experience. However if you remain determined then there is always a way. If you change your perspective, you begin to see failures as opportunities in disguise; you are left with immense knowledge and experience. The best way to learn faster is by trying new experiments and making mistakes while doing it. However, it is important to not repeat the same mistakes.
Failure as an experience is entirely subjective, open to individual interpretation. You can use it to either build yourself up or to stay caged forever, all that is required is the right perspective. Most times we just don’t want to be considered a loser or be a disappointment to our family and friends. Remember, the only person you ever need to prove is your own self. So dream on and don’t surrender to fear.
– Soumya Mania Ranjan. Soumya is Pyschotherapist based in Berlin, Germany. And a proud Odia too!