Saturday, October 19, 2013

My Fear Of Failure

I'm an idiot. I just had this sudden realization around an hour and a half back. Today I've had this big uneasy feeling. Last night (or rather very early this morning) I went to sleep uneasy. I woke up uneasy. I spent the day uneasy.

I went for a run after I woke up today morning (something I NEVER do), because I felt I needed it. I thought maybe it would clear my mind. I woke up one hour before my alarm clock, despite clocking in less than six hours of sleep.

I couldn't put my finger on what was up with me the whole day until that light bulb moment. I know I've been avoiding writing for the past few days. Always making excuses. My resolution to write everyday if only for ten minutes hasn't lasted more than a few days. I've been ignoring it. Pretending it doesn't exist because I told myself I have more pressing matters at hand. Then I stopped and asked myself: what the hell am I doing?

Then, more questions. What is my passion? The written word - writing and reading! But why am I doing everything I can to avoid those two things? Am I lying to myself? Maybe my true passion is something else. Then, I thought: no. These two things have always brought me joy. What changed then?

My perspective, I think. Before last year, I never thought of these two things as anything less than an active hobby and they were nothing but pure pleasure. Writing was something that I was doing for myself. From the minute I started to consider writing as a possible career, it increasingly became a chore. Why?

Because there was this new pressure to succeed (pressure that wasn't there before - pressure I put on myself, I have to add). However, the pressure kept rising and rising. It rose so much in fact that writing became so stressful at one point last year that I had to stop for more than two months before I gathered myself again.

I think this whole situation originates from this: my fear of failure. As difficult as it is to admit to myself, I'm afraid to fail at writing, so I constantly delay writing and even when I do write, I feel that it's not good enough. But by losing so much time being scared, I'm losing the opportunity to follow my dreams and my heart. The thing is, I realize I'm the only person holding myself back. And by doing so, I'm whittling my life away little by little. I'm sabotaging myself, like someone I know likes to say.

I watched a great movie today. It basically had this one line that I find so liberating: "Don't run after success. Run after excellence. Then, success will come running after you on its own."

So, I've decided I'm going to be afraid no more. Even if I fail at writing, at least I will still have the satisfaction of knowing that I gave it my everything. And I'm determined to make writing stories fun again. Even if no one wants to read them.

And as Robin Sharma says in this blog post, the antidote to fear is action. I'm going to post my next short story. It's not perfect. It's not even pretty (and I'm pretty sure it's badly written). But it is what it is. And by posting this short story, I will be battling my fear actively.

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