Fear of failure

Do you remember how did you learn when you were a tiny child? First, you were curious about something, then you were trying it, and then you were learning based on the experience. You were not afraid to fail, you had no concept of fear, you were only interpreting the information in two dimensions: this works/this doesn’t work.

Let’s travel back in time and use a bit of imagination. You see a moving object (that happened to be a bug), you become curious, so you pick it up and put in your mouth. You chew it and discover that the taste is disgusting, so you learn that the bug is not edible. Next time when you see a moving insect, based on your past experience you do not eat it. You have learned that this is not suitable for food.

But the way you learned it, is actually because you failed, even though your brain does not see it as a failure but as a learning experience answering a simple question “Can I eat it?” in a simple way “Yes” or “No“.   

As we grow up, we become more conscious of ourselves. We pay more attention to other people’s opinions, we seek social validation, and we are afraid to embarrass ourselves. If we don’t know something, we choose not to try, not to ask, to avoid the topic altogether instead of trying and learning from experience.

We are so focused on preventing failure, that we do everything possible not to experience one.

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