Fear of Failure

September 2, 2023

As children, we are taught that failure is not good. When we don’t make the school football team, we are bad at sport. When we can’t do maths and English, we are not worthy of progressing onto A levels and University.

Is this why we become afraid to fail in life? To admit when we are wrong? To think that others will judge us negatively for this?

Paradoxically, the only way we will ever learn and grow in life is by making mistakes.

From the elite sportswoman who practises hours on end to do a backward flip on the beam in gymnastics to someone who cooks the one dish they love over and over until they have perfected it to their taste.

Whilst I may sometimes jokingly call myself Mary Poppins in a sort of self-deprecating way, it’s hard work striving to achieve perfection each time. I’m a product of that schooling system where not achieving grade As was seen as “not succeeding”; add to that my father had a double first in Maths and Physics and you can see the challenges I’ve had!

Narcissistic relationships can also have us questioning ourselves; I once had a boyfriend who told me that my roast potatoes weren’t perfect because they were not all the same shape. That did trouble me for a while I have to admit…

Now my response would be: “ever seen a perfectly symmetrical shaped potato, and if you don’t like my roasties, don’t eat them”. To be honest, I do like a mix of sizes on my plate and the small ones in particular are the crunchiest!

I’ve had to teach myself that getting to 98% is OK. It’s taken me a while though.

I understand that many of you who have served may feel the same: if it’s not perfect, you’re only going to have to do it again, so make sure you’re spot on the first time.

We aren’t being lazy, it will more than likely be fine. That bowl of mashed potatoes at Christmas may look prettier with parsley in the middle, but who eats parsley (apart from me!).

But when I spot a typo, I have to go back in and change it still… I guess some habits will never die !

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