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My biggest failure is my fear of failure. As a child I was accustomed to my performance meeting up to my high expectations. But, as I grew older and eventually began attending high school I found myself time and time again not living up to my own expectations. My initial response to failure had been to continue persevering, but the more it occurred the more I turned to avoidance. The more I failed the greater my fear became and the more I feared pursuing what I wanted to do, what I wanted to say and when I wanted to speak. The pattern began to resemble a spiral of avoidance. One revelatory day this toxic and exponentially worsening pattern was brought to my attention. I noticed that my drive to avoid failure had become more powerful than my drive to succeed in the first place and I knew that there was something fundamentally wrong with that idea. So I began questioning whether my fear of failure was rational. I figured that in many of the things I had avoided due to my fear of failure I would not have lost anything material.
There was nothing that would have resulted in damage that I would not be able to fix. Along my journey, I started paying attention more to situations in which I failed. I noticed that failure can be a good teacher and is a good way to learn things fast. Every failure big or small made me less fragile and more resilient. I realized that the costs of avoidance outweighed its benefits. Instead of facing risks head on I was wasting my time and energy on calculating ways to avoid them. Also, when I avoided participating in something I was depriving myself of potentially valuable experiences. When I looked for benefits I realized that there were none at all. I decided to not allow fear to sculpt my life. After all humans are rational beings and can get wrongs right with the snap of a finger, right? Not that fast! It was of course easier said than done. My fear of failure did not go away overnight. I accepted the fact that I may need to fail a couple times before succeeding. I had to learn to become more open to risks of failing and tolerant to thoughts of distrust towards myself. I figured out the best way to deal with those thoughts was to simply to fight them by not acting upon them. The importance of taking risks in arts and science cannot be overstated. One of the most interesting and unexpected things that occurred to me when I allowed myself to fail was that I gained more creative confidence. I allowed myself to have and pose questions and was less defensive and more willing to participate in constructive discussions. When I looked at my paintings and noticed that event my brushstrokes had grown stronger.
I can delightedly state that I am no longer fearful of what I want to do, what I want to say and when I want to say it. I have successfully escaped the spiral of avoidance that I had immersed myself in. Now I am able to now enjoy spending time on things that I am passionate about rather than avoiding them. I know that my journey to accept failure is still progressing. I will never stop learning from the mistakes I make and the chances that I take. I hope that my failures will help me for the rest of my days.
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