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Why are we so scared of failure?

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After recently reading an article here on about the ways that you’re lying to yourself, which you can read here, I recalled myself saying one of the six phrases that the article cites: “I’m not…ready.” The context and situation where I remember saying that phrase don’t come into play, but let’s say it is about making one of the toughest and most nerve-wracking decisions in one’s life (no, it’s not having a kid).

I knew that deep down in my core, I was reacting out of fear, but fear of what, exactly? Well, today I figured out that I’m scared of failure. Believe me, I have many fears, most of them irrational, and I am a natural worrier, a trait that my mother usually attributes to being passed down from my grandmother, obviously on my father’s side, she says.

Whatever the irrationality that our fears stem from, mine is literally failure, at least in this case. What if this particular decision doesn’t work out? What if, what if, what if… fear paralyzes us.

Well, like any human being on this Earth, I’ve been through my share of tough decisions and life-threatening situations, but I’ve always managed to react with a lot of composure, a clear head, and an uncanny ability to trust my gut. One example of a life-threatening situation: almost getting wrecked by another car whose driver decided, at the last second, that they were not going to turn left, while in the left turn lane, and literally invaded my lane. My mother was in the passenger seat and I was driving. Her reaction? To scream “Watch out!” My reaction? Somehow time slowed (perception) and in a split second, I looked to my right blind spot, all mirrors, and maneuvered the 40mph SUV in a way that I narrowly avoided a horrible crash. And it’s not the first time that something similar to that has happened.

But for something that would provide more experience and lessons to be learned, failure really scares me in this particular decision. I wasn’t terrified about moving to Denver, Colorado … I was excited, ecstatic, an infinite sea of opportunities laid ahead. While my whole family and friends were crying and sad, I was happy because I knew that no matter what, I would prosper. I saw myself being successful, safe, with a calmer state of mind, a better quality of life, a new adventure ahead. I still see myself like that … every day is a new adventure.

I just have to keep reminding myself that failure is, sometimes, inevitable, but you have to pick up the pieces, learn, and keep going. Life doesn’t stop, time doesn’t stop, the world won’t stop because you want or need it to. If I make the right or wrong decision, after much deliberation and analysis, and I still fail, I should be ok. Somehow, I will find a way to get back on my feet and keep going, as I’ve always done. So, goodbye “what ifs…” I won’t be missing you any time soon! Today, I am exorcising this fear.