The reasons that keep me from writing, from creating anything that might or might not be of artistic worth are numerous, or so I keep telling myself. Keeping up with university work, Sports, Netflix, meeting friends to have 27 drinks too many, the thereof resulting hangovers, the endless and mindless scrolling through the same 3 apps a 100 times a day. All these things, I tell myself, are the reasons that delay my writing. But honestly, I know that they are not the true reasons, I know that I could easily find time to do what I really like to do. Here’s why I really keep myself from sitting in front of my desk, open WordPress and my notes on my phone (consisting of random small ideas and single words that no longer make any sense to me at all, but at the time of writing them down seemed to be brilliant ideas for new posts) and why I prefer to lie in bed to rewatch Friends over and over again.
I’m afraid to fail. Always have. I’ve always had the stupid idea in my head that failing at anything would put me in a dangerous place in terms of mental health. As in, I thought of myself as being unable to deal with failing. As in, I forbid myself to fail to preserve my strength. As in, me failing at anything would make a failure out of me. I grew up in an extremely fortunate environment: teachers that really cared about my grades and well-being, parents who would drop everything to help with anything school-related. I am thankful everyday and I know that the people around me tried to protect me from everything to spare me any trouble.
But every coin has two sides. While, up to now, I never had any major trouble in terms of my academic path, it prevented me from ever having to deal with failure. I never had to endure the pain of knowing that I would probably fail my year or even just a class and therefore never developed the consciousness of my own strength, of the possibility to get myself out of difficult situations. I know I have it in me, I know I’m much more resistent than I tend to think of myself and I know every single person on this planet has it in them. Some people, like me, just never have dared to look for it, because they’re afraid that they would be looking for something only to find out that it doesn’t exist.
That is why I refrain from starting new projects, because I know I will not immediately be good at it (crazy concept…) and why I refrain from starting to write. I’m aware of the possibility of failure at any time and I’m worried that I wouldn’t be able to deal with not succeeding in my endeavors, that it would hinder my development as a writer. A thought process, which from this new perspective I recently adopted, is non-sense. The only thing that can really keep me from progressing in my projects is if I do not engage with them at all. The only real obstacle any of us have to face is fear.
Life has a plan for everyone. Even when we think that we’re going in circles, that we’re going backwards or that we’ve have lost sight of the path we once took, it’s still there. What I’ve been trying to teach myself is that mistakes, wrong decisions and failures do not blur our vision of the path we’re walking. Every situation in which we accept the possibility of defeat, of failure, of hurting ourselves, is like a lens that improves our sight of the track that’s under our feet. With every risky decision that might come back at us, that might hunt us for a while, that keeps us awake at night, we start to see clearer until one day our perception of the path will be so crystal clear that we’ll wonder how we could ever doubt its existence.
Failure does not make us weak. We should always see it as a result of courage, of daring to take blind steps into the unknown. If we dare to fail, we set up success. audentes fortuna iuvat. Fortune favours the bold. Be bold enough to fail.
Invent yourself, CK
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default. -J.K. Rowling