October 29, 2010

The Fear of Failure

It is time to update this post so if you have seen it before I encourage you to keep reading because there is new material.
"If I find 10,000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.'
Thomas A. Edison

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."
Thomas A. Edison
I suppose that sounds rather New Agey, but anytime I am feeling like I have failed to succeed I try to take a look at these two quotes. Actually there are a bunch of others that I like to read, but I didn't have time to include all of them.

And that leads me to my next point/comment. The moments that I find that I am most disappointed with myself are tied into the fear of failure, not failure, but the fear of it. It is much easier to live with knowing that you tried than to say that you never did.

"Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom."
Bertrand Russell

"If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way."
Bertrand Russell 

I look at these quotes and ask myself many questions. I wonder if my beliefs are based upon reality or faith. And if they are based upon faith I ask myself does it really matter because there are some things that you cannot prove in terms that scientists would accept. So when it comes to faith I wonder am I helping or hurting myself.

And I look at these quotes and I ask myself if I am living the kind of life I want to live or if I allow fear to control my actions. Am I living or passing through. Because I don't want to just pass on through this world. I want to live a life that is worth writing and reading about. I want to live a life that I can look back upon with pride and say that I did all that I can do.

The answer is that sometimes the fear of failure has held me back. Sometimes I have stood back in the shadows because it was safer to be there than to step out onto the hot coals. Life is about balance- sometimes the shadows beckon and there is reason to stand among them. But there are also those moments where you must engage in firewalking because to not do so would be to allow the fear of failure more control than it deserves.

Balance is what I seek.

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