What Are You Afraid Of?

not afraidI subscribed to a writing prompt service a little while back and it has generated some of the most interesting thought experiments for me. As I’ve been a little bit of a slacker with publishing lately, you won’t have seen them but I’ve got about 7 drafts right now that have come from using Daily Page.

Daily Page is a writing prompt that encourages you to write daily and offers prompts. It’s got a very clean and easy platform for writing and provides stats on your frequency if you use their platform. You can mark you writings public or private and read the public writings of others using the service. I don’t post on the platform since I have this blog, but I’m also not publishing on the blog since I seem to get all my drafts to 75% complete before getting distracted. My new goal is to actually get to the point where I publish those drafts. I’ll probably forget that goal in about 10 minutes.

Yesterday’s prompt was “What are you afraid of?” I had a gut reaction to it. The first word that popped into my head was FAILURE. I don’t remember having any epic major fails in life. I can list of random failures that have stuck in my mind, but never something so big or massive as to justify the level of fear I have of failing.

I’m a highly motivated person – driven, bossy, aggressive are terms that have also been used to describe me. I have a need for excellence and at times perfection (hence the 75% posts). Failure is not an option, but of course, that’s ridiculous since it’s also an inevitability.

Failure is such a funny fear since what constitutes success and failure can be so subjective. Failure can seem bigger or smaller when compared to other situations too. I’m a success when I think about my education compared to those who didn’t finish high school. I’m a failure when I think of my education compared to those who got their PhD in metaphysics from Harvard. My education as it is, serves me well – but in comparison to others, it seems to grow or shrink in value.

The more I think about the fear of failure, the more I wonder if the entire premise isn’t a false construct. Drop it. Leave it be. Move on and focus on other things.

  • I haven’t failed at the blog. I’ve just focused on my career as of late instead of publishing.
  • I haven’t failed at education. I got what I needed to succeed and moved on.
  • I haven’t failed at my career. I’m in the process of discovering my dream job.
  • I haven’t failed at creating a new skill set. I’ve just been too afraid to start.
  • I haven’t failed at perfecting my body. I’ve just begun to investigate the thoughts around my body image.

Failure should be our teach, not our undertaker. Failure is delay not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. – Denis Waitley

I’m most afraid of failure. I’m also pretty sure I’ve completely constructed it in my head and as soon as I stop believing in it, it will disappear. Getting it perfect the first time around doesn’t make you stronger. It doesn’t build up character. It doesn’t make you a hero. It just means you’re setting the bar too low for yourself.

What are you most afraid of?

Photo credit: Cropped image by Flickr user Florian Rohart.

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