Life is a bit too ordinary when there are no challenges. Fear makes life dull. Life becomes overwhelming. Fear makes life frightening. Fear makes me anxious. Far too often, I let my fear of failure, fear of losing, and the fear of making a mistake corral me into playing it safe. These fears have the power to keep me stuck, instead of moving on, or making progress.
Challenges are good for us. They help us to grow and evolve. Challenges wouldn’t be challenging if they didn’t contain learning, and learning means having a go, getting it right, getting it wrong and making corrections. When I make a mistake I learn.
If I don’t make any mistakes I don’t learn anything new, so I can’t increase my knowledge. I’d have very little to bring to my life’s experience. Without mistakes there would be no challenges. Without challenges there would be no learning. Learning means change is inevitable, and change can be frightening because we don’t always know what’s ahead, but without learning there is nothing new to add to life.
If I complain that my life lacks meaning or it needs more purpose, then I can blame my fear of failure, fear of mistakes, and fear of losing for the problem. These fears may have been instilled in me when I was younger and reinforced throughout the course of my life, but they are all mine now. I own them. They live inside my head. They affect my thinking. They impact my mood and how I feel. They put stress on various parts of my body, but as a fully functioning adult, I’m now the only one responsible for doing something about these fears.
To accept a challenge, my fear of failure needs to be smaller than my desire to learn. Learning something new happens when I’m challenged. If I didn’t make any mistakes, then I would reinforce the status quo. I would maintain my intellectual status quo. If I didn’t make any mistakes, my character would not strengthen. My mind would not evolve. My thinking would stagnate. I would complain about being stuck. I would be stuck because I am not prepared to make a mistake. This would stop me from learning something new. I can’t afford to be afraid of making a mistake. I must be willing to learn something new. I might wrestle with wanting to learn, while at the same time, I don’t want to make a mistake. The logical part of me knows that making mistakes is not the only way to learn, but it is a part of the learning process if I want to perfect what I’m doing.
Can I accept that I will make mistakes so that I learn something new? Am I ready to accept it? Am I willing to accept it? If I don’t, then I won’t make any mistakes, but without mistakes, there will be no challenges in life my life. There will be no learning. Do I hate to make a mistake more than I want to learn? Do I hate to fail more than I want to win? There have been times when I’ve not participated because I hated to fail more than I wanted to win. It’s too easy to avoid participating in an activity when there is a good chance of failing at it.
Do I hate rejection more than I want acceptance? Do I hate humiliation more than I want reassurance, or even self-assurance and benefit of increased self worth? My desire to learn must outrun my dislike of making a mistake. My desire to win has to be greater than my fear of losing.
For years, my fear of losing has been greater than my desire to win. I’ve played it safe for a long time. I need to keep learning something new if I want my desire to win, to beat my fear of losing. If I can reduce my fear of failure by increasing my willingness to learn, then maybe I can increase my chances of winning in the end.