A Discussion Of Whether We Should Fear Failure

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In order for us to come to a full understanding of that question, we must first define the variables it contains. The first is fear which, as defined by Jake Gyllenhaal’s character in the movie Nightcrawler, can be viewed as an acronym with the letters making up the phrase “False Evidence Appearing Real”. Another way of understanding certain types of fear, is by using this simple equation: fear = unknown, what’s outcome is known is no longer feared. Now that we have a basic understanding of what fear is, we can move on to the second variable in our question: failure. Failure, in my opinion, is the lack of success in achieving what one had set out to achieve. This has the potential to create a paradox, however, because sometimes failure opens the door for an unexpected success.

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Now that we have defined our variables, we can move on to solving the question. Should we fear failure? Yes, and no. In my opinion, the fear of failure is essential in certain situations. For example, a test is coming up for a student. The student fears the idea of failure and chooses to study. If the student had nothing to fear, why would he or she study? If he or she doesn’t fear the idea of failing, he or she certainly wouldn’t fear the consequences that come with it. The student doesn’t know for certain if that failure would create obstacles in the future that wouldn’t be there had he or she chose to study. This shows that the fear of failure is rational and justified, to some degree, in certain situations.

However, the fear of failure is also destructive in many other situations. The fear of failure gives the wheel, that is known as procrastination, the initial push. We become afraid of learning something new or achieving something productive out of fear that that something will result in a failure or will, in itself, become a failure. This leads to excessive procrastination and a crippling lack of productivity. Many of us also fear the weight of shame that we have to bear when faced with the consequences of failure that have resulted from our actions. This is problem because, at its core, failure is somewhat essential to everybody’s learning experience. The fear of failure only amplifies the fear of learning something new.

There is no real definitive, conclusive, way to describe failure. This means that failure is only as bad as people want it to be. The destructiveness of failure can be measured by the amount one allows it to interfere with his or her own experiences. Its power is given through one’s fear of going through it. If we simply accept the fact that we will eventually go through failure during our lives, the fear is virtually diminished in many situations. That level of acceptance is further reinforced by reaching the realization that behind every failure is a hidden learning experience that would have remained unknown if that failure wasn’t experienced.   

16 December 2021

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