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Dispatched thoughts - The fear of failure and losing

2021-07-14  Olavi Popyeinawa

Dispatched thoughts - The fear of failure and losing
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One of the biggest drivers of fear is failure. I have not yet met anyone who wants to lose or fail. Being second place is a great achievement, but it is also at the same time the biggest failure, apart from not trying at all. 

As the saying goes, ‘being number two is just being the first to lose’. 

That is a bitter pill to swallow for all the silver medalists. Sometimes, I ask myself what it really means to lose or fail. 

Does it mean you were not good enough? That you did not practise or train harder – or in the case of many students, that you did not study enough? Or you simply just suck!  

What does it mean when one student puts in two days of studying and you study for two weeks, and yet they still manage to score more than you in the exam? 

Does that make you a failure? 

In my eyes, that does not make you a failure. We cannot all be champions at everything. We can try, but that is about it. 

Anything beyond that, you are mentally and physically forcing yourself to do it, thus setting yourself up for failure. 

A lot has been said about not giving up and persevering through it all, but little is said about pivoting and starting over.  Failure can be the best thing that ever happens to you; as Wendell Phillips said, “What is failure? Nothing but education; nothing but the first steps to something better”. 

So, failing at something is not necessarily the end of it.

There are, of course, certain things where we do not have a choice but do them well and meet compulsory requirements to not be regarded as a failure. Like in school – if you are studying to be a doctor, there are certain things you have to absolutely know before you can go out there and try to save our lives. 

I would not let a medical dropout operate on me, simply because he did not meet the requirements to be a doctor.

That does not make them a failure or loser, it just means that medicine was not for them; not everything is for everyone.

We already have high expectations of ourselves, which put enough pressure on us to perform.

Expectations from our parents and the general society only make things worse and the pressure too much.


- Olavi Popyeinawa

Twitter: @olavipopyeinawa


2021-07-14  Olavi Popyeinawa

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