Facing Fear

It’s 3:34 am. It’s the day of your first orchestra solo. Your heart is beating aggressively. Your mind is swirling about the million and one things that could go wrong during your solo. What if I miss my cue?  What if I make a mistake in the G-major arpeggio? What if I accidentally play the wrong thing? My friends will watch me – what if they laugh at me? My parents will be in the crowd, what will they say?  Should I pretend to be sick so someone who is more qualified will take my place?  It’s not like I am going to do well anyway. 

It’s okay. Don’t panic. You have atychiphobia, the fear of failure.

Interestingly enough,  according to the American Society for Quality, about 46% of teenagers have this crippling fear; however, a majority fail to recognize they have this issue.

“I think some people know that it is a fear of failure,” AP Lang teacher Ms. Gaden said. “Some people kind of don’t even think about that so much. And they don’t try because they’re afraid to try, but they might not realize that that’s what they’re doing.” 

It is easier to regard it as an inconvenience rather than an actual fear because of the intense connotation of the word. Holding on to the philosophy that “ignorance is bliss” might safeguard you from the realities of the confrontation, but it is more important to come to terms with the effects it has on your attempt to embrace new things and explore new sides of yourself. 

But how? How do you face this fear? What do you need to do to not be run down by your insecurities? Or by your competitive surroundings? The answer is straightforward: you have to learn how to fail. With that you can learn how to address how it affects your sense of accomplishment. 

 “I would say just do it, just fail,” junior Judijoy Jeter said. “I think that most people are too stuck up to fail and are not willing to accept that that is the way that life goes, you lose some, you win some. It’s not the end of the world if things don’t go exactly how you want it.” 

This sounds easier said than done, but allowing yourself to do what you are afraid of will show you that it’s okay to fail.

Still, while life is full of ups and downs, success is never guaranteed. Nonetheless, it is worthwhile to take strides to accomplish your goals and aspirations because that is where emotional and mental growth arises.

“I think it has to just be a willingness to fail,” Ms. Gaden said. “Because a lot of times, you have to fail a couple times to be able to get better. So I think it needs to be an acceptance that failure is not always a negative. Sometimes it is a step toward growth.”