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The Fear of Failure

While I was a farmer, I learned a lot about struggle, perseverance, fear, failure, and the reasons for preservation. I learned many of these lessons through the stern teacher we call "failure." 


Right now, there are some big fears swirling around in the neutrino field, and we experience this individually and collectively in any and all areas of life. The big fears are: the fear of the future and the fear of failure. Are you feeling it?


A common way these fears work together is by creating the narrative "I'm afraid this isn't going to work out, so screw it." And "screw it" plays out in many ways, self-sabotage being a big one. It can be things like procrastination, never getting started, not putting in the necessary work which leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure, or actually clinging to something and not letting it go. This fear can make us selfish, it can paralyze us, make us inflexible, and blind us from what's really in front of us and what needs to be done to grow, move forward, and succeed.


We often see these fears and behaviors in our finances or relationships.


As a farmer, I had to learn what was worth struggling for and what wasn't. I had to be flexible, become more resilient and adaptable to changing conditions, whether it was the weather or the market. And most importantly, I had to learn what was worth preserving.


Here's a quick example to explain this:


A home gardener is quite different from a farmer. Let's say a home gardener has 6 tomato plants and a farmer has 6,000 of them. If the home gardener has a plant that contracts a disease and begins to show signs of distress, they may do all that they can to preserve that plant. But if a farmer finds that one of their plants has a disease, that plant is immediately pulled out of the field. It is not worth preserving. 




This brings up questions that are helpful for all of us:


- What is worth you taking it into the future?

- What is perhaps taking too much of your time and energy that isn't worth it?

- Are you so afraid of failure that you are trying to preserve or sustain something that is frail and dying?

- Are you so afraid of your own failure that it keeps you from being generous with others?

- Are you too resistant to change, and if so how can you commit to enduring the change and riding the waves of what is worth preserving?

- Is your fear of failure keeping you from aspiring to big things or giving your best effort to what you have and what you love? How can you take steps to living and giving fearlessly?


If you are feeling fearful, be gentle with yourself. Try re-orienting your focus onto the present moment, and remind yourself that fears are fed by mental projections of the future that you can gently stop from snowballing. In the present moment we can find peace.


I'm always practicing this and reminding myself, too! I'm just like you. 

Image by Lewis Wilson
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