Fearing Failure

on Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It is all happening! I did plan to take up a job one day, and was excited for it too , but now that it is finally happening, I am scared. Yes, the most admirable of people around me find this fear irrational; somewhere, I do too. But I cannot at the same time deny the fact that when I woke up this morning, I felt a little numb. Sweaty. It had got something to do with a dream last night, a very unpleasant spectacle. I do not remember the content. I only remember the feel. I saw myself failing. The fear of failure lingered on even after I opened my eyes. Today too, like many occasions before, I felt doubtful of my capabilities.

This fear, its been a part of me for quite sometime now. And it is a new experience for me. Also, it is not the most unnatural of things for me to experience when I see almost everyone around me well placed in their life. Those who are not are at least sure of where they are headed. I am none. Not settled. Not knowing where I am headed. In school, I have given many speeches in morning assemblies about the crippling effects of this fear of failure, have quoted liberally the immortal line of Shakespeare- 'Our doubts are but traitors, and make us lose the good we might do, by fearing to attempt'. I was silly, all this while, not to have realized that this dubiousness, this basic lack of confidence I am allowing to take roots in me will lead me to the same state of detriment which in my innocent tongued speeches I had warned the students and teachers of my school against.

All this, I began pondering over while watching the last episode of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Little Champs. Before I get to 'the' incident, a little word on the programme itself. If you love music, and if you love music the way I love music, there is no way in which you can miss this programme. The quality of singers and the kind of music put on display is stunning to say the least. People on that show- the judges, mentors and the participants- know their music so well that a single episode of it sometimes serves as a tutorial for training-deprived-aspiring-singers like me. Anyway, so the incident I was referring to was of a girl, who stopped singing midway. She said her throat did not feel fine. I know why her throat did not feel fine. Twice I have given up singing midway during my performances. On both occasions, my throat did not feel fine. On both occasions, I  sang much better than my caliber in the last rehearsal before taking to stage. The doubt about being successful as I ascended on the stairs to stage transformed into an insurmountable fear as I started singing. In the midst of a performance, I had no clue how to deal with it. Worse still, I chose not to confront my fear. I chose to keep mum about it. Shied away from telling people. And since then, it has only grown.

With whatever little experiences I have had in life, I know for a fact that the best of opportunities are shaped during the worst of problems. At my level, I did try my best to fight this fear. I went on stage to put myself to test more than I did before. Those who stood with me know that my knees shook till convulsive limits. Those who saw me from the audience saw a faced accessorized with the perfectly confident smile while addressing them. I do not know if I can call this success- the fact that my body shivers and my temperature rises because of nervousness while I am on the final leg of executing a long planned event, but at the same time, people who see my performing end up admiring me for some or the other reason. 'You mask your nervousness brilliantly with that smile'- that's how one of my friends puts it. This I do not in the least say out of conceit. I do say it out of genuine confusion.

I think all of us have our fears. Also, all of us have our independent mechanisms to battle our own fears. Prolonging them, ignoring them, confronting them, or fooling them- most of us choose from these. I, mostly, try to fool my fears. I think that is what most people around me do when they are not brave enough to confront and dismiss them. "Tell yourself you're the best"- Isn't that what all of us are told to use as a invincible antidote to fear of failing? People say it's evoking belief in yourself. I think it's saying the cheesiest thing to fool yourself. Its also what those who're the closest to you tell just after you've proven yourself to be the perfect loser. Support comes for you in copious terms once you fail. Or are fearful of failing. When you dazzle with confidence, people are with you, not to support you, but to celebrate you. Just to rephrase it- You're supported through your failures, and given company through your successes.

I know categorically, its support, and not company that I have yearned for in the recent past. I have never really gotten over my fears; but I have perfected the art of masking them at least. I don't know if this will help in the long run. Sagacious thinking says it won't. Fear and laziness, I was informed by one of my friends, have led to the greatest of inventions throughout history. There is much truth in this line. As much as fear in projected as an empowering tool for progressiveness in the above line, I know the kind of fear I battle is crippling. It hinders growth. Entering into an unknown world excited me always; that was till when I did not associate any probability of failing once I entered the unexplored. Its visions of failure which I need to dispel. Why they are there, I don't know. How to get rid of them concretely, no clue. Guess I'll fool myself a while longer.

PS- Having said, rather typed all of this makes me feel better. Even confident people fear failure. Its only about time. I think it'll go.