Fear and Failure
I bought a road bike. She’s* real pretty. I got shoes that clip in and a fancy saddle so my delicates won’t hurt.
And now I guess I have to ride this bike.
I know it’s ridiculous, but this bike scares me. The clips scare me, because I will fall over. It’s simply a matter of when, not if. You all can start a betting pool now.
But it’s not only falling that scares me. Road rash and shame, unappealing though they are, are temporary. I’m much more afraid of that bike gathering dust in my garage. I look at it and hear the two voices that are constantly bickering inside my head:
Whheeee! A new bike! Just imagine all the great rides ahead of you.
When, exactly, do you plan to do all of this riding? And do you really expect to ever achieve anything bigger than finishing a little sprint triathlon? Who are you kidding, lady?
A) Don’t tell me you have peaceful silence in your head. Please tell me that you, too, have conflicting self-talk going on.
B) That second voice is bitchy, right?
I think that this latest fear – and doubt – are only a glimpse into my psyche. And possibly a lot of other psyches, as well. I can’t be alone, or else Pinterest, wouldn’t be plastered with quotes like this:
I’m a realist: I know that failure is always a possibility. I tell my kids that it’s much better to work hard and fail than to wonder what if…? And I believe that. I do.
And yet… I think I let the idea of failure hold me back more than I like to admit. You know, if I’m going to tell my kids that they have to be okay falling on their faces, I need to fall on mine sometimes.
I’ve heard people quote this line a few times – What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?
There’s something to that; I kind of think you do have to approach your goals under the delusion that you cannot, will not fail. But you also have to be prepared to fail, and accept failure as part of the learning process. Is that too Pollyanna?
Just for grins, if I could guarantee success here’s what I would do:
An Iron Man
This may truly may be hilarious, since I’m clearly never getting rid of my plantar faciitis, but still. This is a no-fail scenario, so bite me, plantar faciitis.
Act, On Stage, In a Play
I’ve always said I couldn’t be an actor, because I’m awful at it. That may be the case, but I have no idea if I’m awful or not. My last role was Big Billy Goat Gruff in kindergarten. But since this is a no fail thing, I’m probably going to walk away with a Tony.
This is real life, however, and not my no-fail la-la land. So I’m going to start by taking that bike out for a ride. If you see me, please maneuver your car way far away from me, so that you don’t run over me. And also so I don’t try to wave at you, causing me to lose my balance and fall over because I couldn’t get my feet out of those clips fast enough.
:: Cheesy though it is, what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
:: What are your wise words on tackling goals and trying new things?
*The bike is a she and she’s nameless. Any thoughts?