Fear of failure

Have you read the book written by the Norwegian hotel king and investor yet? His name is Petter Stordalen.
He firmly argues that if we want to live in a society where people will dare to invest in entrepreneurship and innovativeness, then we must encourage and give applause to the attempts to do just that. But to fail is still covered in shame. Hence the excuses for not trying are everywhere. 

How contradictive. 

We have boosted our children during all times, telling them that they can be whatever they wish, as long as they try, and that they not give up at the first obstacle that appears. That they must rise up and keep trying, if it doesn’t work out the first time. So, we applause our children’s attempts, but how often do we pat ourselves or others on the back once we have fallen, and need the encouragement to dare to go at it again? 

Let’s say that you are on your way to try new things, to find your own way. You might dare to take a path where no one has gone before you. When you gather up enough courage to deviate from your course… you will be hearing naysayers. You will run into people that don’t believe in you, and that will make you doubt yourself and your thoughts. There will also be well-intended people who will encourage and support you, but at the same time trying to keep you from being disappointed, by pointing out all the risks associated with your ideas. 

This last week I’ve been really thinking about why we are so scared and for what really? 

Yes, it is obvious that we get scared when people around us show their concern. It’s in our nature, similar to animals, to react to these signals. My personal fear is about exactly that. That I will do something wrong or make the wrong choices. I worry about someone shaking their head at me, and ultimately excluding me from the group. For no matter how independent and free I might be, I don’t want to be alone. 

Fear can fester in loneliness. 

I believe that so many of us are ashamed when we doubt our own ability. We are taught that we must believe in ourselves, and not to show insecurity. That is why the load gets extra heavy on our shoulders; when we sometimes fail do just that. We are painfully aware that we should just get over it, and stop hesitating. We don’t want to whine about our fear, we’d much rather seem confident and invincible. 

Fear is also a lot about comparing yourself to others. It’s near at hand to feel uneasy about the risk of failing if we keep comparing our work with other, more successful predecessors. The ones we think made it in a first attempt. What we fail to see is their iterations and discarded ideas. Their worries and their doubts. Obviously nothing to brag about, or even admitted in public.

All your ideas will not fly. Not the first time. There will be lots and lots of flops along the way. This is what we call development. But it’s equally important to create your own scale of what’s a success and what’s not. There is a lot of gain in daring to just give it a go. To iterate. 

So if you still like what you do, don’t worry, you just have to try again. It’s ok to be scared. It only showsthat you care about the things you do. 

Personally I share these doubts, and I don’t feel a bit ready, and I have tons of excuses not to start anything. Scared, obviously. 

I wish I could paint and write full time and to make a living out of my art. Then I will open a gallery where I could display my own and other creative people’s art. I would invest my time and money in young and old unestablished artists, and form a creative community. And I think I would like to do it in a new and different way. Or maybe I will just follow the handbook. I’m not sure .It’s hard to explain to others how I picture my way forward. Probably because I don’t have it all figured out just yet. 

I don’t have all the answers, and I’m not sure in what direction I’m heading. But I’m happy to share along the way the things I’ve learned. Because once again, I don’t want to do this entirely on my own. I have surrounded myself with this lovely circle of people who gets it, who also wants to build something together. Success and failure next to one another. It will be ok. Far from perfect. Nice. 

A round of applause for you. And for me.