Thursday, May 01, 2008

Addressing the fear of failure

There's a blog I like to read called A Dress a Day that's mainly about sewing and old patterns and such. Even though I haven't done any sewing for years, I love to read it - largely because Erin, the person who created the blog, writes so very well. (Check out her series, The Secret Lives of Dresses to see what I mean. Here's a sample.)

Well, a good portion of today's post really belongs on a meditation blog because she addresses the fear many sewers have of cutting into expensive fabric because they think they'll "screw it up." Here's something Erin says about failure:
So I *hate* it when someone tells me they don't want to try something because they might screw it up. So what? Unless what you're trying to do involves tightrope walking 5000 feet up, you probably won't DIE. And short of death, almost everything is fixable. Don't ask me for advice if that's not what you want to hear, because I'm the person who is going to tell you to take the new job, to ask the guy (or girl) out already, to move to the new city, to wear orange. I'll tell you to stop focusing on what you might lose, and start thinking about what you might LEARN.

Sometimes when people say they're afraid of failure, what they really mean is that they are afraid of humiliation. Which is completely understandable. But, speaking as someone who has felt humiliated more times than she'd like to remember, humiliation passes. (It passes like a kidney stone passes, but that's another story.) Not to mention that humiliation passes differently for each person: you remember it for months; the witnesses remember it for seconds (they have their own humiliations to obsess over, and don't have time for yours). You wake up the next morning, same as always. You head back into work, you run into that guy again ("Uh, hi!"), you get a new haircut to fix the one that wasn't such a good idea, after all. But at least you tried, and now you know something you didn't know before.
This is very wise, I think. Try clicking through and reading the rest of the post. It's excellent.


  1. Oh!! Thank you. Your timing was perfect, Ellie.

  2. This is good, Ellie. Thanks. Plus, sewing and patterns always remind me of my mother, which is nice.


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