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Mental health: how to combat a fear of failure

I’ve always struggled with not immediately being able to do things well. And I’m not 100% sure if other people feel the same way.

If I’m not good at something straight away, then I am automatically a failure. Making me want to run away, leave my family, join the circus, try the trapeze, fail at that, find another circus and try again. But in all seriousness, failure is a very big issue that I struggle to deal with on a daily basis.

Whilst I was in primary school, I’d always get the same comment at parents evening, which was “Skye seems to rush her work, which means that sometimes she gets it a bit wrong”. Oh boy, did I throw a few tantrums back then because of comments like that! I desperately tried to slow down and take time on my work to try and get it right, but even now, as I’m typing this, I’m speed-typing, whilst being glared at because of my slightly-aggressive keyboard slamming. I rush things, but at least we have spellcheck and autocorrect.

In one of many (ironically, failed) attempts to accept that failure is completely natural, I’ve decided to put a few of my failures out in the open.

For example, I cannot sing in tune. I don’t understand politics, I cannot do maths and I occasionally make a bad cup of tea (Sorry mum.)

And that’s alright, I think. There are plenty of people who can’t do things like that, and that’s a reminder I must tell myself every single day. The other week, I had my first presentation at university and I was a wreck. I managed to start crying in front of my workshop group, and the people assessing me. (Don’t worry though, they were all super supportive, for some strange reason).

When the workshop had ended, after a grueling three hours of psychological self-torture and about six million tissues, the tutors kept me back to finish my presentation and raise my grade, which I am SO thankful for.

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And this week I can laugh about it. Instead of dwelling on my failure and my anxious moments of self-doubt, I am able to laugh about how my friends have succeeded in comparison to my embarrassing breakdown, rather than completely putting myself down to a point where I am insufferably irritable.

Everyone has flaws and things that they can never quite get right, and I’m slowly learning to accept that.

I’m intrigued to know what other people cannot do—it makes me feel a bit better about myself.

I’ve figured out a few life hacks to stop myself from getting so annoyed about failure:

1. Focus on you. Try to stop comparing yourself to others all the time. It won’t help in the long run

2. Accept help sometimes

3. Look up some famous people who have failed. For example, Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard University, and he’s doing alright now

Failure is natural and being wrong is perfectly okay.

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