We often hear about failures : a role refused to an actor/actress despite a promising audition, an entrepreneur whose project is considered scabrous when everything seemed to indicate that it would be revolutionary, etc. And yet, these are the same people who end up reaching for the stars and find their spot among them. So why are we so afraid to try anything, just by fear of screwing up…
- The genesis -
Rejection and narrowly missing our goal are painful factors. But these feelings are coded in our genes, during prehistory (and even after), we could only count on the strength and cohesion of the group for our survival. Being ostracized could have serious consequences. So to avoid dying alone in the desert, our brain has devised a ploy to avoid rubbing shoulders with this potential rejection. And a few thousand years later, we are still reinforcing these anti-rejection signals.
But while it started as a survival instinct, the same means prevents us from moving forward. We confine ourselves in our comfort zone, because our feelings and emotions tell us to. But we must force ourselves to get out of it, at least from time to time, if we want to set up a project, an idea, a creation or realize a dream. Let's face it, if we plan to wait for the envy to come to us to start, we risk to never see the day coming.
- Where there is discomfort, there is no pleasure -
We get to learn new skills through practice, because we create a connection between our actions and a positive response to them.
And if this response does not come, or if it does not correspond to our expectations, our level of dopamine (neurotransmitter which plays an important role for our well-being) will drop and this action-reward link will weaken, break or disappear. This lack of a positive response is precisely why our brain tells us to give up and never do it again.
Not achieving our goals on the first try, or having the impression that we must give up are not tangible reactions : we just have to analyse the reason of the insufficiency and learn from it, in order to obtain a better result on our next attempt.
- Initiation -
If we learn a new language, it is obvious that we will look like idiots, before we manage to express ourselves fluently. If we grow tomatoes, naturally there will be losses before we get a good harvest. If we write a book, we will certainly have to revise or rewrite passages. No one is born with infused knowledge!
We must remember that making a mistake is not always irreversible, nor is it a shame, but a way to learn, to question ourselves, to improve in order to understand what we will have to do in the future and how to avoid the pitfalls we already know (with a little dopamine at stake).
Our instinct wants to save us from failure, but it is essential for our progress and our learning. We can overcome these feelings and fearlessly walk down the right path : to fail, to get up, to try again, and to succeed.
- The volte-face -
Therapists use a tactic called the exposure technique, which involves gradually introducing things that we avoid or dread. This goes through vertigo, the phobia of spiders and clowns, up to the anxiety of relationships and failure. Gradually, each time we encounter something scary, we get used to it.
Fear wears many masks and they are all reasons why we stay in our comfort zone. So our thoughts can paralyze us, but action can set us free :
Rejection is the dreaded response, striking directly at our self-esteem. But we must learn to disobey that little voice in our head, so that the world opens up to us. As long as we are susceptible to rejection for something, we can come out on top, because success is not in giving up, but in our ability to pick ourselves up, learn, and start again. So that if we are driven by creative energy and motivated by the will to do something, we won't let it go to waste and we will make it happen.
What do you think?