Thursday, 21 June 2007

Pass and Fail

Fear is a wonderful thing. For too long people have been terrified of the idea. It is something that holds us back, stops us from moving forward, changing our lives. Fear of failure is one of the most potent phobias alive today.

Growing up at a certain time in England, in a certain social group, and attending a certain type of school has for too long been a mental constraint on where myself and some very close friends feel comfortable in setting ourselves. We fell through certain cracks – too smart to not attend university, not quite of the right stuff to attend the best. We went into university at the end of a time when the top 3% were graduates, and came out the other end at a time when unless you had an MA you didn’t really have a degree. Made to choose the lesser of bad schooling in picking our subjects – there were the odd teachers here and there that were exceptional for what they were working with, but many of these would leave half way through a year, a term, even a lesson. It feels like we are often, as people, judged not by what we can offer, what we can learn, how much we can grow, but rather by what we have done.

If all this sounds like excuses for our lot, so be it. Maybe it is, but maybe the point of writing such stuff down is to realise exactly what little power these words actually have over us. Ironic, considering how much weight I tend to put into the power of words.

What am I saying? What am I getting at? I feel trapped, mentally, by a notion that failure is a bad thing, fear keeps us from overextending our reach – a series of burnt finger lessons learnt on the hot plate of life. A friend today said something though, that has changed this idea. Failure should not be seen as an end, but rather a marker, a point to which you have grown, and with each encounter we learn a little more, and move forward a little further.

So far these are all words, but it is a beginning. A little application of this new way of looking at the world – my hard-drive failed, I was afraid that I had lost all of my stuff, especially my music, which I had transferred from a vast CD collection onto the Mac many years ago. I tried a number of ways of saving the music from one back up device or another, and most of them failed for one reason or another. As I type this, I am listening once again to my music collection, the sun is setting to my left, and I feel I’ve learnt a little more.

No comments: