My Latest Experience With The Fear of Failure

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I’ve always loved the way, stars and galaxies were portrayed on television. The incredible images I saw never failed to blow my mind. How could something so mysterious yet beautiful exist?

Filled with wonder, I’d imagine what life was like on these other worlds, millions of kilometres away. In the deep corners of my heart, I knew I’d eventually get a telescope, but I never thought I’d use it in the quest to find myself. Now, I could face insignificance in a way that has always been of interest to me. I’d be able to feel small in comparison to the universe and hopefully, my problems would do the same.

My personal development journey was about to begin. I’d already imagined the perfect evening. It involved me sitting on my rooftop, telescope set up to look onto the amazing night sky, contemplating my identity and life’s problems philosophically. With each day that passed, I became more and more excited, thinking that I had found my purpose in life. However, the day it finally arrived; I was hit with a huge dose of reality. Things never go according to plan. Murphy’s Law: ‘Anything that can go wrong will go wrong’. I was about to have another experience with the fear of failure.

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Insignificant – How did I get here?

I’ve always battled with the insecurity of being insignificant. I feel like it’s a very common one to have these days, but it’s never really discussed. Ever feel like you’re always wanting more? More money, more fame, more attention, more love? We often mistake it for feeling greedy or shallow. I believe that it all boils down to not feeling like who we are in the current moment is not enough, that we’re insignificant to the world. We believe that if we have more of these things, our lives will magically become perfect, all our problems will disappear, and we’ll finally be satisfied. So, what do we do? We chase. We often mistake it for passion, convincing ourselves that it’s what is best for our future, forever chasing the carrot on the stick. I’m guilty of this. I got a university degree to prove how smart I was. It wasn’t enough so I did a Masters. That still wasn’t enough so now I’m doing a PhD. The punchline to this is that no matter how many different degrees and awards I got, I never felt smart enough. On the contrary, I often feel like an imposter every single time I started a new academic opportunity. Constantly waiting for the day that people around me realize how unimportant I am. However, the story doesn’t even start here, it begins right from childhood. 

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