My Latest Experience With The Fear of Failure

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.

fear of failure

A good start to the day

As soon as that delivery date arrived, it felt just like Christmas. I was beaming with happiness, staring at the window every half hour waiting for the telescope to arrive. This isn’t just A telescope it was MY telescope’.

I couldn’t believe I was going ahead with this plan. Honestly, I felt bold, fearless, and ready for the challenge. When it finally did arrive, I dropped everything and focused my attention on putting it together. The actual setup of the telescope was quite straightforward. I followed the instructions on the box and half an hour later, it was ready to go. ‘That was easy’, I said thinking of myself as some astronomy prodigy. I then immediately took it to the rooftop, eagerly wanting to fulfil the fantasy that I’d been dreaming of for the past week.

A dark turn

I looked up excited to find my first target but all I could see was clouds. Top tip, if you want to go stargazing, especially in the city, a good idea would be to check when the sky would be clear enough to see anything. Disappointed would be underselling how I felt at that moment, but I was stubborn. I took a seat, wrapped my blanket around my shoulders, and waited, hoping for an opportunity.

I was on that roof for a solid 2 hours until the clouds parted revealing a particularly stunning moon. A lot of people don’t know that much about the moon. Particularly, how far away from it actually is.. A common saying in Western cultures is ‘Reach for the moon, even if you fall short, you’ll land among the stars’. It’s a nice sentiment but it’s not based on our reality.

You see, our closest star is the Sun, that big glowing ball in the sky. It’s approximately 150 million km away. On the other hand, our moon is a measly 385 thousand km away. So, if you want to reach for anything, technically you should be reaching for the stars. However, don’t think that it’s that easy to get to. Theoretically, you could fit all 8 planets side by side between us and the Moon, and still have some space to spare. That’s how far it is and yet it seems so close and personal to us. That’s enough of a science lesson, for now, so let’s get back to my roller coaster of an evening.

This was my chance, the moment I had been waiting for had arrived. I thought to myself, ‘The Moon is a good enough place to start, I’ll then work my way around the solar system’. So, I angled the telescope towards the moon, and I saw nothing through the lens.

The fear of failure emerges

I fiddled with it for a while and it was then and only then, that it suddenly dawned on me. In my hands, I have an amazing piece of technology, and the key to the answers I’d been searching for, but I had no idea how to use it. I tried repeatedly but nothing worked. Maybe the tripod was too high? Maybe I wasn’t using the right lens? Why is this so difficult?

I sat there trying to figure out where I had gone wrong. Shortly after, the clouds returned, hiding the moon once again. Spoiler warning, it never came into view again that night. My sky-high hopes of dealing with my problems came crashing down. As far as I was concerned, at that moment, the goal of tackling insignificance was dead. Little did I know, my first lesson had appeared right in front of me. Dealing with the fear of failure.

I’m a very competitive person who doesn’t take losses very well. I have a deep fear of failure. It would be more accurate to say that what I fear is legitimately trying to achieve something and ending up not being enough to reach that goal. A direct confirmation of my insignificance and so it had to be avoided at all costs.

My flawed ‘strategy’ to avoid the fear of failure

The main avoidance strategy I use is the reliable ‘action paralysis’ plan. The best example I could use to describe it comes from the creation of this blog. When I set out on this writing adventure, I would imagine how I wanted this website to look, what I’d write, how often I’d post. So many different options and decisions to be made. I’d spend hours watching YouTube videos on ‘How to create a blog in 2020’ ‘Best way to grow a blog for beginners’. Do you want to know the best way to actually start a blog? Writing content for that blog.

Related Post:

How To Find Your Passion In Life – The Insignificant Soul (

Sure, I had ideas, but I had not taken any actionable steps towards bringing that idea into reality. I had blog content ideas, but I had not written a single word out. I had website design ideas, but I hadn’t even purchased a domain name. The truth is that my fear of failure crippled me. I feared what would happen once my ideas were thrust into the world. My thoughts were filled with the possibility of getting rejected that I postponed starting this project for weeks. I avoided failure like the plague.

This is very comparable to my first stargazing experience. I wanted to be an expert astronomer from the start. The expectation to jump from step A (buying a telescope) to step F (masterfully navigating the universe), without doing any of the necessary work. I wasn’t mentally ready to fail at any of the steps in between. If I failed so early on, then what hope do I have of reaching my goal of step F.

This way of thinking is something that has been lurking inside of me for a long time. Social media, once again, doesn’t help in this regard. Not many people post their failures online, most of what we have access to is a highlight of all the successes in their life. All you see is everyone’s step F. No one talks about sleepless nights spent on step C, or how they regressed from step E back to step B. We glorify success and shame failure, but can you really have one without the other?

What can we learn from failure?

With each failure, comes experience and greater knowledge. Why did I fail? How can I change my approach? It’s a minor setback. These are thoughts that we need to embrace because it allows us to be in a growth mindset. I may not have been able to view the moon as I’d dreamed about, but I used that evening to learn more about the mechanics of the telescope. I learnt which lens was better for using celestial bodies, which websites had the most accurate projections of a clear sky. These are all pieces of information that are crucial to my goal, and I didn’t realise my need for it until I failed spectacularly.

Related Posts:

Why emotional growth is the key to a successful life – The Insignificant Soul (

fear of failure

Without failing constantly, you can never experience the sweet taste of success. I’m still at step A, both with blogging and stargazing. I am not an expert at either and I’m quite insignificant when it comes to my current knowledge. This is okay. In fact, it’s exciting. The only way to go is up. I will need to keep coming up with blog ideas and writing posts. Initially, I won’t get many views. This is okay. I will embrace it. I will need to keep trying with my telescope, and some nights I won’t see anything. This is okay. I welcome it. If I ever want to feel like being insignificant is okay, then becoming comfortable with failure is something that needs to be done. I won’t change overnight but as with all things in life, it’s a process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *