Phobias: how to learn from failure

Freya Daniels explores how her fear of failure has troubled her and tells us how to cope with and learn from failures.

Freya Daniels
1st March 2021
Failure. That gut-wrenching feeling of disappointment caused by the absence of success that we all so deeply desire. To one, failure may be a day filled with procrastination and lack of study. Whilst to another, it may simply be forgetting to feed the dog. As a concept, failure is subjective and personal to everyone.

We have all experienced failure in some form. Growing up throughout school we were conditioned to believe that failure is catastrophic, the worst conceivable occurrence. The most prominent experience of academic failure that stands out to me is completing my GCSE mock exams. It was my first experience of multiple formal exams in a short space of time. I found it daunting and impossible.

As a concept, failure is subjective and personal to everyone

I was uneducated on how to effectively manage my revision, which culminated with an excess of time spent on my preferred subjects whilst my science revision guides were left untouched, and my results inevitably reflected this. I have always been very conscientious and so inevitably have felt the ramifications of a bad grade thoroughly. Yet to facilitate this feeling of inadequacy, my biology teacher produced a ranking of our class in order of the best mock result to the worst and read this out (to my absolute horror). At the time, all I felt was dread as everyone waited in anticipation to see who would be at the bottom of the ranking.

As my name was read out, I felt the gawk of a few dozen eyes on me. Initially, I was humiliated, but what followed this mortification was to me, the worst feeling there is: disappointment. Not only was I evidently a disappointment to my teacher, I had also disappointed myself.

Growing up throughout school we were conditioned to believe that failure is catastrophic, the worst conceivable occurrence

However, what I have learnt over time is that there are two paths you can take. Is that going to be the path of wallow and self-pity? Or perhaps the path of proactiveness and learning from your mistakes? Instead of wallowing in remorse of your unproductive day, strive for a more fruitful one tomorrow, and appreciate the sense of accomplishment you feel by the evening. Failure is distressing, but it’s also inevitable. Use it to learn from your mistakes, strive for success and you might just be surprised with what you accomplish.

Image credit: Pixabay, @mohamed_Hassan

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