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Overcoming My Fear of Failure

Posted by Vivian Wong on January 20, 2010

Fear of failure has always been a part of my life. 2009 Q2 018

I was eleven years old when I first moved to Australia. By the time I finally allowed myself to speak English, I was almost twelve.

I remember mumbling “How do you do?” to our neighbor Harry one day and he was completely taken back. You see, Harry was teaching us English for over six months and had never heard me speak. (I used to mime so no one could hear how horrible my  pronunciations were.)

Growing up in a family of over-achievers, I set my own expectations so high that I was always truly petrified of failing. When I faced with a challenge, I can successfully talk myself out of it by asking: “What if I am not good enough?”

The worst case scenario is not to even give it your best shot. I have learned to set the right level of MY expectations while I was studying Computing Science: I excelled at subjects like “Project Management” and “Simulation and Modeling”; I was mediocre at Financial Accounting but I was at peace with myself. I realized that it is OK to be average on “some” things. I didn’t want to be an accountant anyway.

The key to overcoming fears for me is to give myself the PERMISSION to do it. (The fear may not go away, but I am not going to let it take control.)

In 2010, I am totally ditching the “What if I am not good enough?” question. After all, there ARE upsides to failures in life.

I am going to focus my energy on becoming a prolific blogger. The fear of writing a blog that suck may not go away, but I am going to stop playing safe and give myself permission to just write, even if some of them will be  bad ones. (Tip: if you get bored with my blogs, you can easily navigate to my favorite bloggers such as MegMark, Amy, Dan, Jason and many more listed on our blogroll.)

It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed. – Theodore Roosevelt

May you be blessed with the strength to succeed!

9 Responses to “Overcoming My Fear of Failure”

  1. Jason said

    Go Vivian!

    For me, the key to writing is to just do it… With my books, I keep files of all the stuff I throw away. Those docs are about 50% as long as the finished books themselves. I find blogging a bit more challenging because of the pace: I simply don’t have time to do as much editing as I’d like. On the flipside, it’s a real-time experiment… It’s fascinating to see which posts draw a crowd and which ones don’t!

    I look forward to reading your posts–I can already tell you, they won’t be nearly as bad as you fear!

    • Vivian Wong said

      Jason, Thank you very much for stopping by and for the encouragement! Also it is good to know how the pros do it :).


  2. Nice post and thanks for courageously sharing, Vivian. You’re right – living up to our own overly high expectations causes us to hold back when we should just get it out there.

  3. Meg Bear said

    I am quite literally tearing up with pride. Vivian you rule!

    – Meg

  4. DC Jobs said

    There is another Theodore Roosevelt quote that I think fits in with the theme of your post.

    “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorius triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

  5. Amy Wilson said

    Yay Vivian – I’m very much looking forward to it!

  6. […] a blog, Wong […]

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