One Life

Fear of failure. I meet it every day.  Young people are often afraid to try something new, take a risk, problem-solve, offer a solution, think outside the box, avoid doing an assignment or reading an interesting article.  It isn’t because they are lazy, apathetic, disengaged or disinterested, in fact the opposite.  I witness it most often in hard-working, high-achieving students.  But why?

They are afraid of failing.

I was intrigued by a post entitled ‘Connecting the dots’ that I stumbled upon yesterday. Its theme reiterated my own thoughts on the immobilising effect of fear, the fear that not only my students express, although perhaps not so explicitly, but that I have also experienced in my own life.

Today, I read the results of  a staff-experience questionnaire in which it was shown that the staff within the institution felt that they worked in a secure and stable environment.  This is viewed as a positive perspective on the place of work.  It means that people will want to stay.

However, if you talk individually to the staff involved, they talk of their dreams, the plans, the things they’d like to be doing instead of the job they are now in.  But they don’t pursue them, they remain dreams.

Milan Kundera, in ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’ said something to the effect of ‘in leading only one life, we can never know if a choice is good or bad since we have nothing to compare it to.’  If we only live one life, why do we stick so rigidly to cultural norms and expectations, fail to risk challenging the status quo, go against the grain, and find real meaning in the short existence we have?  How else can we make the change to truly make a difference? There’s a great deal to be said for ‘feel the fear, but do it anyway’.

Make the most of the one life you have!

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6 thoughts on “One Life

  1. Safety is such a fragile thing.. My mom always used to tell me how much she would like us to finally buy a house and settle down. She was worried that we’re not secure enough in our travelling life style. On another hand, they had property, which would be a safety net in any case. Then my hometown became a conflict zone. Out of the blue. It was always such a quiet place, where nothing ever happened, but now there’s artillery fire. Thank God, my parents were in another place and are safe now, but all that property, that safety net, is of no use – who would want to live there now. You can never safely plan anything really for the long run. Too hard to say what would be safe and what would be the right road to take. So we just have to pursue our dreams and remain optimists no matter what.

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    1. This is a very thought-provoking perspective. Thank you for sharing it, as it is a good reminder of the transience and impermanence of experience and life. You have reminded me of a Woody Allen film, where a woman shares her wisdom with one from a younger generation who was feeling low. She said that there were two kinds of people. Those who choose the merry-go-round of life, whereas others choose the rollercoaster. She saw more value in the rollercoaster.

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      1. An interesting comparison 🙂 i know a lot of people who realised in the past year that it’s impossible to plan. Some ate getting depressed now, but for others it was a valueable push to seak a better life, so in the end it might have been just a low before another high?

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