The Try Guys have a chapter in their book The Hidden Power of F*cking Up called “Failosophy.” After reading it, memories of failure, rushed to the forefront of my mind. Remembering those moments was emotional, but I did notice a pattern. Most of my failure memories were associated with fear, shame, and embarrassment. The try guys talked about their failosophy, and now it’s my turn.
My friend in university was interested in joining a band club. I remember trying to convince her to go try out, but she was totally against it. The bottom line was she was afraid to try out and be rejected (or fail). I countered that by asking why it mattered that she failed and she told me she didn’t want to be one of those people who fails. This is really when I realized that people have a big fear of failure even when it’s over something as simple as trying out for a club.
However, fear is just a symptom of the underlying problem. Our fear comes from the shame and embarrassment of failing. Somewhere along the line, we as a society have decided that failure is something to be ashamed of and avoid at all costs. Not only that, but when we see someone fail, it’s typically followed by others laughing or teasing. Wonderful.
People call me a hobby hopper, as in someone who jumps from one hobby to the next without committing to one thing. Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with that, but people have used that as an insult against me. “You never stick to one thing.” “You try and just give up!” “Why don’t you keep going and get better at it?”
I have to keep reminding myself that there is no shame in trying. Actually, it’s impressive that I tried in the first place! I’ve tried cross-stitching, I know what it’s like and know to do it, and I really don’t enjoy it. AND THAT’S OKAY. I don’t have to keep cross-stitching for the rest of my life. Cross-stitching taught me that I get enjoyment from tasks that take less time and show quicker results. I’ve learned something about myself and acquired a new skill. Neither of those should be shamed, but should be celebrated.
I don’t recall the exact moment when embarrassment entered my life, but it did and I can’t say I’m pleased with that. I think the purpose of embarrassment is the same as fear, to keep us from doing things that can harm us. However, embarrassment has morphed into this horrible thing that now stops us from trying new things.
When I was in high school, I really wanted to be a drum major. I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone this, but it’s true. I remember being envious of my friends who were chosen and wishing I had been brave enough to try out for the position. You know why I didn’t try out? Because I was embarrassed of looking silly while learning how to be a good drum leader. I don’t regret much, but this is something I would change if I could go back.
I see my middle school students go from being care free to reserved as pressure to reach a certain standard builds on them. Korea stresses English language learning in schools, but students are too embarrassed to TRY speaking English for fear of not using proper grammar or pronunciation. Honestly, I’m the same way when it comes to Korean. I’m embarrassed to speak Korean and say something wrong. I hate that I’m an adult who is perpetuating this idea that you need to be embarrassed when trying or learning.
It’s important for me to remember there is nothing wrong with trying. I can’t let embarrassment stop me and I can’t let others shame me into not trying. Not all of my tries will be grand, but the scale of the try isn’t important. What’s important is that I did something I was nervous or anxious about and learned form the experience. Let’s take this year to try new things together!
Well, that’s all for my failosophy. What things would you include in your failosophy?
Come see what I’ve been trying lately!
Where to Begin?
I’m not sure exactly where to start off this story, but I guess I should give a little background information. I currently live in a very small town in South Korea. There genuinely isn’t much here and our only claim to fame is a filming site for a movie no one watches anymore. Because I’m vegetarian there aren’t many options of places to get food. Surprisingly, pretty much everything at restaurants have meat in it. So, I’ve got about two places I go to and one of them is pizza.
There are a couple places that have pizza here, but my favorite is a place called Pizza Tour. They don’t deliver, so usually I go straight there after work and get myself a potato pizza. I know, potato pizza sounds weird, but don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it! The only two people who work there are the owners, husband and wife. I think the husband does other work during the day since the wife is usually there alone and he gets to the restaurant around 5pm-ish. They are so, so kind and have helped me out a few times. Once it started to pour down rain after I had gotten inside. Before I could leave the wife told me to wait. I watched her go to the back room and come back with an umbrella! She didn’t want me getting wet on the way back to my car.
I have to admit that I get pizza too often. I get it at least once a week (usually on Fridays), but sometimes I get it twice a week if I don’t feel like cooking. It’s at the point where if I was going to move, I would stop and tell them goodbye before doing so. Anyway, I was there on a Friday getting my weekly potato pizza when the husband tried to tell me something.
My Korean level is that of an infant. Their English level is almost non-existent. So, there we were at the counter trying to communicate. He would say a sentence and I would look confused. He tried again and I would repeat back the words I understood so that we could potentially work towards the goal of communication. It was very tedious and it took probably a good 10 minutes. I know this, because I know exactly how long it takes for them to cook my pizza. Eventually we got to the point where I understood that they were trying to tell me. They would be out of town for a week! I was so excited that we finally got the message across, but I was also sad because no pizza for a week. He then proceeded to tell me that they weren’t getting another dough shipment, so they may run out of dough before then.
Disappointment and Embarrassment
After the husband finished telling me what was going on, the wife had come to the counter to talk as well. This is where I started to get embarrassed… The wife proceeds to look at me all concerned and say “Oh, no! What are you going to eat if not pizza??” All I could do was laugh and tell her that I would be fine. But she still seemed very concerned for my well-being. I can cook and I frequently do! I’m just lazy and I really like pizza. So, as I walked out of Pizza Tour with my potato pizza, I immediately called my friend here in Korea to tell her my story. We laughed at my embarrassment together 🙂
Pizza! The next week I drove past the shop and looked to see if they were open. One day I passed to see a sign on the door and workers pulling equipment out of the shop. My heart broke in two. They weren’t closing for a week. I had misunderstood. They were closing FOREVER and moving to ANOTHER TOWN.
It’s been almost a year since they’ve closed and I haven’t had a pizza to match what they cooked. They moved their store about an hour and a half away, and I have to admit that I’ve been tempted to try and find them. One day I will track them down and tell them how much I’ve missed them. Until then, I’ll need to learn to make my own pizza…
A bucket list always seemed like something people do when they are about to die. A Walk to Remember, anyone? But, as I’ve gotten older I realize that you need little things in life to look forward to.
My mom told me what gets her through her nursing shifts, is knowing which vacation she will be going on next. When I’m in a rut, I need to make some sort of plan (even a stay-cation) to get my spirits up.
So, here I am 29 years old with 29 things on my bucket list!
- learn to trick rope
- make a build-a-bear
- have a personal library full of books I love
- adopt a child
- buy lots of land
- get a scrub at a Korean bath house
- buy a modern hanbok
- visit all 50 states
- have a farm
- get my master’s degree
- work as a librarian
- grow a vegetable garden
- go to the Australia zoo
- learn to drive stick
- road trip to the grand canyon
- fly first class
- learn Korean
- get a tattoo
- run a marathon
- see the northern lights in Iceland
- vacation at Giraffe Manor
- visit my online friends
- ride a hot air balloon
- go on an epic hike
- have a black lamb named Jennifer
- go to a drive in movie
- have a lake or beach house
- travel to different countries
- work with exotic animals
Well, there’s my bucket list? What’s on yours?