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!