On the Importance of Trying Things You (might!) Fail

I was sitting in the campus cafe the other day and I heard a girl talking to her friend. “Why would I try it,” she was saying, “If I literally know I’m going to fail?”

I was struck by this. How could someone not even try something because of the possibility of it not working out? In the next second, however, I realized I don’t try things for that very reason all the time. Whether it’s a club I’m scared I won’t excel in, a person I’d like to be friends with but I don’t think they’d like me, or a class I’m scared I’ll fail– I realized with a jolt that my life is filled with moments where I could have chosen to try something but didn’t because I thought it wouldn’t work.

And I am most certainly not alone. Too many friends of mine didn’t apply to their dream college because they were too intimidated by the statistics against them. Too many friends don’t go after the guy they like because they assume he won’t like them back. Too often we seem to let opportunities pass us by for fear of not being successful at them.

College, particularly freshman year of college, is one of the biggest transitions in our young lives. Suddenly we are no longer under the care of our parents, no longer gently guided through life; this is the first stage in truly becoming adults. And that is so terrifying it often means that we feel we shouldn’t push ourselves anymore once we get here. It’s easy to sink back into the things we are used to: join clubs we were in high school, hang out with people we feel like we already know. And I’m not saying those are bad things at all; it’s great to stick with things you love and people you feel comfortable with. But it’s also important to do new things, even if you don’t know for certain that they will work out.

I am (now) making an active effort to do those things that scare me, that I might, and probably will fail at. I sang at a karaoke night for the first time, which was absolutely terrifying– and super fun, regardless of how I sounded (lol)! The last time I went rock climbing I could barely get up the easy wall, but I signed up for rock climbing club and I’m going to see how it goes, no matter how bad I am at it. These may seem like small things, but small things are the small steps we all need towards taking a leap we have never taken before.

We are living in a time designed for self-exploration and risk-taking. So why are we all wasting it on things we know we can do? Try something new, try something you might fail at, and try to enjoy it. Whether that means singing in public, saying hello to someone who seems cool or taking a class you aren’t so sure about, try something.


If there was ever a time to do so, it’s now.