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Getting Over Yourself: Starting Something New When You’re Scared of Failure

It’s a classic scenario for many of us: you see a fun hobby on Instagram or TikTok, or maybe even being done by a friend, you decide to try it out, you fail miserably, and all the materials you invested in are pushed to the back of your closet. Sometimes things just don’t work out, and that’s perfectly normal. But sometimes we don’t stop because we don’t like it; we stop because we’re not good at it. 

When I was younger, I did a million activities, from theater and dance to field hockey and student council. Some of these I started when I was little and stopped when I thought I wasn’t good at them; they didn’t make me happy anymore because I wasn’t successful at them. And looking back, I wasn’t at all successful when I was doing them at four or seven years old; they just made me happy because I liked them. One day I started pushing pressure on myself, probably around middle school, and I realized – or at least thought I realized – that I was shit at them and they weren’t worth doing anymore. 

There are so many things I want to try at least once in my life, and even more things I think would be cool to have as a consistent hobby or skill; making clothes, knitting, fencing, boxing, rock climbing. But I’m so scared of the potential failure, the potential disappointment at my own lack of skill that I’m paralyzed. I don’t even start. I’m so worried I won’t be GOOD at something that I don’t even consider whether or not I’d have fun doing it. 

I need to get over myself. We all need to get over ourselves. Our entire generation is so scared of failure, and so driven by the idea that we have to monetize every hobby, be a prodigy or influencer for every aspect of our lives, or that we won’t try anything new that could potentially let us down. 

I’ve finally gotten into embroidery, and I’m not very good at it. But it doesn’t matter. It makes me happy! I enjoy doing it! And if I’d stopped trying after my first mangled work of cloth and thread, I wouldn’t’ve found that out. It took me a while to get over myself, but I was so worth it in the end.

Sarah Revis

Emmanuel '23

Sarah is a junior English Communications major at Emmanuel College. She enjoys reading, embroidery, baking, and listening to an unreasonable amount of folk rock.
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