Lou Ramsay Asks: Why Do We Fear Failure?

In the media heavy, digitalised world we’re living in failure is more public than success. Sure, we can scroll down Instagram or Twitter and see high-profile creators informing their following of a new book deal, a new campaign, even an #ad showcasing they’re being paid by a brand to show their stuff off. It’s never ending cycle on the old social media feed. But when you fail? It’s so much deeper now it can be played in the public eye. We feel more eyes on us, because it feels like we’ve opened the door to hundreds of more humans to see our everyday lives.

Failure, like many things, is an uncomfortable thing. We try anything to avoid it. We think up of ways to ‘protect’ ourselves from failure, thinking up alternative routes or flat out refusing to do something because, what if we fail? What do we do with failure? The shame at the thought. You can feel the ghost of embarrassment and shame creeping on your face, because it’s a painful thing, to admit something didn’t work out the way you planned.

But here’s the thing – we have to fail. We have to fail a lot. We have to be wrong, at least a dozen times over a dozen things, because that’s how it is. Life is a serious of daft moments, of doing stuff because ‘why not?’ and ending up on your ass more times than you’ll keep tract of. Let alone anyone else. No one and nothing is ever perfect, especially first time. Isn’t that so freeing? To know, really, it doesn’t matter at all?

There’s so much pressure to get it right the very first time, when it won’t be until the 5th attempt we might actually make some form of progress. It’s all smoke and mirrors with people outside our inner circle; no one wants to stick their hand up and say ‘I think I did this wrong’ because god, it’s that human idea of pride isn’t it? Of being proud of your work and impressing people, whoever those people might be from your mum and dad to your tutor to your closest friends to your Internet friends, we all want to make something that’s good. Good in the purest sense, something that’s both accessible to all and something that’s completely our own, so we can say ‘that’s mine! I made that! I came up with that!’

Failure, is just a word made up to make us scared. Failure makes us think we can’t, when we can. Failure is the looming feeling we’re doing something wrong, but in the end we’re not looking back on this in five years really, because there’s more stuff to do and things to try. Failure is everyone who’s said ‘you can’t do that’ and made you feel like your ideas are ridiculous or too elaborate. ‘You can’t do that’.

Well guess bloody what?

I’m going to, because I can.

We’re all going to.