When fear of failure stands in your way
Every day there are choices to be made. Often there are daunting tasks in our way that we seek to avoid because we are anxious about falling down in the attempt. But worrying about perfection can stop us from trying at all and when we don’t try, we don’t have a chance.
When I was a child I had a 'grow your own crystal' set. I must have been about nine or 10. It came in a small cylindrical cardboard tube, no more than four inches tall, which I can still feel in my hands so many years on. The box was purple and had a perfect white diamond drawn on the front. Taking the plastic lid off, there was a polythene bag inside which was filled full of soft white powder - the source of the crystal - and an instruction leaflet curled around it. From the white powder I was to make a diamond-like gem. It was impossible to believe! And what if I couldn’t do it? What if mine went wrong? What if I made a mistake and ended up with something that looked nothing like a crystal?
So for years my 'grow your own crystal' set remained in a drawer with my random collection of things. Sometimes I would take it out and have a peek at it and prod the bag of powder and my heart would race. But as time went by, the idea of making a good crystal seemed even more unlikely and my fear of failing in the attempt grew. So year after year, the little purple cylinder stayed intact.
I never did summon enough courage to have a go at making my own unique gem. Maybe I could have made something good but I never found out. Maybe I could have learned something just from trying. My unformed crystal became a symbol of my belief that I wasn’t capable and that what I made would not be good enough.
When we don’t face the challenge we fail to see what we could achieve. The moment passes and we miss an opportunity to grow a bit.
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