Fingers set on the alphabets of the keyboard; the screen glaring back with a blank page. A definite invitation to write. Some thoughts dispersed in the corners of the mind were deftly collected, then framed into sentences, very creatively. And word by word, enthusiastically, the page was adorned with lines of a lovely legend. The writer paused for a moment, browsed the article and frowned. Next moment, the backspace key came into action. The cursor blinked wildly, as wildly as the emotion that had overpowered everything else going on in his mind.
The Fear of failure. Afraid that the piece will not make the mark.
He leaned back on his chair and gulped down water. Sitting dejected, he wondered if he will ever accomplish what he had set out to do. He looked at the blank screen again, swivelled his chair, crossed his fingers and closed his eyes. He started to search his mind for various things he could write upon. Possible topics that would make his book an instant hit. Stardom? Not good. Vampires? The market is overflowing with vampire tales. Self-Help? It’s you who need it right now. Frustrated, he gave up on thinking as well, and sat staring at the ceiling.
Are you so scared that you will give up trying? Said a voice in his mind.
No, I am not giving up on trying, the writer justified, I am just looking for something….
…That would please everyone? And then, you would write things that others like. After a while, even your life will be defined by others. The voice completed, brusquely.
It’s not like that, he argued back. I just want to write something good.
And what is good? Asked the voice.
Anything well written, and has a decent story, and is liked by many, he replied, unsure.
Did you notice the “liked” in your sentence? The voice taunted. Why do you want to write something good?
I want my book to be a success, the writer shrugged.
Without even trying? The voice asked back.
No, I am trying, he said, I write every day for at least an hour.
And delete the contents. The voice added. You don’t go forth with it because you are scared that you might fail.
No one wants to fail, said the writer.
But failure isn’t as bad as you think, stated the voice.
I know how bad it is, he admitted. Every time I fail, a part of me loses faith in myself. I want to live up to my expectations.
There was silence for a while. You take it too harsh on yourself, my dear, consoled the voice. The feeling associated with failure is almost psychological. People celebrate success and mourn failures all because of the outcomes. The positive consequences of failure are often neglected. Failure is seen as a devil come to ruin your lives, but in reality it is a harsh and wise teacher. Harsh, because of its ways and wise because it is going to teach you things that you’ll remember for life.
The writer nodded, pensively.
Failure is a guide to your success, continued the voice. By making you confront your own follies; failure crafts a surer path, and slowly eliminates the diversions. It equips you well with the knowledge that you would need to reach where you want to be. And thus, every failure is a cause to be grateful, for you’ve learned things that you might never know otherwise. And those things are important.
Therefore, you must keep trying. Even if you fail, that tiny “try” would take you a milestone nearer to your goal.
True, he said, very true.
Great people you revere today weren’t always successful. The difference was that they embraced their failures heartily, learned from it, and continued on to their paths to success. They are great, because they made use of their learnings, and learnt a lot.
“Why didn’t I think about this?”, he said out loud, smiling at his own folly.
But you are thinking, my dear, replied the voice. Yes I am, he thought. He swivelled back the chair, set his fingers on the keyboard again. As his fingers typed out all that was in his mind again, he promised himself that he would learn from his mistakes. There was beauty even in failing.