Need for perfection and fear of failure

Why we don’t do the things which we are suppose to? Why do we procrastinate? Why do we constantly suspect that we can do much more, but we spend years doing nothing?

You feel your potential. You had your moments when you solved some problem brilliantly, like no one else did. You passed that IQ test – and you scored 150. You sang the song one time – and you fell in love with your voice. You cooked that one meal which was delicious. You knew all the answers to the TV quiz questions. The only problem is that you knew them from your couch. You know that if you actually go for something and stick with it just for a little while – you will be ahead of anyone else in this area.

You know it all, and yet, years are passing but nothing changes. Despite your potential – all you can see is how everyone else is achieving greatness in your area. You see how people recognize other people for their knowledge, skills, talent and contribution. But your hidden potential remains visible only to you.

I am convinced that everyone has this hidden potential and ability to reach greatness. And there are three groups of people based on what they do with it: Those who actually go for it- a small percent of high achievers; those who stopped hearing it long time ago – a small percent of people who completely gave up on life; and finally those who hear it loud and clear, and they want to do something about it, but they cant. The last group is as big as 90% of the population.

If you feel your potential but do nothing about it – you are not special. To a majority of the world – you are just a part of grey mass.

Nobody can read your mind, and nobody will spend time recognizing your talents and developing your skills (unless it’s a career coach).

Nobody will enter your life and finally recognize you for your hidden potential. Nobody will give you credits for the work which could have been done, taking into account your abilities.

You are the only one who can do it for yourself.

And to do so you have to dig deep into your mind and ask yourself a question:

What am I afraid of?

No amount of blame, force, will power will keep you running for a long time, if you ignore what’s going on under covers.

What is happening on the background?

You might have a typical fear of failure: ah, I will never be great at it. Ah, I will never reach such level as person X. Ah, I was never good at it so I can never be. Ah, maybe it’s not my thing at all.

But fear of failure is not a root cause, it’s also a cover for what’s really happening.

Failure – is not getting the result people define as success, not corresponding to someone’s standards of being good enough. It’s basically fearing that if you fail – you will not be good enough to be loved by others(and yourself)

Whenever I start a new thing – I immediately expect myself to be perfect at it. To understand all aspects and act as a pro. I have a potential – I must be great at it! If Im not great at something I have a talent for – then I am nothing.

I start learning a new language – and after 1 week Im frustrated that I still can’t read a magazine in that language.

I am starting new sport -and Im frustrated that I can’t perform as Olympic champions.

Im starting new area of IT – and Im frustrated each time when I dont know something.

I expect myself to be an expert within few weeks. I expect to never fail in lessons’ exercises or quizzes. I expect myself to know it all from the day 1 and I feel like a failure when I dont.

I don’t let myself to be imperfect. Deep down I still have a childhood programming, which tells me that Im not loved if I dont get good grades. And the pressure of always performing on top is so huge, that I prefer to do nothing rather than face a horror of daily failures.

And from here comes procrastination, boredom, apathy.

It’s not that we chose all the wrong things in life. Sometimes it might be the case, but more often is that we are afraid to look imperfect while we are learning. We want to be masters right away, we can’t stand the thought that we have to fail every day, that we have to make those first awkward steps before we can feel the glory. We can’t stand ourselves being awkward, silly or stupid.

We are so used to our miserable lives, where we know everything and we handle it all with grace, coolness and “all-knowingness”.  It’s our comfort zone. We are in control here.

Learning something new is out of that zone. It’s a spotlight on our weaknesses. It’s making us vulnerable. It’s showing to the world that “we too, don’t know it all”. And we don’t want that.

So it is better to give up and stop trying. We feel miserable of course, but we cover it up with “so many things to deal with, I have no time to learn that thing I’ve always wanted to“. Misery is familiar and not so scary as walking down the path of imperfection.

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