Serious Case of the FOFs (Fear of Failure)

I’m a total dreamer with no balls. In my fantasy life, I can sing like Whitney Houston, socialise like Hollywood A-Listers, I own a mansion, and have surplus money and time to solve the world’s biggest ethical problems. Trouble is, I would actually have to be successful in order to achieve any of that. And that requires a huge amount of Elon Musk confidence and Richard Branson risk taking. None of which I possess. In real non-daydream life.

Worryingly, I’ve never really made any definitive decisions about who I am and what I want to do in life. I’ve never had a plan. I just sort of go with the flow. Someone once said to me ‘I think you’ve got a few teacher-like qualities’, so I rejoiced, ‘Oh, all right then. If you insist! I’ll become a teacher’. But the truth is, there’s so much more that I want to achieve. Now don’t get me wrong, I love teaching and have very successfully imparted my knowledge of step-ball-changes to a ridiculous amount of students, but I’m not sure I want it to be my biggest achievement. My life’s meaning.

I’d like to travel, write an originals album, tour as a vocalist, write a musical, help endangered animals, own my own business, get so fit my abs could knock you out, etc, but I barely do anything towards these goals because I have told myself a big (vegetarian) porky. ‘These dreams are soooooooo unattainable.’ Which results in a life of wallowing in self-made oppression. Why? Cue Moaning Myrtle (MM), my professional inner belittler. ‘You don’t want to look like a fool, do you Ree Ree? Imagine what all those people would think of you if you failed. How embarrassing. You know what? I’ll just hang out here, in your squidgy brain, and give you a consistent flow of negativity about your abilities. That would definitely help. I wouldn’t want you to become too self assured. You don’t want to be a big head, do you?’ So I give up before I’ve even started. Better be safe than sorry, eh? Lies, I tell you. ALL LIES. The frustrating thing is, I know I am doing this to myself. Why can’t I just employ Voldemort and his Basilisk to petrify MM in to oblivion? Shove Riddle’s diary down her stupid throat and force her head down the bog.

Now, I know I’m not someone exceedingly special. I realise all sane people have some sort of ‘FOF’. It’s our brains way of protecting us. It the fight or flight response, our intuitive reaction to what we believe is a threatening situation, which prepares us to either uppercut the shit out of it or run away as fast as the Flash. But why does it seem as if so many of our fight or flight responses are acting like Wolverine on steroids? Are we really more depressed and anxious than our parents, grandparents or great grandparents? Or is it just the fact that we are living in a world that allows us to talk more openly about mental health? Is all this attention and focus on our feelings completely healthy or virtuous? Are we inadvertently ‘unteaching’ our children to cope with stress and pressure? Are we confusing true mental health issues with simply being stressed and overwhelmed? How do we separate legitimately depressed individuals from people like me, who have lived insanely sheltered and privileged lives? Does this phrase ‘the snowflake generation’, that I had previously so distinctly opposed, hold any truth?

I sometimes fantasise about living in a post apocalyptic world. Not because I want to kill someone without any consequences but because, quite ridiculously, I feel a bit jealous of their lives. There is some sort of freeing quality. And yes, everyone they love has died, they are constantly covered in blood and guts, have no food or water, sleep with one eye open, and there isn’t even a glance at a bottle of conditioner, but life’s meaning would be pretty simple. Don’t die. I bet I’d be pretty grateful for the fight or flight response then.

Got something to say? I really want to hear from you dudes. Join in the convo on Social Media or in the comments section below.

Catch ya later!

Rhea.
xXx

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