It’s Not a Fear of Failure

by Noise Pollution

Stardew Valley - Shane

It’s not a fear of failure that is holding me back. It’s a confidence that failure is inevitable. I don’t worry that I might fail, and the risk of the possibility of failure doesn’t freak me out.

I just don’t feel capable. I feel untalented, unskilled, and unintelligent. I feel like anything I attempt will lead to failure because I am utterly incompetent. So I’m not afraid of failure. I’m afraid of moving forward, when failure is looming over me. I’m afraid of taking a step not because I’m worried I might be stepping on a landmine, but because I see landmines all around me and don’t see anywhere else to step.

The few things I have some level of competence in, I can’t even called myself especially skilled at. I’m an okay writer. I’m not a great technical writer, and I have trouble writing long-form anything. Long-form there meaning longer than an average blog post. As far as coming up with fictional stories goes, I have a hard time actually finding a plot to write about. All the stories I have to tell are from real life, and… I mean, none of them really have a beginning, middle, and end. That’s not how real life works. In real life, shit happens, then it keeps happening. You don’t really get a “conclusion.” So I have a really hard time writing stories. It takes writing a book or a short story completely off the table.

I’m an okay poet, sure. I have a very specific style of writing and generally have difficulty writing things in such a way that they couldn’t be said in a sentence. So I write stuff that’s meant to be said out loud, either through song or through cool hipster-ish poetry readings. I don’t have a super wide range when it comes to poetry. This is all avoiding the elephant in the room, though: it’s not marketable and it doesn’t make you money. It’s not a career.

I’m maybe serviceable when it comes to guitar. I can’t play anything super complicated and I give up on difficult pieces far too quickly. I’ve been playing for around seven years now and I’m maybe about as good as someone who has been playing for two. I can’t play cleanly. All of my chords sound rough. My sense of rhythm is thrown off easily. I have trouble singing and playing at the same time. Music theory is beyond me.

And I think that ends my list of skills. And all of them are things that even if I were the best in the world at, it’d still be a weighted-against me roll of the dice as to whether or not they’d ever be profitable.

I can’t even stock shelves fast enough for anyone.

So let me ask you a question. Do you ever feel like… no matter what you do, you’re gonna fail?

[The screenshot is from the recently-released game called Stardew Valley. It’s on Steam (meaning you play it on your PC, for those of you who are out-of-the-loop on that stuff) and it’s incredible. It’s also only fifteen dollars. I highly recommend it.]