This I Believe

Jenna - Indianola, Iowa
Entered on September 25, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

When I sit down to my computer, a ripped piece of paper tacked to my screen eludes me to read the words “What would you attempt to do, if you knew you would not fail?” This phrase has become my slogan and has given me the confidence to attempt things I would otherwise not do because I was too frightened. I discovered this quote when I was a struggling eighteen year-old trying to be just like everyone else, but yet maintaining my individuality at the beginning of my college experience. Looking back four years later, I am stunned by what I have accomplished even though I was scared of failing the entire time.

Initially I choose to participate in events in order to meet people such as participating in a sport, joining committees, and going to campus events. This I told myself was all I was going to do. I did not need a vote to be able to join and I could just be another face in the crowd. By putting myself out there to participate I felt vulnerable and scared. I tried to convince myself that attempting things was not worth ruining my reputation or not succeeding. Failing was letting my family, friends, and myself down. Since I did not want to experience this feeling often, I thought I would just be safe and not try for leadership roles.

However, by daily remembering my slogan, I made myself vulnerable and tried for leadership positions. I was sure that I was ruining everything I had built up and would fail. I just knew I would regret trying for these positions. The results were shocking. I had succeeded and not failed. I couldn’t believe that I had attempted what I did, all the while scared I would fail, and I had succeeded.

If I had known four years ago that I would done all that I have, I would have laughed and said you are telling that to the wrong person. I realize I will succeed and fail many times in life, but fear of failing will not keep me from attempt anything. Through my fears, I have become successful and experienced life in a way I was afraid to do. Allowing fear of failure to control someone’s life is preventing he or she from really living life, and this I believe.