This I Believe

Laura - Swea City, Iowa
Entered on September 13, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: courage, fear


I believe in overcoming fears. For me, it wasn’t just your typical fear of spiders or snakes or heights, either. No, my fear was not something that could be cured by a simple appearance on Fear Factor.

I grew up with the fear of failure. It really didn’t matter what it was in. It could be in school, in sports, at work, or even in relationships. My greatest fear was that I would fail and let everyone who was counting on me down. I was afraid to get a bad grade in school for fear that I would disappoint my teachers and parents and that they would think less of me. I was afraid of missing the last second shot to win the game or striking out with the bases loaded for fear that I would be letting my team down. The list could go on and on.

In small town Iowa, everybody knows your business pretty much instantaneously as it happens. Therefore, growing up in this atmosphere only reinforced this fear even more. Not only was I letting my parents, teachers, and teammates down, but it was like I was letting the entire community down in my mind.

Nevertheless, as I grew older and more mature, I also grew more independent. I began to realize that the only person that I was truly afraid of letting down was myself. Under this new understanding, I began to realize that this was something that I could conquer.

Now, instead of being so afraid to fail, I learned how much easier it was to learn from your failures. I spent a great majority of my life growing up afraid to experience or try anything new because I was too afraid that I wouldn’t be any good at it. However, come to find out, that is what makes something new all the more fun: failing so horribly the first time around that you just have to do it again to become better. For instance, for me, it was golf. I was always afraid to even try it for fear that I would fail horribly. Come to find out, after being forced into playing my first round, I was horrible. But this time, it didn’t stop me. I’m still a pretty pathetic golfer, but I no longer shy away at the opportunity to play simply because I may not be the best golfer out there.

Today, I still hold myself to what some may consider very high standards. I still don’t like to fail; I don’t think anybody does. However, I will no longer let my fear of failure hold me back from whatever life may throw my way.