Fear Factor

Ryan - Tokyo, Japan
Entered on May 27, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: fear
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I believe that fear plays a huge role in prevention and motivation. It might not be realized or appreciated of like joy or love in the eyes of the public, but it’s a huge contributor to life. A dreadful fear that casts its shadow over everything is most often thought of as a cynical thing but I find it a charming little critter. Like a parasite, fear can inflict some mental damage, pressuring you and causing stress, and in worst case scenario’s, create traumatic experiences. However, living in a day with fear hiding behind every corner keeps me on my toes and alert of the consequences for every action I take.

I’ve always hated to fail. No matter what it was, I hated to fail and would’ve done anything to prevent it from happening. Much of this came from fearing to hurt my reputation which my personal pride would never have approved of. The simple embarrassment of failure was never an option. My personal philosophy had turned into a subconscious barrier when I was a little kid in elementary school.

When my 7th grade science teacher, Mr. Hand assigned me to do a group lab report with 4 other elite students in science class, they were doomed. We were all good friends and they didn’t refuse but I knew they hesitated. As a very poor student of science I barely passed quizzes and tests every week. Mr. Hand and I had to have talks on a daily basis about my grades and he always had to provide extra help for me to catch up in class. I still remember the 5 of us were subject to study the chemiluminescece of Rhodamine B, which I had no understanding of the complex chemical reactions that took place. I was terrified to be paired with four science geniuses and keep up to their high standards with this complicated process. The stress to adjust my weakness up to their caliber was an impossible task, but I didn’t want to anchor my friends down either.

I tried my best to become an asset to the group. I attended extra help sessions after school everyday, asked clarifying questions to Mr. Hand during lunch periods, and did out-of-class research so I wouldn’t become deadweight to my friends. However, just as I feared I fumbled with the chemical mixtures, numbered the lab procedures wrong, and measured the luminescences incorrectly, earning us a C+ for our final group grade. My worst nightmare had become a reality. All of us used to be close friends, but we became distant after that, and I don’t blame them for their retreat after I brought their expected grade down from an A to a C. The guilt and embarrassment of failing to fulfill my friend’s expectations was unbearable. I guess it was then that I swore to become versatile to all subjects at school and sports in order to keep myself from the shame of failure.

There’s nothing better that keeps me away from failure and embarrassment than fear for its consequences. Whether it’d be getting a bad reputation, failing a test, being rejected from college, or simply making a fool of myself in public, fear had kept me out of the gutter and on track to success. From this sour failure I experienced in 7th grade, I learned failure, and what it was like to be a working force against progress, embedding an unforgettable disappointment and also an alert conscience against failure.