What is Your Greatest Fear? (Free Choice)


My greatest fear? Failure.

Not failure in terms of academics–which I am afraid of–but the fear of personal failure. The fear of not accomplishing all that can be accomplished, and the subsequent shame within myself. The self-doubt that arises in the aftermath, and the anxiety that accompanies letting myself down. It is a fear that has been with me my entire life, for I can eventually overcome failing a test or maybe even a class, but it would be almost impossible for me to overcome the failure of my potential.

I am at a time in my life where, like many others, I have to begin to decide what my future career will be. This decision, while lenient, is the largest I will have to make thus far. I want to be able to look back upon this decision and be happy that I made it. So many of us are caught in a never-ending cycle of day-to-day, 9-5 work lives. This is not an aspect of today’s society that I want to partake in. I want to be accomplished in my endeavours, and be proud of every day I have to live. Having to go to a career that I hate or do not enjoy would be devastating for me. However, I don’t want to build my standards so high that they come crashing down if I do not achieve them.

For most of my life, I have set high expectations for myself. Whether said expectations are for small, trivial things, or for larger, more significant things, the same ideal usually applies. For instance: high mark averages are what I strive for academically. Being in F.F.C.A., this was largely influenced by the teaching styles and the school community in which I grew up in; in our school, academic excellence is paramount. On the contrary, my parents, however, surprisingly did not influence this “scholar” phenomena very much. Yes, they pushed me to do well in school, but it was largely myself that set such high standards for me. Why this is? I have no idea. But I am stuck with perfectionism now, and I cannot change it. It is who I am, and everything else must follow.

I believe that it is these high standards that have me constantly weary of failure. I do not particularly know when such anxiety arose, but it is here now. My potential to do great things is constantly thwarted by doubt that has been influenced by my fear of failure. Often this contradicts what I wish to be true–I wish I had the courage to seek out a larger definition of who I am, and who I could be. Instead, however, I am left with the knowledge of who I don’t want to be–a soul who does not know where they belong or what their true calling is. For it is the fear of the unknown that is ever present in my fear of failure; I do not yet know how it feels to have my potential wasted or crushed. As such, I wish for an explicit course; a clear path that is indefinitely the optimal one for me. A life that has meaning. A life that is not wasted upon unfulfilled dreams and empty purpose.

Failure, I believe, is an instance wherein humanity as a whole can relate; we are all weary of it. Failure means that we did not accomplish what we had set out to do. Whether this is in literal or rhetorical terms, well that depends on the situation. Nevertheless, it is something that we are all a little afraid of. We are especially afraid of the loss of what was intended to be; the loss of something that was supposed to be significant, and the loss of the hope we retain in the process of finding that significance.

Failure is a never-ending cycle. We try, we lose, we try again. We try until we win.

But I offer you this: is it not this redundancy that makes humanity so inexplicably beautiful?









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One thought on “What is Your Greatest Fear? (Free Choice)

  1. Dear Carmen,

    First can I compliment your incredible ability to write such eloquently written pieces that are able to create this amazing connection with your audience and providing a sense of relatability to everyone that reads it.

    I think as FFCA students, we can all somehow relate to the inferiority that can result from the competitive nature of the overwhelming academic atmosphere at our school. I think lots of people, including myself, find it hard not to beat yourself up over the marks when you don’t receive that grade you had strived for. It’s hard not to let a number define you. When you said that you don’t want to get stuck in the vicious cycle that society has created (going to a 9-5 job you hate every day), I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes people get so caught up in striving for and, possibly, achieving the goals society has set, they forget that they should really be after their own. What you said really did touch me bud. About finding who you are and about the constant fear of failing to “be” your potential; I think everyone can relate to this.

    Sometimes people feel things, things they can not describe or put a name to. What you did Carm, you put a name to what people sometimes can’t. Thank you for that. Thank you for opening our eyes to the hidden importance of living a life of purpose and meaning, one that fulfills and satisfies all that we seek and dream about. One in which we live to our full potential.

    My favourite part of your blog was when you said: “Failure is a never-ending cycle. We try, we lose, we try again. We try until we win. But I offer you this: is it not this redundancy that makes humanity so inexplicably beautiful?”. My gosh, my heart wants to explode. Very beautifully written.

    One thing I must ask is how do you balance your perfectionism with so much going on in your life? Do you find it hard/how do you manage?

    Congrats man, on such an amazing blog post. Thank you for sharing your gift with us.


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