👀A Ticket To The Museum of Failure
#374 | To avoid failure, do nothing
Today, we begin with a warning.
The following edition of Just One Thing may or may not read like notes for an upcoming therapy session.
It will be linked to an interesting 'thing' at the end, though, I promise.
But first, a thought dump on the fear of failure.
Lately (or basically for the past four years), I've been feeling increasingly paralysed by the fear of failure. This is how it typically goes:
Step one: I imagine doing something, let's say, compiling and editing some of my writing into a manuscript and pitching it to small publications.
Step two: In my imagination, everything works out, and I end up with a published book that at least some people appreciate.
Step three: A very, very, very loud voice in my head starts saying things like, "But why would anybody publish what you've written?" "do you really think your writing is any good?" "you're kidding yourself if you think you can do this".
Step four: This is all too much for me, and to shut the voice out, I watch videos of American retirees getting catfished by Nigerian romance scammers on YouTube. And the manuscript remains, as ever, a figment of my hyperactive imagination.
No matter what dream I dream, these four steps follow. You guessed it; I successfully allow my anticipation of failure to sabotage any attempt at making those dreams a reality.
Sometimes, because I've become such a seasoned expert at self-sabotage, I deliberately give myself an abnormally short amount of time to actually get something done.
Why? So that I can blame the "last minute-ness" of it for why I couldn't give my best.
At this point, you must be thinking, "None of this makes any sense".
You are right. I KNOW it doesn't make sense, and yet this is my modus operandi. It's supremely frustrating.
But I'm working on it, I'm working on it. I'll keep you updated.
If nothing else works out, I can create my version of a Museum of Failure, a site that showcases failed products and services from around the world. It's a travelling exhibition really, but you can take a virtual tour.
From the Nike Magneto (you'd have to glue a magnet to your head so your eyewear could clip onto it) to New Coke (if this happened within my lifetime, I'd be rioting in the streets), there are a whole bunch of things into which giant corporations invested money, people and time. And they all failed spectacularly.
If this were a movie, this bit would be a montage of me pitching my writing to publishers, followed by a close-up of my smiling face as I held up my newly published book in the presence of supportive family and friends. But this is real life, so no, my self-sabotaging ways did not magically fade into oblivion after the virtual tour of the Museum of Failure.
But the museum amused me, and I hope it amuses you too.
As for the lessons to be learnt? I'm going to need a few more classes.