on the fear of crashing/falling/failing

As a kid, during my tricycle years, my family tells me that my primary past-time in our small house was to pedal as fast as possible and crash into the wall. Then turn around, and repeat on the other side.

Somewhere along the way, as I grew up, I started getting more fearful. Of falling. Of crashing. Of getting hurt.

Moody tricycle
Photo by Sven Brandsma / Unsplash

One scene comes to mind - my first triathlon and I am on the bike and cycling up a terrible hill. It is so bad, and I am so untrained on the cycle (I have no idea what the right gear is) that I had to push it up. Once I am up, I did not zip down like most people. In fact, I was so scared of going too fast and not being able to handle it. Which is very likely true.

But at least, instead of being paralysed by fear, I chose the speed I'd ride down with and made it safely.


I think a similar lesson applies. We are crippled by a fear of failure that we don't attempt things. And I totally get it. I still cannot go back to my attitude of when I was a kid on that tricycle and going batshit fast. A lot of people did that around me while I was constantly braking and coming down that hill.

But the fear of failure should not paralyse us. Or stop us from what we need to do.

It is okay if you look stupid. It is okay if you are slow.

Head First
Photo by Pascal van de Vendel / Unsplash

And in fact, and we all know this, it is absolutely fine to crash. To fail. To fall. Metaphorically. Because we can get up, brush ourselves off, learn from it, and go again.

It is totally fine to be scared. But that should not stop us. It can slow us down. And once we conquer that fear, once we learn that skill we can zip down that hill, if needed. Or not.

Let's not fail by not starting. Let's not not fall by not getting on the bike.

Failure is always an option. It is never permanent.

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