Last week I received an email that I had been
patiently impatiently waiting for since November. It was an email that very nearly altered my future and consequently, the rest of my life. Towards the end of the supposed receiving date, I was refreshing my email every second, ready for the news to arrive. It arrived a few hours later than expected, but nevertheless it still arrived… and now I can proudly call myself: an art school reject.
However, more important than the receiving of this label, is the personal journey I took that ultimately ended in the receiving of this label. This the story of my journey where I transformed my great fear of failure into my more beneficial fear of not trying.
A post titled “Fear of Failure” has been in my blog post drafts since last February. The post has never gone live on the blog because I always felt like something was missing. Plus, I had yet to solve my fear of failure, as there was still a constant, nagging voice in the back of my head, repeatedly asking, “why try when you might fail?” Although this fear of failure wasn’t necessarily a large one because I was still able to push through and create the content and do the things the fear was telling me not to; it was big enough that it affected my daily life. The nagging never went away.
This fall, I fell into a toxic headspace for a whole month and once I found my way out of it, I was ready to grow and flourish again. Although I hated how poor my mental health was during October, it gave me some of the most vulnerable pieces of writing I have written to this day. Before then, of course, I had written daily for blog posts, for school, and for myself and had created content weekly, but from October stemmed a deeper and more desperate yearning within myself to create until I couldn’t create anymore.
I had recently recognized that going to the prestigious, residential high school arts school in my state under the creative writing program was more tangible than I had realized before. My life has always revolved around some form of creative writing, and after starting my blog, writing became so integrated into my daily routine I never thought twice about it. Eventually, content creation, not just writing, became what I lived and breathed. To be able to attend my junior and senior year’s of high school at a place where everyone lived and breathed the creative process just as I did sounded like a dream.
One day, more for fun than for actual purpose, I pulled up the application form for the residential arts school. Immediately, my fear of failure came out of its not-so-hidden hole in my brain and began to nag: “You would never get in, your writing isn’t good enough, what if it is good enough but they don’t like it, why even try if you’re going to fail?“
I shut my computer, never to look at the application again.
The very next day, Haley Ivers, one of my favorite inspirational content creators posted something on her story that altered my perspective on the fear of failure forever. It was about turning your fear of failure into a fear of not trying at all.
That’s when a revelation hit me: I would regret my decision to not apply to the arts school way more than I would regret my decision to apply and then proceed to not get in. That very day I began to officially fill out my application.
After sending in my application, I got a callback interview 2 months later. The interview went stellar and was much better than I ever could have hoped for. I was happy and proud of my interview and the work I had submitted for the application. Another 2 months later and I got the results email. I didn’t get in. No residential arts school for me, I will be in the same spot I am now for the rest of high school.
However, becoming an art school reject did not affect me as negatively as I thought it would. Of course, I was upset that the option to attend a school for 2 years that would fulfill all my creative outlets and open doors with incredible opportunities behind them was no longer a reality, but I got something great out of the application process.
I cannot stress enough how grateful I am to have been able to apply and interview for the arts school. It sounds incredibly cheesy, but knowing that I did what I wanted to in my heart, instead of letting my fear of failure get in my way, made the rejection land a little softer. Although in some people’s eyes, failure was ultimately the outcome of my application to arts school, and I would have felt the same way a few months ago.
However, I am no longer scared to try. I am excited to start searching and making opportunities for myself and my content creation, now that I won’t have the arts school to give me a boost up in that realm. I’m not sure how I will implement this or how I will implement my fear of failure vs. fear of not trying rule next, but I’m excited to see where it takes me.
For the rest of this month, I want you to ask yourself: How can I transform the fear of failure into the fear of not trying?
Watch and see how this impacts your life. Maybe you will fail, but I promise it won’t be the end of the world and something good will come out of it, whether it be a lesson or another opportunity. Keep reinstating this rule and eventually success will come to you. Failing is inevitable, but so is regret if you don’t go for your goals and dreams.