The Fear of Failure

April 7, 2012
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Once upon a time, a great man once said that no human on the earth is created in perfection. So why are we destined to be perfect or great, or the most pretty or the smartest and if we fail why are we are viewed as a wimp or a frailer? For one thing, this is not just a mentality created in the media, but in our society as a whole; we live in a nation that fears failure. However, some people say the most kind and successful people were once failures, but are we ready for this universal truth. Unfortunately, in our society, children are taught not to fail and if they fail, they do not get rewards. For example, in shows like Toddlers in Tiaras these children are taught that success will win you a trophy or candy at a young age when they fail it is the child fault and not the parents. Are the parents dwelling on the child’s failure or are they the culprits of a corrupt system where failure is not an option? What if failure were a focus of gaining success, instead of a Romanesque game where the winner lives, and the one who loses are stabbed in the chest? What if Diary of a Wimpy Kid were changed to Diary of a Perseverant Boy; would people buy the book? Probably not; but why would they not buy the book with such an honest title.

In this society, we focus too much on the people who are successful, and feel like we are unable to help a person who fails. If you fail, you are funny or amusing; it’s why Seinfeld and Charley Brown seem so humorous, but depressing to people like myself. If I were in a Peanuts cartoon, I would slap Lucy in the face for saying not only terrible things to Charley Brown, but for her so-called Psychology Office in which she gives the most non-positive advice and for lifting the football from him. Yet people laugh when Charley Brown falls down; but let it be known that the creator of the comic strip Charles Schulz, suffered from chronic depression, which was brought on during his childhood. Therefore, the strip is a reflection of all of his childhood fears and failures. Which gives us the question, why would people force others to fail or set themselves up for failure? The answer, too much success and popularity will lead people to hurt those who need help. Reason why is because these people fear their success and popularity will be departed if they help a person deemed a geek or a wimp. Therefore, they do not become successful and popular, they become bullies.

Unlike the media that portrays bullies as having an abusive home life, most of the people who bully others are sometimes the most admired and successful people in the school. It happens in High School all the time; a girl’s hart is broken because of a rumor, a geeky man who got an A on a test is beaten or called names, a football player who does not kick the ball high enough is a wimp. All of these cases are the cause of people being too successful and popular; but it is not just students, it often times is the coach, or the band director, or the teacher that plays favorites or lets it go on. Unfortunately, all of the bulling caused by both students and teachers leads to either suicide or death. When these things happen, all the blame should go to the bully and his or her supporters; but when the procurers of these kinds of acts are targeted, they admit that they did nothing, or they blame the victim. One example of this is kind of behavior is in a scene from the new documentary Bully; when the mother of a bullied child tells the principle that her daughter was tormented by children on the bus the principle act like nothing happened and says, “I been on that bus, those kids are as good as gold!”. This is unfortunate proof that not only bulling occurs in school, but in the adult world as well.

Therefore, what is the true definition of success and how do people obtain it? Most of the mass media says that if you are rich, powerful, get the girl, and own a business you will gain success, and if you do not you will become a failure. In many movies, the villain is often a person who failed at something, which is why the DreamWorks films are popular because many of the characters are either social outcast or failures. However, adversity and using their weakness as strengths, these characters become heroes. However, what about other children’s shows that actually have stereotypes of the so-called evil genius, or the stupid geek, which leads children to believe that smart and geeky people are either evil or dim-witted? On the other hand, shows like FaryOdd Parents, make teenagers evil and portray adults as stupid or senseless moral guardians? Could the media be the result of why there is so much hazing and bulling goes on in schools?

According to many studies all over, television teaches kids behaviors that are not normal for child development and moral conciseness. If you study sociology or psychology, you know about the Bobo Experiment developed by Albert Bandura. In the famous study, he brought in a boy and a girl that were put in separate rooms, each room had the same as the other. Every room had a television, a blown up doll named Bobo, and various shapes of mallets. First, he put in a video of a man using the mallets on the doll in a violent manner and after the view of the video; the children used the mallets to beat up the doll. Then he varied the situation by either rewarding the man or punishing the man when he beat the doll. Even though the experiment was done in the sixties, it paved the way to show that when children see an action, media or social, both have the ability to conform to the norms and actions or they do not. Therefore, children learn their views of failure and success early at three years old, which is why the journal of pediatrics says that children 1-5 should not watch media of any kind.

I wrote this because I too have a fear of failure, which I still struggle with to this day. How do I cope with it, think about how if I did not fail I would not be who I am today; therefore, the ability to fail shapes us and leads us to success. We can all concur the fear to fail, but only if we face our failures with courage and hope. With this, we can lead ourselves to success and if more people abide by this teaching, the fear of failure in our society could become less of an epidemic and failure could now be viewed as a powerful and universal realization that leads to success.

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MarykThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
May 13, 2014 at 12:42 pm
What's up, do you like this essay?
freedom8 said...
Nov. 21, 2013 at 7:38 pm
what date was this article published 
MarykThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Dec. 5, 2013 at 9:00 am
I finally know! April, 7, 2012
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