Why do we fear failing?

A group of ten brave souls zooming in from Africa, the UK, Germany and America opened up about a difficult subject: Failure.   First up, given the geo distribution - do cultural differences impact attitudes? Are Americans more willing to admit failure to learn on the road to success? And why is failure such a black mark in South Africa, such that no-one admits to it? Perhaps age is also factor. Less developed younger brains, said one guest, fear failure's consequences less and so take more risks. Cue example, young soldiers and their keenness to sign up for the front line. At the same time, more experienced folks might knowingly reflect 'what's the worst that can happen?’ and try something new.  

Regardless, the idea of having a 'meta voice', assembled from those closest to us, either preventing us from taking risks, or urging us on, generated nodding heads round the virtual table.  If the voice is toxic, growth is measured by being able to walk away, creating a new internal monologue built by the voices of more encouraging companions. How about failing in the eyes of society’s versus our own expectations? If it’s our own voices that are often the harshest, blocking progress maybe it’s a case of changing the expectation goalposts. "I cannot remember the last time I failed, is that a good thing?" one refreshingly questioned, prompting another to wonder whether their appetite for risk was large enough. Note to self, take inspiration from an American living in London - be a bit nervous about something every day. 

Memories on our Instagram here. Looking forward to next week, spots available here

Things that also came up

Book (or podcast): How To Fail - Elizabeth Day

Book The Artist's Way - Julia Cameron

Documentary: Free Solo


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