Most people (myself included) got the message in elementary school that making mistakes is a bad thing. We were taught to memorize facts and figures, and that only bad things come out of making mistakes (bad grades, failure in life, ect).

But this wasn’t always the case.

In fact, during our formative years, our parents encouraged us to make mistakes galore! We fell down many times before we learned to walk and we made garbled sounds before we said anything audible. We tried, and failed until one day we succeeded.

The fear of making mistakes paralyzes us into living lives that look nothing like the ones we have imagined for ourselves in our heads. It’s at best, a shoddy representation of the desires we have in our heart. We plug away at things we don’t care about because we are afraid that if we go after what we really want, we will fall flat on our face. No one likes falling in public.

But the beauty of life is in the mistakes that we make. Because mistakes are lessons waiting to be learned, and harvested, and turned into a better model of what we were trying to achieve before we fell short.

When I moved to N.Y.C in 2009, I did not have a lot. I only had two friends here, limited connections, and I was terrified of royally screwing up. It was a huge leap that not a lot of people are willing to make, and I felt serious pressure to be successful. So even though I had taken a huge risk by moving here with nada, I did not continue to take risks when I got here. The result was a rough first year in which I barely succeeded at moving myself forward.

I still struggle with the fear of falling publicly, but I refuse to live a life that is not meaningful for me just because I am too scared to try to go after what I really want. It’s a slow process. Just like learning to walk, I know I have to take it one step-at-a-time.

Is fear of making a mistake stopping you from getting where you want to go? How do you deal with it?



  1. Ebone 2 May, 2011 at 09:21 Reply

    You’re right! I moved to NYC with NADA and then became afraid of failing… here i am doing the same thing in ATL. Huge leap followed by fear 🙁
    but when i talked to my mom she doesn’t think I’m a failure. She thinks my life is exciting! I’m not a failure because i’m not making a certain amount of money. I’m successful in life experiences!

    miss you 🙂

    • Amber J. 2 May, 2011 at 10:06 Reply

      You are successful in life experiences! And I think you are fabulous because you realized, and acted on your need to make a change. So many people move to NYC and then get stuck here because they are afraid of what leaving will mean. I admire your courage to keep trying new things in a time when we are all afraid of all the “shoulds” society throws our way. I do miss you though!

  2. Nisha 30 April, 2011 at 21:27 Reply

    I’ve been afraid all my life to step out on a limb. Fear is so paralyzing and depressing. I am still trying to figure out to deal with it.

    • Amber J. 30 April, 2011 at 23:14 Reply

      Fear sucks. But it does serve an important purpose: it lets us know that we care. We wouldn’t be so afraid if we didn’t have an urge to get out there and do fabulous things. Thanks for reading!

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