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I am scared of Failure: Confessions of A Perfectionist

Joined: 10/3/2013
Posts: 5
Everyone has a small fear of failure in them by nature, similar to the almost universal fear of spiders or snakes. No one wants to mess up and feel bad about themselves, just like no one wants to be bitten by a noxious creature. However, just like some people have arachnophobia, my fear of failure is also amplified to an extreme. Along with this terrible phobia, my idea of failure is generally a lot higher than most of my peers, meaning even though they might accept an average outcome, I would probably become quite lachrymose. These two factors lead to a detrimental combination.
My fear of failure shapes who I am, there’s no question about it. I am the girl in school that takes all the AP and weighted classes. I spend hours a night on homework, often sacrificing precious hours of sleep to maintain all A’s in my classes. Occasionally, I get a class that is just a huge struggle, and I may have a 90%, which is one of my worst nightmares; sure it’s an A, but one bad test and my GPA will plummet, at least that is the thought that runs through my head. This, of course, leads to even more hours of work outside of school to ensure that bad test doesn’t happen, and all the extra credit has to be completed just in case. Determination and hard work describe me most, but only because of my fear of failure.
As far as my running in cross country and track go, if I don’t run a new best time every single time I race, I’m disappointed. It could be pouring rain or a heat index of 105 degrees, which normally are perfectly good reasons to run a bit slower than an absolute best. However, in my mind, there is no excuses. I can always think of something I should have done better, whether it be staying with one of my faster teammates during the race, eating healthier foods before I raced, or running faster in previous practices to prepare myself for the race.
As much as I hate to admit to conformity, the pressures of society have made me this way. In order to be successful in life, everyone pushes students to work hard in high school. They must juggle good grades, good behavior, community service, various extracurricular activities. In order to get into college, all of these things will be looked at. When trying to apply for scholarships to actually afford further education, these things are crucial. Then, once in college, students must keep up with classes, work, responsibilities of life out on their own. Once out of college, a career must be found and maintained, along with the possibility of a family. At each of these stages in life, I’m always afraid I won’t be able to handle it, and I’ll ultimately fail. I continue to push myself to extremes now, in hopes I will prepare myself enough to prevent failure.
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