You can’t finish without starting

As mentioned, fear of failure causes many people to never get started at all. The key seems to be to push aside your fear by taking action right away. Everyone, including professional athletes, struggle with this, always having doubts about what they can do. Oddly, it seems that small children are much better than older people at trying new things, making friends, taking risks and perhaps learning. Fear of failure is something developed, not something we are born with.

So, make yourself more like a small child, casting worries aside so you are free to make many attempts. In taking skating classes with my daughter, I find she has improved quickly. I want to improve my ability to stop and turn, but perhaps fear of failure is holding me back. I remind myself there is no way to learn new things without taking a risk and getting started doing them. Watching a video or a skating instructor doesn’t help at all, if I am not willing to try new techniques for myself.

In my experience in the classroom, the students who start working right away are the ones who build momentum to finish everything on time. Maybe they are more willing to risk failure by taking action, so they more often succeed. It could also be that they know from experience that the action habit has always resulted in completion of work so that they need not worry. Another thing is that these students check their understanding and get feedback immediately, so they are confident they are on the right track when work is left to finish at home. They make mistakes right away and then get on with learning from them, so they improve.

The next time you are faced with a challenge, force yourself to start right away. Forming the habit of starting things right away, leaves no time for worry. Success comes to students who get things done and this builds confidence to be a quick-starter when faced with future problems. So, get started right away and you will be amazed how much more you get done each day. This naturally increases your belief and desire as you see what you are truly capable of achieving.

How will you show that you have made your best effort to solve a challenging problem? I believe it was the mathematician Paul Erdös, who said, “A problem worthy of attack, shows it’s worth by fighting back”. That is, you will need to struggle with it and this is what leads to growth. Write down all your ideas on paper and continue making as many attempts as needed to solve it. Decide ahead of time that you will never give up and keep taking action until you succeed!

When you are faced with a challenging problem do you get started right away? Do you look forward to making mistakes because you know each one is just an opportunity to improve yourself? Thanks for reading!

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