OPINION: This week in my existential crisis: chasing dreams and fear of failure


Emily Gayton | Society Staff Writer |eg006616@ohio.edu

I am about to finish my second year of college. With so much behind me yet so much ahead, I am suspended in a state of polar-opposite fears: the fear of failure and not being enough versus the fear of success.

This week in my existential crisis – something I have blogged about before: Chasing Dreams and Tripping Over my Feats

First, fear of failure. This one is the easier of the two to explain and surely more relatable to the masses.

As a matter of fact, the first time I wrote about this paralyzing feeling, I had no idea that I would go on to sabotage something incredible, despite my consciousness of the possibility. Heck, that only justifies the sheer terror I have now. (Self-fulfilling prophecy? Probably).

Anyway, I am so grateful for the people and other blessings I have in my life. And I am aware that I have an immense amount of privilege – socioeconomic status, education and even the intersection between those two things because of my Scholars’ program.

So maybe I really do have a little wiggle room because of these things, but this is precisely why I worry – because I do not want to fail not just myself, but others. Failure bites in general but there are also so many other factors and people invested in me.

Then the beaming possibility of success looms over me like a hot and blinding interrogation lamp.

Why would one fear success?

Perhaps the fear of success is rooted in my belief in balance. As if I achieve what I strive for, there will be an equally negative reaction. As if, maybe one day, I will have it all and ruin it.

Perhaps I am worried that even if I achieve everything, I will still not be happy. Or that if I run out of goals, I will lack purpose and reason for being. I am not one who can coast without ambition.

But either way, maybe the fear of success is simply an extension of a fear of failure.

Fear of success is a dastardly reason for skirting goals, and if you’re like me, you spend too much time worrying about tripping while chasing your dreams (I like to call that tripping over your feats), but I am working on it. And fear does not stop things from happening anyway.