6.22.2016

How to Move on from Embarrassing Failures

     The second time I went to pump gas independently, I drove home on a still-empty tank.

     Without someone standing over me, watching my every move, I'd somehow not pressed all the right buttons in all the right order. The transaction was cancelled, and I drove home in defeat.


     Usually, I thrive off of beginner's luck.

     I grit my teeth, try something, and voila! it goes perfectly. Whether it's putting a flashlight back together, trying the zip line, or writing a submission to a big website, I can do things well the first time. The flashlight is fixed, I summon enough courage to go down the zip line, or I get accepted with a big "WE LOVE YOUR WORK!"

     For some reason, when I do something a second time, it blows up in my hands. (Don't worry, the flashlight never literally blew up.)

     I get it wrong. I'm awkward. I fumble.

     "But it went so smoothly the first time," I argue with myself.

     But the second day. The second time. The second trial.

     You can imagine how scared I was the second time I drove by myself. Or tried cutting a pineapple. Or went to coffee with a new friend.

     Some people might get superstitious when they recognize a pattern like this. Most of the time, I can continue to be brave and do things a second time.

     I think, "Maybe it was just my overconfidence that blew it for me the second time."

     Even if the first time's the charm for me, the second time should still exist. Even if I don't always find favor in the second run, but I will keep doing, being, trying. So, it sounds cliche, but try, try again.

     I walked into the house, and, in my sweetest voice asked, "Hey, Dad. Could you come help me?"

     I didn't want to be that kid who couldn't do it by herself, but I was. I faced my incompetence and did what needed to be done. (Unfortunately, the car wasn't going to feed itself.)

     But yesterday. Ah, yesterday! I went back a third time and successfully pumped gas without a smidge of help.

     Let's just hope that next time, I can remember which order to press those buttons.

     What scares you away from doing things? How do you conquer fears?

For more on fear:

~Madeline

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Thank you for reading! Also, thank you for making my day brighter with your encouraging words. I cherish each and every comment. If you check back in a day or two, I should have responded to your note. Thanks for dropping me a line!

~Madeline