Thursday, June 6, 2013

On Failure and Risk

So I'm thinking of trying to do something I haven't done in a long time: attempting something before I'm confident that I can do it. It's been a long time since I set myself up to potentially fail at anything significant. I've taken on a lot in my personal, academic, and work life over the past few years, but I've always been completely confident that I could handle it. When I applied to grad school, I was reasonably confident that I would be accepted. I kind of suspect that if I hadn't been as confident, I might not have applied. And I was completely confident that if I did get in, I could sail through the degree (so far I've been right on that one too).

I'm not sure if there's anything in particular that made me so risk-averse. Obviously, nobody likes to fail, but I think I've taken it a little beyond normal. I can't even remember the last time I tried for something and didn't succeed. I never tried out for any sports teams or clubs before I knew I'd make it. I've never asked a girl out without first knowing she'd say yes. I did fail a few classes in my first couple of years of undergrad, as I wrote about before, but I changed programs, found success, and moved on with my life.

I still don't want to fail, but I also don't want to let that fear paralyze me. I don't want to be afraid to take risks. I have to overcome that, or I'll risk missing out on a lot in life. So, with that in mind, I think I'm going to sign up to run the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October.

I've been considering it for a while now. I was thinking that I would try a marathon training routine, and if I could still manage the routine closer to the actual marathon, I would sign up. The problem with that, is that is exactly what I always do. I wait until I'm confident that I won't fail, and then I decide to try. Well, I am not at all confident that I can do this. And that's why I want to commit to it now. It's terrifying, but I think it might be a good terrifying.

It's funny, my ex-girlfriend used to try to convince me to pick up a hobby or a sport. She had this idea that I was always doing what other people wanted to do, and I needed to find something that was mine, and I did because I wanted to. It was while that relationship was crumbling down around me that I got back into running, something that I had been doing sporadically since high school. As things were going badly in my relationship, I used running as a way to balance myself, as an escape from my emotions and a chance to clear my head. I also needed as something in my life that was within my control.

It wasn't the first time that I've used running as an escape when I was experiencing a rough time in my life. However, this was the first time that it stuck. In the past, things had gotten better and I had eventually stopped running. This time, I stuck with it, because I found that even though I was feeling better, I still wanted it in my life. It has become that hobby that I had never wanted.

Now, I'm going to use it to try and improve myself again. I want to succeed at this marathon, and I'm going to train hard to do my best, but even if I fail, I'll still have accomplished one of my goals. I hope that doesn't defeat the purpose.

No comments:

Post a Comment