What if I fail?

I’d be fooling you and myself if I say that I haven’t ever thought of this. This whole ‘what if I fail?’ dilemma. This question haunts me more than any of my worst nightmares, and yet, it still is pretty tangible. So, the task is to write a whole article on the subject. But I’m already thinking what if I fail at writing this article, what if I fail to deliver and add it to the pile of so many things that I’ve failed at. How am I going to know unless I don’t give it a try? And who decides if I’ve actually failed or not?

The seed of this whole doubting business comes for free I tell you. I got it for free. I think you got it for free too. The most common misconception is that it couldn’t be transmitted. It is airborne. I’m telling you. Go within a few feet of a serial doubter and you start doubting the very existence of the word ‘existence’. All the ‘what ifs’ come zooming towards you like a meteor, trust me, dinosaurs had a better chance at survival from where I’m looking. Fear is a contagious entity, unless you’re the one that’s installing it in the person. Let me give you a very generic example but trust me it’s the best one out there. We all remember ‘open day’ at your schools. The day everyone dreads the most. Even after being an average student the horror got hold of my spine and nerves all the time. I always knew I wouldn’t flunk. But, what if I did? Honest submission would be to say that the smiling faces made me all the more edgy. Had it been a superpower I would turn their smiles upside-down with a simple snap of my fingers. Don’t get me wrong now, I’m not paranoid, I like smiling faces as the next happy-go-lucky person would. I just couldn’t bear the smiles when my insides are churning and getting blended into a smoothie.

Fear is good too. It sometimes acts as a positive reinforcement, but that’s for some other species altogether. Well, I obviously thought that being fearful was in my genes. Looking at my parents, I nod, it is. But, of late I think Darwin was a genius. Wondering where it came from? Of late, I think fear is good. Evolution! I’m experiencing that. And now I think fear is sometimes helpful, it makes you aware of the seriousness of a situation. It puts you under pressure and your mind grinds and grinds until you find a way out. You think of a dozen lousy possibilities that can take place. Enter fear, stomach starts hurting, nerves go into a trance and you shake and you sweat. Oh! By the way, the bass that your earphones were missing, your heart is tapping that like nobody’s business right now. And your mind starts to sprint, it runs so hard and so fast that it could make you forget Usain Bolt. You’re exploring all the nooks and creeks of your brain and what is that? That is what we call brainstorming. The only difference is that you’re the only one who is looking at all the perspectives, finding all the viable solutions. It is more of a singular-brainstorming. On a slightly unrelated note, please don’t look it up. I think I just coined up a new term.

Wow! Exhausted? No, right? Me neither. OK, maybe a little, just a tad bit. But, I’m not failing. Not just yet. I’m not failing because I do not want to pile this up and then never look back at it ever. Piling it up with the things that I tried for once and when I didn’t have the hold of it, I thought it ‘wasn’t my cup of tea’. Frankly speaking, it’s the easiest and the most tempting thing to do, isn’t it? Giving reasons, no! They’re not reasons. What I gave were excuses and I convinced myself that they were concrete reasons. I was fooling myself and I knew that I was. What’s the ideal set-up? You try, you get hit, you comes across a road-block and then? This moment, this very moment defines whether or not you will fail. You don’t need a potion or some ‘guru mantra’ for it. I’ve been there, I know what we need. I know what I needed. One word. I lacked ‘will’. And then it becomes a chain reaction. You start losing faith, the ability to trust, your confidence. You start diffusing your ‘zing’ into nothingness.

What it should be like, then? If I subtract all the fancy and laden words then, you must always, always have a buffer of ‘will’. That’s it. The will to get back up and just not on your feet. The will to look around a road-block, like taking a detour. No matter how intimidating it sounds, no matter how crazy it looks. You must push yourself because in the end you’re the only one who can. Because no matter how heavy the traffic on the road is, you have to cross it to get to the other side. What we do is we keep looking (both sides, esp. in India)and start moving, one foot leads and the other follows and then the other leads. Now, I know it’s easier said than done but I also know that it is not impossible. Standing there isn’t going to work, just like sitting on a rocking chair isn’t going to work.

I’d like to believe that we all are given a spark; of hope and of strength, of will and of a fighting spirit. And though we must never let anything or anyone blow it out. I’d want you to know that once blown out, it could be ignited again. I’m not saying that there won’t be failures. I cannot and I will not promise you that. But, I promise you this, you will learn and you will gain, only if you choose what’s less tempting. I have my share of stories. Why should I stop you from making yours? Especially when I know when your story might just rekindle someone else’s spark. Another chain reaction! All you need is a spark. It’s all about little things. A little spark. A little will. To the moon and back.


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