People say that when we face something we fear, our instinct gives us two choices: fight or flight. Yet, I’m afraid that I am inclined towards a third option. Yes, like our native bird the kakapo (who goes into statue-mode when startled), I am frozen by fear. But no, this does not mean that I am about to be attacked by the giant and might I add extinct Haast eagle (like the kakapo was). Instead, it is the fear of imperfection, the fear of failure that touches me like Elsa’s magic, stopping me dead in my tracks.
How many times have you put something off, giving excuses like: “I’m going to do it tomorrow”, “It’s too late to start now” or my favourite: “I’ll work on it as soon as I’ve finished reading this chapter/watching this episode/playing this game”? I for one, recognise this as part of my daily struggle. Even when I have finally forced myself to sit in front of the desk and resolved to finish my student space by tomorrow (the deadline), all I can do is stare blankly at the even blanker word document. Doubt wiggles into my mind like a horrible worm and I am afraid. Afraid that it will not be good enough, that people will judge me, and that no one will understand what I am trying to say. Therefore, I stop. I freeze.
Most people would do the same, and together, we find something else to do. We continue to put our tasks off but we forget that we are not Suns. The whole world does not revolve around us so that when we stop; it does not mean that time does the same. Quite the opposite, actually. That precious time continues to slip through our fingers, just like sand in an hourglass. And since I don’t think we are wizards with time-turners, those wasted seconds, minutes and hours? They are gone forever.
Once we realise this, we can no longer hold back the guilt that creeps into the mirages of paradise we create for ourselves. It pounces on us, shaking us back to reality. The result? A couple of hours later we circle back to that task, and after forcing ourselves to unfreeze, 9 times out of 10-We rush to finish it in the early hours of the morning.
However, it does not have to be like this. There is a solution.
Instead of freezing, stalling and waiting, fearful of that deep abyss we call failure, and that ugly phrase, “not good enough”-we should resolve to ‘just do it’. In the end, freezing and ignoring the work will not make it go away. Sadly, as much as I have wished, our assignments are not cookies in a jar which will mysteriously disappear when we are not looking. So, if we are going to do things anyway, we might as well do them now and stop freezing ourselves with our anxieties. Sometimes it’s important to realise that trying and failing is better than not having a go at all. Success or failure. In the end, it makes no difference as long as we have done our best, because ultimately, our best is all we can give.
Kakapo or human? Rather than be a frozen victim of our fear of imperfection, fight it off like a woman (or man).
Written By: Elinor Wang. Edited By: Elena Pihera