8 Freakouts It's Totally OK to Have in Your Early 20s

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8. “I feel like a total failure.”

A lot of us were brought up in the age of “participation trophies” and motivational speeches: “You can do anything in life if you try hard enough!” we were told. Well, confidence is great and all, but never getting acquainted with failure isn’t much help.

I value doing the best that I can, but sometimes that’s going to result in failure too—at least at first.

Personally, I thought of “failure” as something to be avoided at all costs. But now I’ve learned the hard way. In the past few months, I’ve probably failed more times than I have in my entire life—really, I have. My writing often has more of my editors’ words than my own. I had to retake a personal training certification test because I was so overwhelmed with trying to find a full-time job that I couldn’t fit in all my studying. I decided, after committing, not to go to grad school and to get a full-time job instead (this might not necessarily be a failure, but in a way, it felt like one).

Sure, failing sucks, but now I’m no longer terrified of it. I value doing the best that I can, but sometimes that’s going to result in failure too—at least at first. When you stop being so scared of it, you realize you actually have nothing to lose but your own pride (and take it from someone who’s now put it all out there—it’s really not that scary.)



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