Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Fear of failure or fear of success...

I did a pre-dan grading course on Saturday to find out if I'm definitely ready for this black belt grading on June 12th. I have written my main report about this on my other blog: Pre-dan grading course - a dose of reality! but there are a few extra things that came out of it that I want to discuss here.

What do I fear most failure or success?

I don't actually fear failure. If I fail and I can see good reason for it then I could accept that with good grace. In fact I would be one of the first people to feel disgruntled if people were passing  when they didn't deserve it as this diminishes the success of those that do deserve to pass. I don't want to fail obviously but I don't fear what failure would do to me - as long as I could see it was fair. I would just train for longer and try again - I wouldn't quit.

What about success? We all want success in our black belt grading but does it always sit comfortably? People often feel unworthy of their black belt, worried about the expectations that may be placed on them or worried that they may not live up to people's expectations of a 'black belt'. I'm not particularly worried that I may feel like this. If I feel that I've really earned a black belt then I hope I will feel proud to wear it.

But there lies the rub....What I really fear is that success may feel like failure; that the experience of grading will be so bruising emotionally that I won't be able to enjoy my success. I want my grading to feel like a positive experience - Physically shattering, yes! Mentally draining, yes! But emotionally battering, no! I don't want my black belt to be a constant reminder of a negative experience. Why should I fear this? Well because I know it has happened to someone close to me. Someone who never really came to terms with his black belt because of the experience gone through to obtain it and he no longer practices that martial art. Don't get me wrong, he is a mentally strong and resilient person and he was physically capable of performing the art but those emotions just creep up on you in unexpected ways and can leave scars that last for years. I don't want my karate to be tainted in this way.

Forewarned is forearmed! My pre-dan grading course has made me realise that I am susceptible to emotional pressure - that I can become negative and stressed way too easily. I need to deal with now. I need to change my perception of the grading - knock it off its grand pedestal and realise it's just another grading, another step of the journey completed. I need to get my head in the right place and go into the grading with a positive spirit and a realistic expectation of my ability. A pass, whatever the mark will be a worthy pass and should feel like success.

What do you fear most success or failure?


  1. When you feel an emotion, name it. When you start to hear that inner voice, the monkey chatter, begin say, "STOP!"

    Let the emotion by itself pass, it will do so quickly. Leave the story in the bucket, out of mind.

    Remain focused on mindful awareness of the present moment and remain steadfast.

    It is that story, if you allow it, that will cause you mental concern, stop it before it can... I hear your capability/ability in your written voice and know it exists and will prevail ... that is fact; that is truth; believe it!

  2. Hi Charles, as usual - good advice. Thank you

  3. Great post. Very thought provoking. I think you have the ability to control how the experience goes emotionally for you. Not many people are as self aware as you are on this matter. Managing your expectations and your outlook should hold you in good stead.

    You've learned a valuable skill on your journey. We control more than we realize sometimes. You have the power to have the same set of circumstances result in very different experience.

    Keep being positive.

  4. Thanks Journeyman. I am feeling a lot more positive about the whole thing again and have a much clearer idea of how I'm going to approach the grading now.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.