It’s hard to look back at life and say things like, “The greatest thing that ever happened to me was being a complete and utter failure,” but it’s true. I function as an adult today because I was able to survive some pretty big hardships and over come them. A year ago, I probably wouldn’t have been able to recognize that and would have resented anyone that tried to point it out. Now, I look at some of my friends and realize that I’ve gained a lot of strength by the trials I’ve had. I almost worry about some of them because they are starting to get hit with some real issues for the first time, and they can’t handle it.
Growing up means getting your ass kicked by Life
I read an article this morning that blames the parents for not preparing us for life. This is at least partially true, as people that have been coddled their entire life by over protective and demanding parents will eventually have a psychological break and begin murdering women in the shower while dressed as their mother. I don’t blame the parents, though. No matter how overbearing your parents are, if you really want to rebel, you will. It isn’t hovering parents that are holding any of us back, unless, you know you’re one of those Eastern European families where they keep you locked in the basement for your entire life. If that’s the case, leave a comment, and I’ll make sure the rescue workers can get to you.
The real reason we never go out into the world and make the giant mistakes is we’re terrified to. All this time gets spent on talking about how “Generation Y is incapable of competing” because we are the “everybody wins” generation. Part of that is true. We don’t compete because our entire lives have been defined by telling us that there is no reason to. I don’t think that’s what stops us from succeeding, and there is plenty of evidence that we are pretty good at succeeding. I think the lack of competition growing up is what makes us afraid to fail. None of us have ever truly failed, and its created a generation of people completely unwilling to stand on their own because to them, the ideal of failing is about as terrifying as the idea of hell to a 13th Century peasant.
Overcoming the Fear of Failure
I wish I could say there was a magical cure all to solve this problem, except I’ve been pretty down at different points in my life, and I’m still pretty terrified of the prospect of trying and failing. I do know, though, that we can never really face that fear of failing unless we throw ourselves out there. I hate to say it, but with a generation made entirely of cowards, it becomes really easy to stand out in the crowd and get ahead by merit of being the only one willing to push harder. Ask Mark Zuckerberg. He isn’t successful because he’s better than any of his piers, he’s successful because he wasn’t afraid to smash their faces into the pavement and follow it up with a two-tap elbow drop… metaphorically speaking of course. Now that they’ve been smashed, though, his piers are willing to shove elbows, too, and they’re going after the Generation Y Nerd King. Why, because not kicking his ass has suddenly become a lot scarier prospect than getting shoved down again.
They’ve been there, done that.
Life in Our World
I’m about to say something that is going to scare the piss out of a lot of you. Right now, at this very moment, my generation is beginning to take over the entire planet. Yep, as the largest living Generation ever, we’ve already have replaced the Baby Boomers as the market darlings, and as more and more of us enter the work force as a generation that makes more money on average than our parents, we’ll take control of more markets. Right now, political candidates have already begun pandering to us, and it is commonly accepted that the 18-24 vote was responsible for Obama’s election in 2008. Within the next few years, our generation will start to move into political office and begin being the government.
How horrible is it to think about living in a world run by people who don’t believe in trying? I have nightmares.
Making an Oath
It doesn’t behoove me to sit here complaining about the fear of failure without trying to do something about it, so I’m going to take a pledge:
I solemnly swear that I will fail. I will continue to fail at something for the rest of my life. I will encourage others to fail and fail often, for when we all fail, the only thing left is win.