I am not afraid to fail, but its NOT good

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Adults Getting Things Done I am not afraid to fail, but its NOT good

Viewing 3 reply threads
  • Author
    • #192785

      Hi all,
      so when googling, it seems like people only have a problem with “fear of failure preventing them from trying”.
      Well, im well over that. I used to be scared of failure too, but then I got over it and jumped in… and I failed. And did it again… and again etc.

      And I dont take some “easy out” to save face and resources and time. The best example I think is when I was trying a sales job with no salary – only % of sales.
      And when things (as ALWAYS, for no apparent reason) started to go south, I could not motivate myself anymore, I pushed on. I did go to the office, I did not pretend to be sick. I sat there in that chair, with no recourse, no distraction and “did my job”. But I didnt.

      I basically stared at the wall and faked activity. All of my fake activities were “not interested” of course – so I litterally made no money, there was no point to it. I was just doing it so that next day I had another chance to make it right! I was not going to quit!! And I did this for months… Until I ran out of money and litterally had to quit and find a normal job to not become homeless.

      I burned through all my savings, looked like a crazy person in front of everyone… because I was determined. But it did not help. There seems to be no reward or threat (or both at the same time) big enough to make me do my job. And btw. it was not about skill and actually “failing” – I had a vision and plan to make the sales thing work. I prepared daily, I wrote dozens of scripts, I studied books, I practiced… I was good – my manager though I would be a millionaire by the end of the year. haha.

      So what gives? what else is there for motivation, besides having a shiny dream future if you succeed… and terrible abyss if you fail. If I had a litteral gun to my head over those months, I honestly dont think it would change anything. I would be dead 😀

      Thank you for reading.

      • This topic was modified 12 months ago by petrjfnovak.
    • #192812
      Penny Williams

      The key is to find things you are truly interested in. Then motivation comes naturally.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach, Podcaster & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #192839

      I don’t really like the word “motivation” since it is a very convoluted term. This has nothing to do with “motivation” or “fear of failure” in the way society (most of whom are neurotypical) refer to them. In a sense, there are really 2 types of “motivation” —— motivation produced by the release of dopamine into the brain and the motivation produced by deep personal drive and desire.

      ADHD brains have interest-based nervous systems. Interest is what “motivates” us neurologically. It is a snap “moment of interest” that produces a release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter in the brain that “motivates” a person to take action.

      I am ADD (and arguably slightly OCD, ha). If open my desk drawer to get a stapler and I notice how messy the drawer is. That snap moment of *interest* in what I saw triggers a dopamine release that motivates me to act…..Furthermore (whole different issue that may or may not be relevant to you), if I am not good about managing my ADD’s interest-based nervous system, I will act the way my mind/body just motivated me to act, and I will go for it, organize my drawer, possibly my entire office, and likely never staple whatever needed to be stapled

      Personally, I don’t like making phone calls, but I enjoy phone CONVERSATIONS. Important distinction. Phone calls (once I dial) are conversations. Conversations usually interest me. Thus, it triggers a dopamine release.

      That dopamine release motivates me into action—to keep the conversation going —and gives me energy and momentum to build on so I can typically move forward with the next task, particularly if it is a task in some way related to the call.

      Neurotypicals have more dopamine and they have a reward-based nervous system. They get their dopamine release when they imagine the the “reward” (the feeling that comes with the completion of the phone call). We both desire the same thing, but we are **motivated** into action in different ways.

      My guess is that during those months there was a lack of those *moments* of interest… those moments interest that trigger a dopamine release, and “motivate” you to literally pick up the phone, make the call, get that dopamine “hit” and roll from there.

      My guess is that you weren’t afraid of failure either, because you are *able to of doing each specific task required of you. However, over time you likely developed anxiety/fear of failing to *execute your tasks, since each day you did not. Frankly, seems logical. Unfortunately, that would make it almost impossible to get yourself to pick up the phone.

      Regarding “motivation” in the other sense? Well, you clearly don’t lack that. Who wake up every morning, for months, ready and hopeful for a great work day, despite having failed each day prior? A really motivated person.

      Does this resonate?

      I’m curious because, if so, I’ve been there.

    • #192847

      Hi Hannah, thank you for the thoughtful response.

      Yes, I believe that must be a part of it. I was definitely anxious to fail “in the moment”, not overal. In the specific case of sales calls, I was more “afraid” of hearing rejection again, then actually failing and making no money – so I accepted the later without having to go through the former, probably because I already “knew” I would fail anyway – even though at the same time I knew this was not true, given I made enough calls. (I had some results, actually it was not a bad percentage, if I amped up the number of calls overall – so I knew that if I just did more of the same, it would actually work.) So in this case, fear of rejection overruled the “comfortable” quiet failing of having no money.

      However, this is but one example. I had the same thing happen in my previous job, where I did not have to face rejection and did not even have to make many calls. And in my current job, I dont have to make calls at all, yet I still cant force myself to do things properly at times. I guess in these cases, its more about it not being interesting enough + me getting distracted by something. Its the same result, but a different core problem every time I guess… But I wonder how to break through it. I cant even keep a hobby. Even with things I know I like, I just drop them overtime. I feel like im just putting it off this one time, but then it turns into a year or two. Litteral hobbies – like horse riding for instance. I just dropped it, for no reason. I know I want to do it again, but its just “not enough” of a dopamine kick anymore?

      This was true for me even with super addictive things – I used to play MMORPG World of Warcraft for many years. But I could never actually establish a routine and play for more than 3 months. I took a break for half a year, my progress lost all value… and so on. Even in the virtual world I had the same problem, lack of sustained effort making me fall behind people who were much “worse” then me during the time I was active…

      Edit: also, what do I do? If I am indeed motivated (because every day I force myself to be hopeful despite all odds and try again) but end up messing up – how do I “fix” it? I thought about jumping from project to project to stay motivated – but honestly, 2-3 months are not enough for anything important 🙁

      • This reply was modified 12 months ago by petrjfnovak.
Viewing 3 reply threads

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.