I teach English at a Japanese university. In my classes I constantly try to reassure my students not to worry about making mistakes when trying to use English. Of course, this is easier said than done! I know this from my own efforts to use the Japanese language. There is a worry that takes over when your try to say something that you are not quite sure how to say. This worry can even venture in to the realm of mild fear because ‘making a mistake’ is embarrassing – nobody likes making mistakes. One possible consequence is that we avoid the attempt altogether.
Why am I sharing this anecdote? The reason is because I made several mistakes this week! I not only fell off my no sugar wagon, I fell off it a few times. As a result, I did not want to write this post. I did not want to admit to making a mistake, publically. What will people think? Will I look weak, and not serious about my quest? Even though I know that very few people are really paying that much attention to my little experiment, writing about it makes it real. The act of publishing my ‘failure’ is not something I want to do. It makes me feel like just throwing in the towel completely – I didn’t do what I set out to do so what’s the point in continuing? As I mulled this over for a couple of days, my thoughts started to shift. I realized that I was leaning towards the humorous adaptation of this post’s title: ‘If at first you don’t succeed, give up’! When I thought about this option, making the mistake did not seem such a bad thing. I don’t want to give up. Of course, I don’t want to admit to failing so soon, but I am thinking about it differently. The ‘fear’ of making a public fool of myself is not so strong. If anything, I want to prove (to myself more than anyone out there) that I can do this. I can get back on track, and still make it to the end of the semester in control of my sugar intake.
So, as I write the final sentences of this post, I feel better about my failure. I’m not worried about what others may think about it, and this is a big step for me. Huge actually. I am beginning to truly understand something that I heard Will Smith say in a video clip that I saw on Facebook this week:
The point of maximum danger is the point of minimum fear
– Will Smith Will Smith on ‘fear’
I can happily share my mistake because I no longer see it as a mistake or a weakness. Continuing with my quest (with a slight hiccup) is a much better option than quitting, writing about it is giving me clarity and sharing it is certainly nothing to be fearful of. ‘Try, try again’ is how I choose to complete the title of this post.