I like to equate fear to being like a sheet of ice, the more fear you have the more cracks that develop and you eventually fall through. Now when you combine fear and failure together then you get a quickly melting sheet of ice. Recently I have noticed an uptick in conversations regarding fear and failure and it makes me think:
What is an ok amount of fear?
How about fear of failure?
Where does that stand in education, in life, no matter the age?
I don’t think I can really answer what an ok amount of fear is, but I do believe that fear is something that can help a person reflect and measure if an appropriate action is positive. We have students and teachers who come to school with a lot of fear, and hang back from pursuing questions, creating something new, collaborating with partners because they fear the unknown. This quote made me stop and think
often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus hang back for no good reason
We need to help students and teachers to understand what actionable fear is. How can they take their fear and act on it to make themselves better? How can we take a fear of something, like speaking with others, and turn it into a positive? We must unlock the potential in each of our students and ourselves if we want a better future. Imagine if we wouldn’t take chances, step over those cracks in the ice because we were frightened. What would our world look like?
Fear of failure seems to be something I’ve seen too much of recently. Specifically when teachers have a difficult time letting go of what test scores might be, what students might make, what stories they might tell. We can’t control everything, nor should we. What we can control equates to what we, ourselves, can create.
There was a great article in the Harvard Business Review on Creative Confidence that encourages us to bring back our creativity. John Spencer also posted a video on Creativity that is a must watch for all educators. We need creativity, but more importantly our kids need opportunities to be creative and not fearful of what others think, but open to feedback to increase creativity.