Preventing Failure

I’m currently reading and working through Benjamine Sledge’s book about depression “Dwarf Planet”, and it said to share what I feel are the reasons behind why my depression keeps me from doing things. I want to focus on my mindset that I’m destined, and terrified, to fail.
Because I feel like I’m destined to fail, I don’t try my best. If I feel I can’t be good enough at, or one of the best at, something, I purposely don’t try to succeed in order to prevent myself from failing. A good, oddly specific example of this is last year, when in my class I was assigned to sketch/draw several pictures for various topic, and share one of choice with the class. I had drawn two images. One was a thoughtful, effortful sketch of a hand with vines and leaves flowing out of the fingertips, and one was a quick sketch of a measuring tape. I shared the measuring tape image with the class, with the mentality that they couldn’t judge me if I didn’t try. That if they critiqued me, it wouldnt matter because I didn’t try my best anyways. Does anyone else do this?
Just to disclaim: I do see a therapist, and am soon going to see a dietitian for my eating disorder that also stems from my natural feeling of being less than others and set up for failure. I’d really like to know if anyone can relate to these feelings. I feel like I am alone in not trying my best because I’m afraid to fail. I know the mindset is wrong, but it is so hard to shift it. Thank you for your time.

What you’re going through sounds really rough. I’m sorry you feel this way, something i’d suggest is starting a social media page for your hobby. Whether you enjoy drawing, writing, music, etc. and update it regularly. Update it regularly, its rewarding and reassuring to see your progress over time. That is something I personally still do to this day, it has helped me a lot.


Hey @Lights_sounds97,

To answer your question, yes, I can relate. My latest battle has been fighting the thoughts in my head saying that I’m destined to fall/fail, therefore I should be terrified of it and my future. One mindset I’ve tried to keep is to focus on the present (maybe a little bit into the future), but I get into a lot of trouble if I focus too far into the future, resulting in a rapid increase in anxiety. I’m not sure if you’re struggling with the exact same thing, but it sounds like it might be similar, which is why I brought it up. Maybe try to harness focusing on the present and doing the best at whatever is currently in front of you. By doing this, you’ll slowly but surely work your way up to success.


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Lights. I’m really glad to hear you’re working through the book. It has really helped me so far and I’m not crazy far into it. You are not destined to fail in anything. We can all relate to these feelings at some point in our life and you’re not alone. Keep talking to your therapist and keep reaching out. Well done for working through all of this and fighting.




Dood, I’m right there with you. I have always had a problem putting forth my best effort with anything I do because, just like you, people can’t judge me on my best efforts and therefore I wont get hurt. For me, I remember a distinct moment in grade school (3rd) there was a girl in class who could draw. Before that I was considered the best artist in class, then she showed up. Someone said “She’s better than you” and I took that so hard. And I think it’s stuck with me ever since. I never like to try at games, I get anxious when put on the spot to do something ‘cool’ or to show off, I usually let myself do half-as-much effort with things for that very reason, my best can’t be judged anymore.
Something that I’ve been listening to has given me a bit of a different outlook, and this is going to sound SUPER DUMB but hear me out. I’ll post the link in case you are curious:
(It’s about 35 min long but worth it)

Basically, it’s Arnold’s graduation speech. Particularly around the 10 min mark he discusses failure. He’s got some motivating things to say about failing and I’ve been trying to bring those ideas into my own life.
So yeah, I know what you’re going through. Been there. Can I say it gets better? Yes. If you decide to put yourself out there, people will notice. BUT it should be about you, not them. Are you happy with it? How can you improve? These are ways I’ve been trying to go about it. You will always be your worst critic, no doubt.
Hang in there, my friend. I’m rooting for you.