#9 Neophilia and the Fear of Failure

A few weeks ago I was browsing through the internet and I came by the term “Neophile” or “Neophilia”.

Neophilia is the love/enthusiasm/obsession for what is new and novel, and it made me laugh reading about it as it was so relatable:

  • The ability to rapidly adapt to extreme change.
  • A distaste or downright loathing of Repetition, Routine, and Tradition.
  • A tendency to become bored quickly with old things.
  • A desire, bordering on obsession in some cases, to experience novelty.
  • A corresponding and related desire to create novelty by creating or achieving something and/or by stirring social or other forms of unrest.
  • A complete objection to or distrust of commitment.

Fears and Obsessions

“Philes” , (which is the suffix given to show that a person has a dear love or passion for the thing), and “Phobias”, fascinate me as I suppose I can relate to the people in the sense that they too are obsessed with things – either positively or negatively. I suppose you could say that I am obsessed with obsessions.

Obsession is a common symptom of ADHD, (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

I suppose that what fascinates me about these life-long obsessions is the brains dedication to the topic. My obsessions are usually short lived. I find something that interests/excites/stimulates me and then I spend every second either thinking about or doing that thing until one day something else takes over and that thing is forgotten about forever. To name but a few:

Juggling

Hypnotism

Gym

Arabic Language

I think that the reason for these short-lived obsessions is that they usually involve some sort of skill or challenge, ie some sort of mental stimulation and reward which addicts and a lot of people with ADHD search for:

  • With Juggling as soon as I managed to juggle 5 balls I lost all interest.
  • With hypnotism – as soon as I successfully hypnotised someone, (story at the bottom of the post), I lost interest and moved on.
  • With the gym and running, (natural Endorphin stimulators), I repeatedly trained myself until injury, injuring my shoulder, slipping 2 disks in my back and injuring my knees from running up and down hills. The gym cannot be, “completed”, you cannot, “win”, the gym and so it makes perfect sense that I chased this high as hard as possible – just like all the other drugs.

Even though I knew what he was saying was true, and that as well as learning Modern Standard Arabic, (the Arabic that is taught in schools and written in the Quran), you must learn a dialect to be able to communicate with people from each individual country.

I felt so deflated that I quit that day and haven’t looked back since. In my head I had, “failed”.

The Fear of Failure

During my time away I spent a lot of time thinking about the reasons for why I am the way I am, as well as the things that hold me back or still play on my mind so that I could release this all, so that when I arrived back in Barcelona I would be ready to lead the life I have always wanted, to work for myself and to only do things I enjoy.

I came to a lot of realisations, and one of these that I think a lot of people will relate to, is that I have an unhealthy and unnatural fear of failure.

The fear of failure has held me back all my life, it has stopped me from achieving my potential, first at school, and then professionally. I entered into jobs I had no interest whatsoever in, because I was scared of failing if I went solo – and launched a business which didn’t work out.

This fear isn’t a rational fear such as fearing that your business will fail and you will be in debt – this doesn’t bother me whatsoever – it is the fear that I will fail and then never try again.

Throughout my whole academic career I had never tried at anything at all. I put in the bare minimum effort to get what I needed and that was it. People were constantly telling me how smart I was and how much potential I had, so what did I have to prove? I thought that if I tried at something and didn’t get the highest marks, then it would mean that I had failed, and I was no longer smart. Looking back at it now it is clear that it makes no sense at all.

The Biggest Failure of My Life

This all culminated in, “The Biggest Failure of My Life”, which had been holding me back for 3 years and preventing me from backing myself to try something different, and do what I actually like – such as writing and creating projects/ business ideas.

I feel ridiculous even as I write this, as once I came to terms with it, I felt like such a weight had been lifted from my shoulders – and I felt like such a fool.

In my final year at University I opted to do a Dissertation/Thesis and I decided to myself that I would actually try my hardest at this and put in all my effort – as it would be a topic I chose, and a topic that interested me.

After however many meetings, sitting and brainstorming with my tutor, the deadline was coming and I decided to stop drinking, stop taking drugs and spend 2 weeks solidly writing this dissertation. This time sober was probably the longest time I had been without alcohol or drugs since I was about 14 and so it was a big deal for me.

I really enjoyed writing my dissertation, and the time sober, and I had come to the conclusion that if I had always achieved good marks without putting any effort in then logically, I would HAVE to achieve REALLY high marks if I put effort in.

When we went to collect our results I almost broke down in tears. I had received a First – but it was a LOW first. It didn’t matter to me that I was the only person that had got a First, or the praise and criticisms from my tutor – of which all were completely valid, what mattered to me was the number on the paper.

FAILURE

Everyone else was over the moon with their results, and I was trying to contain myself – I felt so ashamed with myself. People could see that I was on the verge of tears but no-one could understand why I would be upset and so I left.

I vowed that I would never try at anything again – because I never wanted to have this emotion and feel this feeling of utter failure again in my life. I never went back to the University and didn´t even go to my graduation to get my degree. To this day I still don’t have my degree. To me it all meant nothing because in my head I had failed.

When I started thinking through all of this – and saying it aloud to some friends that I had met – it all became so clear and so obvious. This is an absolutely ridiculous attitude, and not a healthy way to live.

I started thinking to myself about why I felt this huge fear of failure, where this immense pressure to achieve comes from. My parents/family have never pressured me or burdened me with anything, they have always supported me and left me to make my own choices. This pressure comes from within.

The Pressure to Achieve / The Pressure to Win

The pressure or desire to achieve is obviously a positive thing, but failure should not be feared – it should be welcomed. I realised that if you constantly achieve what you set out to do then you learn next to nothing along the way.

Failure teaches us what we need to avoid and allows us to fine-tune our skills.

OBVIOUSLY I wasn’t going to achieve the marks that I desired in my Thesis when I had never studied or properly researched things before. All of my tutors´ criticisms were completely true – and I learned from them all.

The Fear of Sounding Stupid

A more recent example of this was my fear of speaking in foreign languages, (weird I know – seeing as I have spent the past 10 years studying languages). This had always held me back and caused me to progress a lot slower as I HATED speaking – in case I made a mistake or said something that wasn’t 100% grammatically perfect.

This always caused me to be a different version of myself and more reserved and introverted, as I preferred to listen to conversations instead of involving myself – the opposite of what I am like in English and very uncharacteristic of someone with ADHD.

It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I was speaking with the Spanish wife of an English man. We were a group of 10/12 and all of us were English, and speaking quickly, debating etc. I thought it was so courageous of her to be there with us all, and to be involving herself as much as possible. Her English was amazing of course, but I still thought it was so admirable.

On the 3rd day I was speaking to her in English and I said that I have this fear of sounding stupid and so she challenged me to speak to her in Spanish. Once she challenged me to do this, it was literally like a mental block was in place and I couldn’t access that part of my brain, (at first I couldn’t even get a single word out), but I really fought through this and started speaking with her.

She told me that my grammar was perfect and that I didn’t speak with an English accent. This was literally all that I needed to hear, and the mental block vanished. From that moment on I have been totally comfortable talking with people.

I have lots of Spanish speaking friends who I speak with all the time and who have told me this before, but I was always held back because of this fear and it made me feel uncomfortable.  

We have to be willing to accept the positive things that our friends tell us about ourselves, even when our insecurities are telling us that they´re not true.

Insecurities Hold Us Back

The point that I am trying to make from all of this, is that our brains and our insecurities put these mental blocks or restrictions upon ourselves and hold us back. Everyone has insecurities, which when spoken aloud, are almost always unjustified.

I am too ugly, I am not smart enough, I look stupid etc. are all the common ones  – but none of them make any sense.

Once you realise that your insecurities are often the only things that are holding you back you can start to work on them and overcome them. This is the only way to be able to live a care-free life.

Push Yourself Out Of Your Comfort Zone

You need to challenge yourself and push yourself out of your comfort zone in order to face your insecurities head on. It is the only way that we can have a chance of overcoming them.

This week I wanted to challenge myself and put myself in what, for me, was an incredibly uncomfortable position. I went to a poetry/ storytelling night and did a 10 minute piece just to explain about ADHD, my life, my problems and the work that I am doing now to try and help people.

It was the 3rd most uncomfortable situation of my life, (after looking after a child, and singing at an open mic), but afterwards everyone told me how at ease and comfortable I looked. This proved to me that this fear and insecurity was literally all in my head.

I have also entered a Poetry Slam competition where I will have to learn and perform 2 poems that I have written and so I am nervous but also excited to complete this challenge.

 Self Analysis and Introspection

For me it took a lot of time and practice to be able to start self-analysing and trying to find the roots and causes for all of my issues. Some people are far more in-tune with themselves and get so overwhelmed by their feelings and emotions, as they don’t know how to deal with them.

Sadly a lot of people are in complete denial that they have any problems or issues and refuse to open up and try and sort themselves out.

Upcoming Plans

I am planning to start a Podcast and then alongside this a Youtube Channel with some Vlogs and short videos about different topics, but this is something that makes me feel uncomfortable and so I had been putting it off.

I had also been putting off, (and making excuses to myself), about making my Documentary about the Amazon – as I was worried that I would never create something that I was happy with. I am not a professional and so it will not be a professional Documentary – OBVIOUSLY!!!

Since the start of the blog, lots of people have been asking me to do Vlogs as it is much easier to follow, and a lot of people don’t have the time for long blog posts, however, I kept putting this off as  wellI HATE being filmed, I HATE taking photos, and I hate having to use Social Media to promote my page.

My motivation to go and do the storytelling/poetry and put myself right in the limelight in a much more uncomfortable position, and just get over this hatred/fear, is the pleasure I get from helping people who are struggling with similar issues such as ADHD and addiction.

Every day I have people from around the world messaging, asking for help and advice and I like to be able to just listen or just give my personal experience on the situation.

The Comfort of Speaking With a Stranger About Your Problems

People gain a great comfort from speaking to a stranger, and for a lot of people, admitting the problem to a stranger on the internet is the stage before going to a Therapist or seeking help.   

Anyway all of this is to come and more so please Like, Share, Tell your friends etc. as much as possible. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing then a simple like of my Facebook page is enough.

I have also joined a network called the School of Life which is an invite only community of curious and interesting people who share and discuss all sorts of topics. I would recommend checking it out, (I am not a paid sponsor). Here is the link to download the School of Life app

Curiositividad – The Social Experiment

One of the nice letters that I have already received back

Please also check out my new Social Experiment called Curiositividad where I have been sending letters to people all around the world to re-ignite the art of letter writing and spark peoples creativity. It will be a really cool project and is the opportunity to be part of something different so check out the page and sign up!  

LIKE, SHARE, TELL FRIENDS

If you would like to contact me you can contact on any of the methods below and I will always reply. Comments, Criticisms, Questions and Suggestions are all welcome.

The Quest For Wisdom Facebook Page

@TheQuestForWisdom

Conorsquestforwisdom@gmail.com

Donations

Obviously maintaining a blog is costly and time consuming and I have great plans coming up, such as Podcasts with different guests, Vlogs, and an active Youtube channel.

Any donations would be graciously received via my Patreon account

The Hypnotism Story

I had been studying hypnosis, different methods of hypnotising people and all about the effects and benefits of hypnosis. I finally reached a stage where I thought I would be able to actually do this using the pattern break method.

Two friends had come to visit me at University and we went on a night out to a club. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to practise the hypnosis.

I used one of the many pattern break methods to hypnotise my friend at the bar. During hypnosis you can make people freeze and unable to move. I made her put her hands on the bar and then me and my other friend got up and walked off. She was stuck in that position with her head down and her hands on the bar and we watched from a distance and laughed.

When I went back to wake her up and snap her out of it she said it was the weirdest experience of her life. I decided it probably wasn´t a great idea to go around hypnotising people for fun, and so when I tried it on a flatmate and it didnt work I happily gave up.

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