Image — Breath (The Vertical Works), Anthony McCall (2009)
Soundtrack — Afta-1, Blue
“Fear of failure has become the fear to focus.”
Facing a completely different set of challenges, 2009 was a year lacking conviction. At that point, the state of mind was to not stand for anything but to ride the fence In avoidance of being wrong and as a result the inability to grow. It was in a short anthology of poems titled ‘In the Moment : Date, Time & Location’ that I wrote F.O.F (Fear of Failure).
‘I walk away from the title of potential,
And fall into the bottomless pit
D E S C E N D I N G
Neither sinful nor sinless,
Unable to enter either polarising sanctuaries.
Disowned by success, Enticed by failure
Yet refusing humanities shame of mediocrity
Deemed unworthy, a shadow eludes me until I take a stand.’
– 09 December ’09 | 02:36am | 51.591888 , 0.045113
At its first encounter, failure was rationalised as unsuccessful attempts to reach a specific goal. At its second encounter, failure stands on the extract above, the inability to stand for anything.
Today, failure is impossible, there is no shortcoming that shows no sign of progress, there is an opportunity that demonstrates no insight. At its very worst, failure has generated interest and to some extent given birth to the admiration for ‘Spectacular Failures’.
“To stand for nothing is to fail, to have no conviction is to be invisible.”
What I amongst many others face today, is systemic, a ‘Failure to Focus’ i.e specialise. Gone are the days of singular identities, existing in the black or white, 50 Shades of Grey, made us feel okay with our slightly perverse desires, in fact, proud of our rejection of traditional classifications. However is this to our detriment?
Allow me to extrapolate further, for those on the path to establish themselves as practitioners, thought leaders or specialists there is a point where a decision will need to be made (possibly already made) to fully commit yourself to your craft. What that inevitably forms and demands is an unwavering and unimpeachable desire to succeed no matter the sacrifice. Now, to all the spectators of this commitment, what transpires is the acknowledgement that every single decision and act that is made will impact the entire micro-world in which you have created. Scrambling out of desperation to stay afloat has most likely failed and exhausted you. Working extracurricular-ly as a hobbyist repulses you, yet being fully entrenched and possibly becoming one dimensional in your endeavours petrifies you. Why?
Anonymous : Only doing one thing exposes how much I want to be able to partake in other activities.
CL-Q : Focussing makes your world smaller
Anonymous : I doubt my endurance to commit.
CL-Q : Focussing makes your challenges clearer and unavoidable.
Anonymous : The responsibility and ability to impact my own life so drastically is scary
CL-Q : In effect, this is the last decision and the first decision you have to make to see your passion excel. This isn’t about control it’s about priorities.
With our social concerns expanding as far as our technology, the ability to hone our efforts has diminished, we’ve become less satisfied with our interests and ourselves, unsatisfied with our knowledge and experiences but most importantly unable to define our desires succinctly and possibly fear the reality that we achieve our goals, for the inevitable fact that we will need to extend them.
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In partnership w/ Shades of Noir