How Programming Helped Me Learn to Accept Failure

I am a person that hates failure. Ask my parents, ask my teachers, ask my friends, ask my therapist: My fear of failure was an all-consuming, anxiety inducing nightmare.

Did my fear of failure drive me to succeed in almost all of my endeavors? Yes. Was it healthy? No. When I started coding where the mantra was “Fail Early and Fail Often”, I realized that was a mindset that wouldn’t last long.

I began my coding journey with an online python course in the Summer of 2016. While I was grasping the course concepts relatively quickly, I also quickly became very familiar with the “ERROR” message. Every time I added a line, I had somehow managed to make the editor mad. Missing colons, syntax errors, indentation errors, attribute errors, lions, tigers, and bears OH MY! Over the course of 6 hours, I would make at least 100 mistakes trying to make 1 working program.

Now that I’m almost a year into coding, I’m finally beginning to see the difference failing often has had on my approach to life. Yes, I still hate to fail, but I am learning that I can survive it. I can stomach it without falling apart and that is a valuable lesson. For anyone struggling with a fear of failure, I recommend introducing a palpable amount of it into your life everyday. A little failure a day keeps the doctor away!