In 2011 I came accross 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind I was very intrigued by the questions and decided to start answering them on my blog. I only actually answered the 1st three before abandoning the project but it’s something I’ve wanted to restart for a while. Having just decided to restart I chose to answer the questions I did before as well as the others but I didn’t read what I wrote in 2011 until after I finished writing this.
WHICH IS WORSE: FAILING OR NEVER TRYING
For the most part I’d say never trying is worse than failing. I’ve done many things that I’ve found difficult. I’ve done many things that people have said I’d never be able to do. And sometimes after never being able to do something I’ve finally figured it out.
I love wearing my hair in two plaits. But up until a couple of weeks ago I could never plait my hair. I don’t know why I couldn’t do it. And I don’t know what changed but one Wednesday night I thought “i wish I could plait my hair” and started playing with it and something obviously clicked because I managed it. It’s not easy. It gets messy and I often have to redo it a few times before I get it right (in fact I often have to redo it so many times I give up and revert to a ponytail or something else) but it’s something ticked off the list.
If I never did something because I was worried about failing I’d have never achieved anything in my life. One thing about being disabled is that a lot of people have very low expectations of you. Lower than they should in my opinion. I’ve proved many people wrong. Sometimes it’s been a mistake but other times it’s worked. The times when it’s worked can be divided into “yeah I probably shouldn’t try that again cos it worked but was sorta dodgy” and “yup that can be done again”.
Others who don’t really understand disability may have unrealistically high expectations of what you should be able to do if only you would try. That’s something I’ve experienced but as someone who has always been disabled in a way that is very obvious (wheelchair user) I suspect I get this less often than those who have less visible and/or more recent disabilities.
I might on a very good day be able to do a bit of walking. I’m talking maybe 5 metres. But that doesn’t mean I should always try to do it. Because it takes a lot of my energy and it causes pain. Because I have little balance and can’t manage to do things if I’m not in my wheelchair (my wheelchair being better than a regular chair because it’s very supportive and set right for me). So many people would probably see it as worth it to walk and get to go to a place my wheels won’t go. But if doing so means I don’t enjoy what I’m doing because I’ve used so much energy. Or if worse it means I can’t manage to do things like make food later it’s not worth it.
So, yes. I think it’s better to fail than to never try. But at the same time I think it’s very important to recognise when the cost of trying may be too. much.
It’s a boundary that for me is ever changing and I’m still learning about. I’m not sure I’ll ever pin it down fully. I get it wrong a lot but that’s ok. I view it as something like a tightrope. I’m trying to balance on it and not hurt myself but sometimes by putting so much focus on getting it right I might make it harder for myself or miss out on things that I wouldn’t if I didn’t just relax and enjoy the experience.
Having written this I just went back and read my answer from 2011. The answers are basically the same but it would seem my attitude to the possibility of not trying has changed and I’m more open to that idea. Possibly because I’m more aware of the possibility of getting hurt and the problems that can cause? Interesting. I only have one more of these questions left to reanswer. I think I might miss having the comparision for the other 47. Maybe anyways.