VICE: Andrew W.K. on Rock Bottom

Andrew W.K. on Rock Bottom | VICE

Every list of the things people most fear looks just about the same. On them, you’ll find a fear of speaking in public, heights, snakes, spiders. Death, of course. And right alongside them is the fear of failure. Nearly everyone has this particular fear subconsciously baked into them from childhood. It’s easy to understand why.

Like most people, I too was taught and instinctively believed that the purpose in life, one of its main directives, was to avoid failure at all costs. And that certain risks simply weren’t worth taking if the possibility of failure was too high. This general fear of failure is one I’ve tried to eliminate from my own life, in part because failure seems to be a natural and unavoidable fact of existence. To fear trying something because you might fail seems almost as neurotic as being afraid of breathing or eating. But it sticks with us nonetheless, and in some cases can be quite debilitating.

The fact is, we all fail. No one is immune from tripping up, getting knocked down, or suffering from the large and small humiliations of slipping down life’s ladder. In order to move through existence, we must be prepared to accept and even embrace these inevitable failures. Failures in our work. With friends. Family. In romantic relationships. These failures, by and large, aren’t ruinous. We can rebound from them. This may be because, after them, we can still hold on to our sense of identity and piece the rest of our life back together. They’re manageable.

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