Fear of Wrong

“College students are afraid of being wrong.”  This quote by Seth Godin hit me hard because in my experience, it is completely true.  I can remember back in elementary school when I used to talk and interact much more with people.  From then till high school, as I progressed through the school system, I’ve become more quiet and reserved in the class room and it is very hard for me to engage in class discussions. The current school system teaches us that there is only one right answer and this is what you do to get there.  And by continuously going through this process, and feeling the terrible feeling of getting an answer wrong, I have reached that point where I fear raising my hand to voice my opinion.  This is a terrible thing and now a very common occurrence in the modern day classroom.  If the teacher doesn’t pick students and make them talk, it is always the same brave few students, answering everything.

This causes a problem for the students that don’t answer because they lose value from never being wrong.  Answering a question wrong or even just asking a question helps you learn because you can figure out why you got it wrong, and clear up any doubts in your mind.  Maybe this is the real reason why I struggle in English class and why my writing has not improved for many years.  Until this year, my writing has never been reviewed so deeply while still in draft forms.  Mr. Ziebarth’s criticism from walking around the room has revealed to me the bad habits I have and given me ideas of how to improve my writing.  I now understand the true value of constructive criticism.

This is why blogs and reflections are so valuable to this class.  They give students the platform to voice their opinions that they keep bottled up and prove to the teacher what they can do.  But, we all still need to find some way to break out of ourselves, not be afraid, and participate in class.

I thought that it was very interesting when Godin spoke saying that we shouldn’t strive to be at the top of the most popular lists, but strive to be viewed by few people and really connect and make an impact with them.  in other words, we should not degrade our work or change what we do in order to become more popular and get more views.  We should try to make a difference and impact/ change the lives of just a few people at a time rather then entertaining many.  This was an interesting topic to me because I always try to make everyone happy.  But you know what, this is an impossible habit.  If people can’t accept me for who I am then why am I trying so hard to make this person like me.  Instead of trying to please everyone, and sometimes being “fake” in hopes of being “cool” I should strive to be genuine to my close friends and make an impact on their lives.  Start small and slowly build up.  You should never act differently around different groups of friends.

One of our strengths in this class is that we are not famous and known by millions of people .  Although this is often seen as a goal in life, to be famous and well known.  It is much better to have a small reaching profound impact, then to be loved and hated for something that maybe doesn’t portray what you’re really like.  This also gives us the opportunity to start from the bottom and experiment.  By starting with nothing and working our way to something, we are able to experiment and do different things until we find our niche, what we really like writing about and what legitimately makes an impact.  We’ll be able to tell by the growth and whether people share our work.  It’s important to share your work with friends to see if it is worthwhile and whether what you’ve been doing is effective.  There’s no artificial inflation to our blogs and we don’t have editors and writers and staff members helping us write and telling us what would make us popular.  Everything has to come from us.  As a result, you also have to find the particular audience for your kind of work.  Not everyone likes sports and video games.  Find the people that like what you write about, focus on these people, and try not to appeal to everyone, because it’s impossible.

Although I previously stated that it is not a good thing to be famous and well known because it changes us to be someone we are not, it could also allow you to make a far greater impact.  As long as you stay true to your self and use your fame for the right reasons, fame can be a great tool for touching many people.  People watch and look up to famous people, so based on your actions others will follow by example.  Lead by example.  Act like you are in front of your children.

I feel that I am not creating art because I am not being creative enough or doing something that has not been done before.  In addition, I am too afraid to share my work because I do not want to be judged or criticized.  As a result, I am stuck in this neutral zone where I only create things I know will be liked and don’t venture out and try new things.  I guess the main thing I’ve learned from Gordin is to be brave.

“Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another.” -Seth Godin


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