Doubt’s misunderstood stand-in


art by Maddy Mueller

Alice Yu

An accomplished film director, philosopher, author and poet, Suzy Kassem was born in Toledo, Ohio. Influenced by her Egyptian heritage, Kassem is known to draw parallels between Eastern and Western civilizations as seen in her book, Rise Up and Salute the Sun. A collection of philosophical short stories, Rise Up and Salute the Sun contains seven parts that touch upon subjects of death, life, and love. Kassem holds degrees in business, filmmaking and creative writing and has studied at the University of Toledo, University of California and Harvard University. During her youth, Kassem studied at Aiglon College in Villars, Switzerland.
After being introduced to growth and fixed mindsets last year through Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset, I’ve tried to reform my life to follow growth mindset principles. I’ve learned to silence that voice in my head that taunts me, sneering discouragements like,  “What if you can’t? What are you going to do then?” When faced with a less than satisfactory situation, I spin it around and think of it as a growing and learning experience. But all these tactics can’t cure my deep hatred of failure.
I’ve tried to hide it and sometimes I succeed, but my fear of failure is buried deep into my psychological norm. I don’t want to seem incompetent and I don’t want to disappoint others. In making a perfect record free of blemishes, I’ve stayed away from challenges and situations. After all, if I don’t participate, then there’s no chance of failure.
Looking back, I realize that I’ve shut doors of opportunity in my own face, denying myself the possibility of success and growth. I didn’t even get a chance to experience failure before my fear of it took over. So what if I don’t succeed? Others might scoff, but I would have gained a new experience. At the very least, I would have learned something I’m not good at. Either way, I would get to discover who I am and where my strengths lie.
Becoming a section editor for The Rock and Bearing News this year was a gamble for me. I didn’t know if I’d live up to the standards that my sister, a previous editor-in-chief, had set. I still don’t know if I’ve lived up to the standards, but I have indefinitely grown as a person.
I’ve learned to practice patience and exercise communication. I’ve done some things that didn’t turn out so great, such as throwing artists in a loop with my constant revisions of size dimensions, but in experiencing that setback, I’ve learned to put more heart and mind into creating a page design that serves its function.
Forced to juggle multiple projects at a time, I’ve come to truly realize how valuable time is. Organization is essential and a clear mind is a must in keeping my sanity. I’m not invincible, but I’m not destructible either. I still hate failure, but I’ve learned to accept that it’s part of life.
As Amy Poehler said, “Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. Doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that-that is what life is.”
Our teenage years should be the age of exploration for us. In high school, we can still make mistakes and bounce back. We have the versatility, the time, and the resources to fail and rebound to success.
I’d like to think that although my fear of failure is still living in my mind, I’ve taken some power out of its hands. Instead of housing a lethal injection of self-doubt, I’ve reduced it to a healthy dose of caution; making sure I don’t stretch myself too thin but also allowing me to explore new horizons.
By Alice Yu