One of my favourite movies of all time is Inception. In the movie, the main character, Cobb, believes the most resilient parasite isn’t a bacteria or a virus. It’s an idea. He says, “Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate.”
The truth is, all of us have ideas planted in our minds. Some were put there by mentors, some by the movies we watch, some by our friends and family, but I’m guessing there’s one idea most of us have planted in our minds. That is the idea of failure. Perhaps you failed to speak up in a crucial moment, failed in a relationship with a friend, or even failed at a job. We fear failure because we have all experienced it, and for lack of better words, it sucks. As some of us are moving into university next year, we’ll be faced with these “what if” questions about failure in the future. What if we fail a class? What if we fail at adjusting to university? What if we fail to get the job that we worked so hard for? We have embedded this idea of failure in our minds, and Cobb from Inception is right because as we get older, the idea of failure gets stronger. It gains a hold of our mind, and it’s much harder to get rid of.
So the obvious solution is to replace the idea planted into our minds. But with what? The opposite of failure is success. Throughout high school, I did well in classes, built friendships, and in September, I will be heading off to my dream university. Maybe focussing on key successes will help us face difficult problems in the future.
However, it isn’t that simple. I think the idea of success and the idea of failure are on the same spectrum. For example, picture taking a math course. Imagine you did well on every test, except on the last one you got a 49%. Walking into the math exam, most of us are going to think about that test we failed, even if we aced the other 5 tests. We want to think about the idea of success, but we always end up thinking about failure. The truth is, no matter how hard we try, we are all going to fail at one point or another.
Maybe we need to think outside the box. For a minute, scratch the idea of failure and scratch the idea of success. Let’s implant a fresh idea into our minds: the idea of community. We are a part of a community of friends, family, and classmates. Beyond that, we’re also a part of a city, a country, a world of global citizens. We all struggle with failure and success, but our community encourages us when we fail and celebrates with us when we succeed.
Inception shows us that ideas are like a parasite, they’re almost impossible to get rid of. Throughout our life, we have been greatly influenced by the ideas of success and failure. Perhaps it’s time to start being so obsessive over these temporary wins and losses. It’s time to spread the love within the community because each of us wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without the help of another person.