In our performance obsessed reality we often forget that to err is human and that we learn best from our own mistakes. This growing tendency to avoid failure at all cost, in fact costs us a lot. We lose the ability to innovate, experiment, and make our dreams come true.

To liberate ourselves from the fetters of this paralysing fear of failure, we need to look upon our lives from a different perspective. Our lives are not about performing. They are about experiencing.

Check out: Stop Focusing on Your Performance



  • rehearsal – a practice exercise; trial
  • cantor – a synagogue official who sings or chants liturgical music and leads the congregation in prayer
  • reinforce – to strengthen by additional assistance, material, or support: make stronger or more pronounced
  • mediocre – of moderate or low quality, value, ability, or performance
  • outcome – result
  • accolade – a mark of acknowledgment: award
  • immerse – (be immersed) be absorbed by something (an activity)
  • fickle – marked by lack of steadfastness, constancy, or stability: given to erratic changeableness


Think about it

Based on the text answer the following questions. Leave your answers in the comments below!

  • What does the author want to illustrate with the example of his own wedding rehearsal?
  • What are some examples the author uses to show that our lives can feel like a performance?
  • What according to author is the best way of getting better at anything?
  • How can you identify whether you’re performing rather than experiencing life?
  • How do people who are experiencing life look upon bad feelings?


Practice makes perfect

In the sentences below replace the phrases in bold with the expressions from the original text. Leave your answers in the comments below!

  • A friend of ours, Sue Anne Steffey Morrow, a Methodist minister, offered to substitute for the Jewish officiants who were absent.
  • It is seemingly easy to remember but in reality it’s almost impossibly difficult, because much of what we do feels like a performance.
  • Simply put, we think life is a performance because, well, it is in a way.
  • Which, of course, only reinforces our own experience of being judged. And propells our desire to perform.
  • That’s a result you can always achieve notwithstanding the outcome.


Put the words in brackets into the most appropriate tenses.

On the day of our wedding, I ________ (take) Sue Anne’s advice. And when I ________ (think) back now — it ________ (be) 13 years — the moments I ________ (remember) most clearly and with most fondness are the things we ________ (not rehearse), the things that ________ (go) wrong but somehow gave the wedding its life. Even our rehearsal, which clearly ________ (not go) as planned with its missing rabbi, was perfect since it ________ (lead) us to integrate a minister — especially meaningful for Eleanor and her family — in a more substantial way than we ________ (anticipate).


Explore it more