Unless you are some deity sent down from the heavens, then if you’re like most people you will have experienced fear of failure in your life. In fact, it’s pretty much impossible not to.
What I’ve learnt from my own experience is that the only logical way to get over the fear of failure is to just do the thing you’re afraid to fail at. But it wasn’t always this way. I would tell people I was afraid to do this particular thing because of failing and they would tell me there’s nothing to worry about and just do it.
But that’s easier said than done sometimes isn’t it? Yes, I did finally muster up the courage and do the thing but it wasn’t until I learnt two things about failure.
I know it can be extremely hard, especially when you have feared it for so long and the thought of failure terrifies you. But if you’re someone who can’t apply the advice of “just do it” then this post can help put you in a better position to tackle that fear.
Go down the worst case scenario
Seriously, this has actually turned out to be a very beneficial strategy for me.
As an example. Imagine if you failed at that exam which you’ve been worrying about for the past month? Would it really be that bad?
The worst case scenario is you would have to retake the exam again. (That’s if you want to) You’ll probably have to study harder but if this is important to you then you will do everything in your power to pass it.
Maybe it will cost you money to retake the exam and you’re worried about that? Then you have to break down the worst case scenario with this situation. You could save money to afford the retake of the exam instead of spending it on something else. Again, if the passing of this exam is important to you, then you will prioritize it ahead of other things.
But the most important thing to understand here is that you will not die. Nothing bad is going to happen to you. And because your life isn’t going to end, anything other than that is a hell of a lot better!
Fear is a natural response to danger in ones environment. We need fear to keep us safe and protected. The fear response is something which has been embedded into our DNA since the dawn of man.
It was more appropriate then because we as humans lived in more hostile environments and adrenaline was a handy hormone to rely on, especially when coming face to face with a sabre-tooth tiger!
However, in our day and age it’s rare that the fear response is activated appropriately. It’s usually a reaction to something we’re worried about happening in the future. So it’s inappropriate because it isn’t helpful for the fear response to be activated when there is no ACTUAL real threat present.
Change your attitude towards it
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” – Thomas Edison
“Learn from your failures, because you’ll never learn from your successes” – TJ Watson
When I first read that failure should be seen as a good thing, I was a little thrown back as you can imagine. Especially when I’ve lived my whole life thinking failure is something that should be avoided like the plague.
Then I came to a realization. I’ve always held myself back from trying new things because of the potential chance of failing. But as you know, that’s not the must helpful attitude to have. As JK Rolling will tell you – “You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”
I know that quote too well because I’ve read it a fair few times to remind me about the truth that without failure, I’ll never achieve what I desire.
So when I took the advice and put it into action, it started to make the journey a little bit more bearable each time. Failing wasn’t a bad thing after all. It teaches you so many lessons.
Life really is a process of trial and error and failure is going to happen to you more times than not. Especially if you want to achieve things. I can prove this to you with a moment in your life where you failed countless times until you succeeded.
Remember when you were a baby (of course you can’t) . But babies don’t care about failing. They are too busy being focused in the present and learning to walk. They fall over many times, possibly bruise themselves or chip a tooth but they never think about giving up, do they?
They instinctively know that walking is something they have to do so they fail their way to eventually walking competently. Now if babies did have that fear of failing and the attitude of procrastination, then we’d probably still be on our hands and knees crawling.
To summarise this post
You know that you’re not alone when it comes to the fear of failure. We all experience it at some point in our lives. You have learnt that looking at the worst case scenario is helpful because it gets you to see the truth about the potential failure. More often than not, it’s never as bad as you fear it could be and you certainly won’t die.
You’ve already mastered the most difficult of tasks in life and that was learning to walk as a baby. You already have the experience and discipline to conquer any obstacle. You’ve just forget that failing is essential to progress. You’ve learnt that seeing failure as something to learn from rather than it being feared is a great attitude to adopt.
Did you find this post helpful? What would you have liked to see me go over here? Do you think I could improve it?
Let me know by leaving a comment in the section below. It would be very kind to have some feedback and feel free to share this post with other’s if you think it could help them.
Until next time
Peace, love and empowerment!