The fear of failure can paralyze you from changing your life for the better. You might avoid opportunities or challenges that could vastly improve your experience. All because there’s a possibility it won’t work out how you want.
Moreover, many people were raised to avoid failure. Like you’re a horrible person if you make mistakes. So, almost everyone is somewhat afraid to fail. But, you don’t have to let that hold you back!
Luckily, this fear is an imaginary threat, so there’s nothing to be afraid of but the thoughts in your mind.
It’s like learning to walk
Imagine a baby attempting to walk for the first time. They hold on to furniture as they stand up. It’s scary to think of letting go and taking off on their own. Then they see a shiny toy in the middle of the room. They want it so bad that they fight through the fear and let go, and they take a step or two.
Then, the baby falls. But, they didn’t die; in fact, they’re okay! Did the baby think that failing means they weren’t meant to be a “walker”? No!
“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.”
The failure hurt, but not enough to take away the baby’s desire for the toy. So they get back up and try again. Eventually, they walk! They’re overwhelmed with joy, and their parents are so proud! No one remembers all the times the baby fell. All that matters is that they walked!
The same applies to adults who try something new. Once you overcome this fear, you’ll find that working to improve your life is an exhilarating feeling.
Try these tips to put an end to the unnecessary fear of failure:
1. Get to the root of the fear of failure
Write down what in the past caused you to be afraid to fail. Now, look back at this situation and realize that failing is okay. Besides, things have changed, and you’re much smarter now. Be compassionate and tell yourself your past doesn’t equal your future, and you’re going to do whatever it takes to win this time!
2. Fail your way to success
“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.”
— Henry Ford
Failure isn’t as horrible as you might think. It’s actually a step towards success.
Google a famous, successful person, and you’ll learn that even they had to stumble their way up the ladder. Their many failures guided them towards their dream. But, they wanted their goal so bad that nothing could stop them. So, they struggled and messed up repeatedly. After a while, they got used to it and didn’t allow it to define them. Eventually, they succeeded!
Most successful people started with nothing and failed multiple times!
- J.K. Rowling got rejected 12 times for Harry Potter.
- Walt Disney got fired for “lacking imagination and good ideas.”
- Albert Einstein’s teacher wrote about him, “He will never amount to anything.”
What a shame it’d be if these brilliant minds quit trying after they failed?
No one thinks that because these people failed so many times, that they’re losers or stupid. All that matters is that eventually, they succeeded. In fact, their failures make them more inspiring and amazing!
3. Learn from failure
“Never walk away from failure. On the contrary, study it carefully and imaginatively for its hidden assets.”
— Michael Korda
Every time you make a mistake, there’s a lesson to learn. It doesn’t mean you suck at life!
The more times you fail, the more knowledge and experience you’ll gain. Otherwise, if you neglect the lesson and only focus on the mistake, you’ll doom yourself to hit the same wall repeatedly.
Be brave enough to examine your failures so you can learn the lesson within them. They’ll teach you what you need to work on so you can move up to the next level.
4. Redefine failure
What do you think of when you imagine failing?
We are taught that failure is horrible, and we should avoid it at all costs. But this is wrong! It’s not bad at all; it’s one of the ingredients to success. Redefine failure to mean giving up on your dream and quitting.
Think about what you want to accomplish. What can you do to get closer to that goal? Are there skills you need to build? Write them down so you can work on them.
5. Focus on what you can control
“In order to succeed, you must fail so that you know what not to do the next time.”
— Anthony J. D’Angelo
You can’t control the outcome of everything you do. But, there are skills and things you can learn to prepare yourself beforehand. So, do whatever you can to give yourself the best chance possible.
If you do end up failing, try other methods of learning and prepare even more. Then, try again and repeat!
Even if you’re never successful in your endeavor, at least you learned some new skills along the way!
6. Change your story
“Forget about the consequences of failure. Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success.” — Denis Waitley
At the core of your fear are long-held, negative belief patterns. These thoughts keep you from changing your life. You’ve thought this way for so long that it’s become entrenched in your subconscious, and now you believe them. But, you can retrain your brain to think optimistic thoughts.
Tell yourself an encouraging story often enough, and soon you’ll believe it. That’s how you trained your mind to think negatively in the first place, so you know it works!
7. Have patience on your journey to excellence
“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”
— Dale Carnegie
You can’t expect to try something and instantly be amazing at it. Those you admire weren’t awesome when they started either. Mastery takes time! It also takes a ton of mistakes to reach the top.
One of the worst things you can do is catastrophize your mistakes. It’s not the end of the world. You can try again! Therefore, it helps to not be afraid of messing up but to become comfortable with it. Fail more than anyone you know, and soon you’ll laugh to think you were afraid of it.
In the end, it’s better to try and fail than to not try at all (kind of Shakespearean, but you get the point). Even if you fail, you still gained knowledge and experience.
If things don’t work out, it doesn’t mean they’ll never will. Brush yourself off and start planning for your next round!
Have you ever overcome a fear of failure? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe!