We've all faced the crippling fear of failure at some point in our lives, and it has hindered us from pursuing an opportunity. So, what is it exactly, and why do we experience it? More importantly, how can we overcome our fear of failure to help us stand out from the crowd and pursue the opportunities that are better for us? Read through this guide to find out all about it!
What Is Failure?
In simple words, failure is a lack of success. But if you think about it, what keeps you from succeeding is the fear of failure, the actual failure comes after that fear holds you back from giving your goals a hundred percent effort.
It is all about training your mind and keeping your emotions in check to combat this fear. If we look at it this way, fearing failure helps us stay alert and prepare for the worst-case scenario. Nevertheless, fear of failure in most cases hinders in a hundred percent performance, which is a significant setback in achieving success. If you never overcome the fear of failure, you won't take any risks at all, leading to your growth stunting and stagnant life. Failure is inevitable. You can either let our failures become the stones tied around our bodies, weighing you down, or you can think of them as stepping stones to success.
Causes of Fear of Failure
To overcome the fear of failure, you first have to identify its causes. Now, there are several reasons why the fear of failure is ingrained in our minds. Let's take a look at some of them.
Some parents are overly critical towards their children. If a child is not given a margin of error or to make mistakes, he or she becomes fearful of failure in the slightest possibility.
Nobody wants to 'look bad' in the eyes of their peers and competitors. However, too many unrealistic expectations hinder your growth and deprive you of the joy of your journey towards your desired destination in life. It can also become a cause for the fear of failure.
Overshadowed by Perfectionists
If you are surrounded by perfectionist people or someone with a similar talent who is already successful, this could cause you to be over-pressurized to succeed and reach that person's level of success.
Ways to Overcome the Fear of Failure
Here is a list of ways we think you can deal with your fear of failure and train yourself to overcome this fear, achieving the success that you truly deserve.
Recognize the Cause of Fear
First of all, recognize the root cause of this fear in yourself. Go through the list of reasons mentioned above, or simply take a deep inventory of your past experiences, and you will find the cause that led to the fear of failure in you. Once you know the reason for your concern, the rest of the journey to overcome your fear of failure begins from there.
Take the Situation from Another Perspective
Most of the time, whenever you encounter failure, your mind makes up a story about coping with the emotional response to the fear of the outcome of that failure. When that happens, you need to step back and assess your situation from a different perspective. For example, on failing to achieve the highest score on your exam, you think, "I am not intelligent enough to score so high" or "I don't work hard enough. That is why I failed in this exam."
When your mind presents you such stories, you need to recognize the reasons how the root cause of your fear and your made-up stories are connected. You will see how the past experiences and responses on your failure to achieve something have ingrained a natural reaction in your mind. It cripples your courage to take risks, and therefore you are more fearful and reluctant to try new things in life.
Overcome these fixed responses and train your mind to prepare itself to stay focused and positive during troubled times. It will help in generating positive responses that give you the courage to take a different path to overcome your failure.
Think of It As A Learning Experience
If you dislike uncertainty, then do a little homework on all the possible scenarios and outcomes of your actions. If you think any action might lead to failure, then mentally prepare yourself to look at that failure as a learning experience instead of fearing it. It is always a good idea to be ready for what consequences and challenges might appear in your life.
Whenever you take up a new task or grab at an exciting opportunity, make a list of all the ways you can best execute the task at hand, along with all the possibilities of failure to succeed in achieving your goals. You cannot be too sure about the outcome of your actions other than perceiving the expected results based on past experiences. It can help in learning what to avoid and what to look forward to, reducing the fear of failure.
Be In-charge of Your Emotions
Let your emotions flow through you and accept that there are a hundred possible outcomes of any given situation, and you won't be able to prepare yourself for all of them. Simply take that you cannot control everything, and failure is simply part of the process in achieving anything in life. Acknowledge the fact that everything you do, you can't do it correctly. Always leave a margin for error and failure.
Don't look at failure as a drawback, instead allow yourself to experience the emotions that come with failure, learn, and grow with the experience. For instance, if you want to become an expert chess player, you start learning all about it and practice it abundantly. However, you can't win every game of chess. It is a fact that practice makes you perfect, but in all honesty, you can never truly achieve perfection.
Perfect Is A Myth
Accept that you are not perfect, but stay positive and keep believing in yourself. A failure to achieve something does not make you a failure at life. There is plenty of life for you to live, and your success or failure does not determine who you are, your character and values do. The key to a meaningful life is in staying open to new experiences and always looking at the bright side of everything. For instance, even if you fail to achieve your set goal in any given circumstances, it doesn't mean you have entirely lost at any chance to succeed in life.
Believe In Yourself
You have to believe in yourself, because if you won't, then nobody will. You deserve a chance to make up for your mistakes and shortcomings, that doesn't make you weak. It requires a significant amount of resilience and courage to learn from your experience and to allow yourself to relearn and redo what you failed to achieve in the first place.
Beat those odds against you!
Success is never guaranteed, and neither is a failure. So why would you stop living your life in fear of just another possibility? Everything includes risks and consequences that you may not have foreseen. Therefore, take everything that comes your way as part of the learning process and learn to use these experiences to nurture you rather than hinder you. How you carve your success out of all the curve-balls life throws at you is in your own hands, but even if you fail to succeed, that does not mean you are a failure. You can always try again. Giving up on life based on the fear of failure is not an option at all!