Updated: Feb 16
The fear of failure has killed more dreams than all other fears combined. The fear of failure is insidious, because even though it's largely in your imagination, it can prevent you from even trying in the first place, which thereby guarantees failure.
It’s interesting that very small children have no concept of failure. If they fail to do something, they just try again and keep on going until they succeed. There are no negative thoughts or emotions involved until they start school and learn to fear the opinions of others.
Although it might not be possible to recapture the mentality you had as a toddler, you can come close by following the 6 facts below. The fear of failure doesn’t have to impact your life significantly unless you allow it to.
1. Failure is temporary - unless you quit. Failure isn’t final unless you give up. All the most successful people have experienced a lot of failure. But they ended up being successful precisely because they didn’t quit. Failure is just a temporary state that only has the meaning you give to it.
2. Failure is common. You’ve failed thousands of times and managed to survive. Consider how many times you failed to walk or to talk well, to ride a bike, to learn how to catch a ball or even how to tie your own shoe laces. When you were a child you would have faced constant failure on a daily basis but you never quit trying until you succeeded.
* Successful people fail all of the time. It’s a huge part of how human beings learn and becoming successful. We realize that our approach didn’t work, we adjust, and we try and, yes, try again.
3. Failure is a learning curve. It's not failure if you learn something new and you can learn something from every single one of your failures. Failure makes you more knowledgeable and capable. The more you fail, the more you grow and the stronger you become.
"Failure is a great teacher, and if you are open to it, every mistake has a lesson to offer" ~Oprah Winfrey
4. Others are far less concerned about your failure than you think. People are generally far more preoccupied with their own concerns than we believe. A few people might notice your failure, but they quickly turn their attention back on themselves and their own challenges.
* There’s nothing to worry about. Feel free to fail as much as necessary. Fail enough and you’ll quickly see that no one relevant cares.
5. Focus on succeeding. Instead of worrying about possible failure, turn your focus instead onto possible success. Allow yourself to feel excited and positive about taking action.
* With high enough expectations and a steadfast belief in yourself and in your abilities, you can do just about anything you put your mind to.
6. Redirect your thoughts. Concentrate all of your attention on what you’re doing. If a negative outcome isn’t going to cause any real harm, forget about the outcome. Stay focused on your actions or something that is positive and uplifting. Thinking about failing will freeze you in your tracks and stave off your taking action.
7. Consider the cost of inaction. Taking action might be a little scary, but what will happen if you do nothing? Pause for a moment and ask and answer truthfully the following questions below. You may be surprised to find that maybe taking a risk is far more attractive than remaining where you are.
~How will you feel about failing to take action?
~What if you’re stuck in your current life for the next decade or more?
~What would you do if you weren’t afraid of failing?
~ How much has the fear of failure limited your life?
According to research women are more prone to succumb to the fear of failure than men and part of this reason is that we are judged more harshly than our counterparts if we encounter failure.
We’ve all allowed the fear of failure and others opinions to influence our decisions. We’ve allowed this fear to stop us from trying new things or taking risks. If you're living a life that you know deep down is limited and smaller than the successful and fulfilling one that you are truly capable of, it could be because of a fear of failure and being too concerned with what others think.
Rejecting the fear of failure and other people's opinion is one of the greatest things you can do for yourself and for your future life!
You can start today. Ask yourself, "What could I do today that I have been afraid to try?