Have you ever heard a proverb saying that “He, who doesn’t risk, never gets to drink champagne?”
Of course, many try to avoid taking risks, thinking it’s wise to keep what you’ve already got instead of staking it in the hope of getting more.
Fear of failure makes people reluctant to try their hand at something more challenging, which leads to stagnation.
Still, there is another category of people willing to test their luck, skills, and capabilities to become more successful.
They are not afraid of making mistakes. Neither are they afraid of dealing with the consequences of their failures.
You have no idea how many opportunities people tend to miss every day on account of the fear of failure. We refuse to go to college for fear that we won’t be able to pay for our tuition, learn new material or cope with tons of homework.
We also don’t ask for a promotion because we’re not sure we’ll handle new challenges and responsibilities.
What if we make a mistake?
What if we won’t be able to live up to somebody’s expectations?
Fear of failure paralyses us both physically and spiritually. It prevents us from revealing our potential. It undermines our self-confidence and hinders our personal and professional development.
If you feel fear of failure is a considerable obstacle in your way to success, it’s high time you started overcoming it.
Why we fear failure
Prior to finding what makes us dread failure, we need to understand what “failure” is.
Psychologists emphasise that different people tend to define and treat failure differently. Some don’t give up and continue pursuing their goals after experiencing failure. For such people, failure is not something that testifies to their unworthiness, but a powerful motivator was encouraging them to move forward.
Still, there are those who feel deeply frustrated and reluctant to act as soon as they realise something went wrong. Failure has a devastating impact on such people.
With time, the fear of failure doesn’t go away – on the contrary, it gets stronger and finally starts manipulating us into adopting a life-long risk-averse strategy, which leaves no room for development.
There are many causes for fear of failure.
One of the most common has its roots in people’s childhood. The point is some parents expect too much from their offspring and make them live up to the high standards they set. As a result, children develop a fear of failing, which allegedly may deprive them of parental approval and love.
Some traumatic experience from the past can also affect your ability to take risks and the way you react to failures. For example, say you earned a bad grade on an important examination several years ago.
Your teacher delivered a passionate speech about how disappointed she was upon checking your test, and your parents subjected you to similar criticism at home.
The experience might have been so frustrating that you became afraid of failing in other things. Unfortunately, not all people can overcome their fears easily.
It may take much time and effort to learn how to come to terms with fiascos and overcome a fear of failure.
How to stop being afraid of mistakes and failures
We always have a choice.
You can either continue treating each failure as the end of the world or start learning from them.
Keep in mind that even the most powerful and successful people in the world are not immune to making mistakes.
Failure is an integral part of our life, no matter what perfectionists say.
Progress is achieved through trial and error.
So, keep on trying and don’t fall apart if you mess up. Instead, focus on the valuable experience you get whenever something doesn’t work out.
You have a great opportunity to draw conclusions from failure and continue pursuing your goal. Make the necessary adjustments, improve your skills, ask for professional advice, and wait for the opportune moment to give your undertaking another shot.
Though it may be quite challenging, try the following strategies to overcome your fear of failure:
Envision possible outcomes
People tend to fear the unknown and unpredictable.
Therefore, each time you take up something new and are hesitant about your success, try to predict potential outcomes.
As soon as you visualise those outcomes, you’ll realise there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Adopt a positive mindset
Never underestimate the ability to think positively.
Psychologists note that optimists tend to succeed in their endeavours more often than their pessimistic counterparts.
Those who don’t believe in their ability to succeed often subconsciously sabotage their chances of success. To boost your morale, try imagining how your life will change after you achieve your goal.
Focusing on your victory will help you improve your self-esteem and confidence, which is essential for achieving success.
Devise a contingency plan
Staying optimistic is great.
Still, having a “Plan B” definitely won’t hurt.
We all can stumble and fall.
And it’s good to have everything under control if something doesn’t go our way.
Set small goals
If you’re afraid of failure, the first step towards overcoming it can be setting small goals.
For instance, if you dropped out of college and are dreaming of continuing your education, you may want to consider talking to an admissions officer instead of starting your college application immediately.
Setting and achieving small goals not only boosts your confidence but also prepares you for pursuing bigger goals.
Don’t let your irrational fears stop you from being successful. Start overcoming your fear of failing to embrace new opportunities and become more successful.
Naomi knows the burden of living on very little and became debt free by learning from past mistakes and following her own money saving tips and tricks. She is studying a Level 2 Certificate in Awareness of Mental Health Problems and Youth Mental Health First Aid.