Everyone hates to fail, but for some people, failing presents such a significant psychological threat their motivation to avoid failure exceeds their motivation to succeed. This fear of failure causes them to unconsciously sabotage their chances of success, in a variety of ways.
We all have different definitions of failure, simply because we all have different benchmarks, values, and belief systems. A failure to one person might simply be a great learning experience for someone else.
Fear of failure can be linked to many causes. For instance, having critical or unsupported parents is a cause for some people. Because they were routinely undermined or humiliated in childhood, they carry those negative feelings into adulthood.
Experiencing a traumatic event at some point in your life can also be a cause. For example, several years ago I gave an important presentation in front of a large group, and I did very poorly. The experience was so terrible that I became afraid of failing in other things. And I carry that fear even now, years later.
Only by overcoming the fear of failure, we can achieve success in life. Let’s try some tips to eliminate fear and focus on success:
Accept that everyone fails at some time
Realize that we are human and humans make mistakes. Before any of us learned how to walk, we crawled. We got up, fell down, got up again, and continued the process until we could walk expertly.
Don’t take failure personally.
Instead of taking failure personally, view it as a stepping stone. Make certain you learn from it and then apply what you’ve learned to future situations. Refuse to consider failing a character flaw or weakness. Doing so will only prevent you from achieving future success.
No one succeeds all of the time
In baseball, star players fail 70% of the time. Wayne Gretzky’s career shooting percentage in hockey was 17.57% meaning he missed 82.43 % of the time. Wayne also said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” So it is in life. You won’t fail at anything if you don’t make the attempt. You also won’t succeed!
Always remember that ‘failure’ has produced many successes.
Albert Einstein’s teacher told him to quit school because; “Einstein, you will never amount to anything!” Ludwig Von Beethoven’s music teacher said of him “as a composer, he is hopeless”. Henry Ford’s first two automobile companies failed.
I appreciate the benefits of failure. Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” In other words, your chances of getting things right on the first try are slim to none. The more you try, or experiment, the better you’ll get at it.
Rather than giving up when things don’t work out, take it as an opportunity to build perseverance and resolve. Believe that you’ve got what it takes to work through the obstacles and difficult times. Remind yourself how many failures became successful because they wouldn’t give up.
What do you get by overcoming the fear of failure?
- You build valuable experience and knowledge
- You build the strength of character and focus
- You find more ways of being creative and sharpen your problem-solving skills
- It gives you an opportunity to redefine your goals or set upon a new path, if necessary
- You build flexibility and open-mindedness
- You increase self-confidence and self-worth