Apr 8, 2014

Fear of Failure

Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic.
Often I have seen due to fear of failure we don’t attempt certain things in our lifetime. It’s often seen that before a successful invention there have been many failures experienced by scientist, theorists before discovery of a new product. As Thomas Edison puts it” I have learnt 10,000 ways that does not invent a bulb  during his journey of inventing bulb.   Even in childhood when we learn any new skill like cycling, swimming, we might have failed many times before mastering the skill of cycling/swimming. Next question that comes to my mind is what is fear?
What is fear? Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger. Often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus hang back for no good reason. Any bad experiences can trigger a fear response within us that is hard to quell.
What is failure? Failure is an act or instance of not meeting a desirable or intended
objective, or proving unsuccessful.
Many a times the fear of failure pulls us back from reaching our goals. Often it is at these testing times when we are faced with the greatest opportunities that this fear is strongest, intimidating us with thoughts that we are not good enough. The inner voice undermines us and limits our capacity to pursue and accomplish the things we want in life.
Whenever we face challenges or go after a dream, this inner critic is there to hold us back and scare us with possibilities of failure. It encourages us to be self-protective and not put ourselves out there or take chances. Though everyone is faced with struggles or hard times at one point or another, these circumstances are much more difficult to overcome when they are accompanied by this self-destructive thought process.  Fear of failure is directly linked to your self-worth, or the belief that you are valuable as a person.
The only way to change your reaction to failure is to challenge the beliefs that create it—those ideas about what failure means. And the best way to change those beliefs is to change the thoughts that shape them.  Psychologists and neuroscientists estimate we think between 45,000 and 51,000 thoughts per day. If the majority of these thoughts entail negative interpretations of your weaknesses and mistakes, you will limit your potential because the prospect of failing will seem catastrophic.
The first step to take is making a change in pattern of thinking.  Identify the inner thought process and if you find that there is a lot of critiquing inner voice start by writing a self journal of negative thoughts laid down in third person. For eg. If you have a fear of facing job interviews.. Write down why you are capable of facing jobs.. to counter attack your inner critique.. I am capable of facing a job interview as I have following qualities that is required for the job like Degree, Communication skill, experience etc.. I would be an asset to a team. I work hard and learn fast. There is nothing wrong with having ambition. Be realistic in your journal. It’s important to recognize and start to counter the directives of this inner enemy, so that  we can become more resilient and act in our own self-interest. At first, this will cause us a lot of anxiety. Challenging our critical inner voices can leave us feeling vulnerable and even more afraid at first. Eventually, however, if we are persistent in going against it, the voice will start to fade into the distance. Shedding the baggage of our past, the critical inner voices that falsely feed our fears of failure.
Many times in my life, I have been challenged. Many times, I have made mistakes. Many times, I have experienced failure. Now, reflecting back I realize that many opportunities were placed in front of me so that I could fail, so that I could learn how to fail effectively.Fear of failure is common to all but it’s up to us how we stride over it, learned from experiences and make this stepping stone for success. It’s also about accepting failures as   a part of process of achieving some dream. I would like to sign off with the words of Kim van Olderen “Learn from failures and to be determined to do things differently and better next time. With failure always come a dozen opportunities.” 

Try a thing you haven’t done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not.
Virgil Thomson

 Pl affirm yourself..
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
Frank Herbert


  1. A fantastic post!! I love your Virgil Thomson quote! Very, very true.

    Carrie~Anne at That Dizzy Chick

  2. Thanks Carrie...sorry for late response...