Fear of failure and how to overcome this obstacle of success

One of the main reason why people don’t live up to their potential is Atychiphobia or the fear of failure. According to Brian Tracy, fear of failure is the biggest single obstacle to success and happiness in adult life. It is not the failure itself. Everyone have gone through failure in one way or another. But the fear of failure is the one that holding most people back.

Fear of failure may act like a brake pedal that stops most of us from achieving our potential. Because of this fear of failure, people stop to take action and they procrastinate what they wanted to do. And as a result, they don’t achieve what they intended to achieve.
What causes the fear of failure?
There are many causes, but the main cause is how we were brought

up. When we were kids, we don’t have this kind of fear, until we experience something bad, or perhaps someone told us not to do certain things because of their experience of failure. And one of them is our education system where failure is bad, and if we failed it is a bad thing. We believe that fail is bad, and we don’t want to fail in any area of our life.

How do we know if we are fear of failure?
There are several signs when someone is suffering the fear of failure syndrome:
1. Reluctant to try something new. They just wanted to do what works and if they were to do something new, they will ask who have done it before.
2. Self-sabotage – they don’t believe in themselves, they procrastinate and they set goals but not progressing towards that goal. Or slow at achieving the goals.
3. Low self-esteem and self-confidence – they believe they don’t deserve most of the thing. You can see from the language they use, they will always say, of course, you can, my situation is different. In other words, justifications, blames, and excuses.

How can we overcome the fear of failure?

  1. Think positive – Positive thinking will bring you positive frame of mind. Instead of worrying what if things goes wrong, start to imagine what if everything went well? Using affirmation can help in getting our mind positive. One of the ways is to tell ourselves, “Yes I can!” or “I can do it!” And by repetition, our brain will start to believe that we actually can, and in fact, we really can do it. Stand in front of the mirror and start to talk to yourself that you can do it! There is a saying that said, “You become what you think about most of the time.”
  2. Visualize obstacles – there is a research where two groups of people were to write down what they are going to expect in the next week. The first group was instructed to imagine the week is going to be great while the second group was instructed to write down any thoughts that come to mind in the coming week. The result, the first group was reported to be less energize and accomplish less as compared to the second group. Positive thinking is good, and we should also balance out by putting ourselves in the reality of challenges that lies ahead because challenges are what drives us as a human.
  3. Analyze the worse case scenario – What is the worst thing could happen if we did not achieve what we wanted to achieve? Most of the time, especially when we are doing sales, we often afraid of rejection. That is why most people don’t want to do sales. But what is the worst thing could happen if we failed at selling to a particular customer? Perhaps they just say NO. And if we can keep the relationship good enough, they might find us back in the future when they need us. We often take it personal when we are dealing with rejection.
  4. Set a goal, a big goal – Tony Robbins once said, “People are not lazy, they just have impotent goals – that is, goals that do not inspire them.” Set a goal that really inspire us to take that action. Massive action. Because if we are so much inspired by our goals, the challenges become so insignificant, even the failure will not stop us from achieving what we intend to achieve.
  5. Trust your heart – I believe we should trust our heart by listening to it. ““Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” said Steve Jobs during his commencement address at Stanford University. Some might argue, follow your heart and bring your brain together. I agree with that, and we need to balance out. If there is nothing wrong with our values, law, and religious belief, by all means, follow your heart.
  6. Have a strong support system – Most people afraid that if they failed, nobody will care about them. But if we could build a strong support system, that would help cushion us a bit when things went wrong. If we have a true friend, they will never let us down when things do not turn out as they suppose to be. At least, this is the chance of us knowing our true friends.
What should I do when failure really occur?
Look at failure as a way of becoming better. I remembered watching Dragon Ball, every time they lose a battle they became stronger after they recovered. I believe in real life, that is so true. When you recover from failure, you become the better version of yourselves. Some questions that you might want to ask yourself:
  1. What can I learn from this situation?
  2. How can I grow as a person from this experience?
  3. What are the 3 positive things about this situation?
One of the assumptions in NLP is ‘There is no failure, only feedback’. This is a way to frame our mind, because if we did not succeed, perhaps what we are doing is not the right thing. We just need to change the strategy in order to achieve what we need to achieve.

And always remember, the pain of regrets is worse than the pain of failure. Imagine one day when you are old and sick, you are lying on the bed, thinking about what you have achieved throughout your life. Would you be happy with all those procrastination and fear of failure?

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