Have you ever been so terrified of failing at something that you didn’t try it at all? Have you subconsciously, lowered your efforts to avoid the possibility of more significant failure?
Most people would answer yes to these questions. Many of them might have done this at one time or another in their life. The fear of failing can be scary. It might lead us to do nothing with our lives and make us resistant to the future. But when we let fear to stop us from progressing in life, we’re making ourselves more prone to missing out on some great opportunities that might come our way.
In this article, we’ll explore what the fear of failure is.
In today’s competition driven society, failure is regarded as unacceptable. We are urged to be innovative but are expected to achieve it without “wasting” our time or money.
This negative experience sometimes can lead to a fear of failure. In some cases, this can be inspiring, but can also lead to a higher level of anxiety or full-blown phobia, crippling our progress.
The Reasons Behind Fear of Failure
To analyze the causes of fear of failure, we must first understand what “failure” actually is.
There are multiple definitions of failure for different individuals; all of us have different values, belief systems, and goals that we have set for ourselves. A failure to one person might completely turn out to be a great learning experience for the other.
Most people are afraid of failing, at least at some of the time in our lives. But, the fear of failure (also known as “atychiphobia”) is when this fear stops us from doing things that can help us to move forward and achieve our goals.
This fear of failing at something can be associated with many causes. For Example: Experiencing a traumatic event can be a cause like you had to make a speech in front of a large group, and you did it very poorly. The experience might have been so terrifying that you might become afraid of failing in other things and might still carry this fear, years later.
Another example can be, for instance, having unsupportive parents as some people may carry those negative feelings into adulthood of when they were routinely undermined or humiliated in childhood.
Signs Indicating You Have a Fear of Failure
The pointers that we have included below are not definitive indicators in diagnosing that you have a fear of failure. But, if you feel that these pointers are similar to the characteristics that you have, then you can examine the issue further and get the help that you need either on a personal level or professionally.
You may have a fear of failure if you:
- Always worry about other people’s reaction, and they might think of you when you fail
- Worry whether you might be able to achieve your future goals or not if you once failed
- Have a fear of people losing interest in you and in what you have to say
- Always worry about how smart and capable you are
- Have a fear of disappointing those people whose opinions value to you the most
- Tend to declare beforehand that you might not succeed so that people do not expect you to achieve the goal and lower their expectations.
- Don’t foresee yourself as succeeding in what you are doing
- Tend to get nervous and develop cold feet before even starting the project.
- Are easily distracted and procrastinate the task on hand.
How Not to Be Afraid of Failure Anymore
It’s important to understand that in everything we do, there’s always a chance that we might not succeed at it. Facing that chance, and embracing it, not only needs a lot of courage but also gives us a fuller, more rewarding life.
However, there are some simple steps that you can adapt to overcome the fear of failing:
1. Analyze potential outcomes beforehand
It has been observed that you experience the fear of failure because you fear the unknown. Acknowledging the possible consequences of your work. A good trick for you can be to prepare a decision tree which will give you a map of as to what to do when something does not go the way you planned.
2. Think positive
Positive thinking is a powerful way to develop self-confidence and prevent self-sabotage. You should learn how to change your thoughts by getting more knowledge on Thought Awareness, Rational Thinking, and Positive Thinking.
3. Always have a Plan B
If you’re afraid of failing at something you should have a “Plan B” in place which can help you at the time of need and you can feel more confident about moving forward.
4. Own the fear
It is essential that you accept that failure makes you feel both fearful and shameful about yourself, and keep those people around you whom you trust the most so that you can discuss your feeling with them. When you are expressing what you are feeling, then you are preventing yourself from self-sabotaging and boosting your confidence.
5. Focus on aspects that are in your control
You need to identify the various elements of the task that are in your control and concentrate on those. Brainstorming is one way to reframe the aspects of the task and regain control over them.
There is no use in just sitting and being afraid of failure. Instead, you should feel like a kid who’s learning to walk. Sometimes, you might Fall, but you should have no hesitation about how it looks to others or what other people think. Then do it again. And again. And yet again. You should learn to gauge your success not by your ability to avoid mistakes, but by your ability to show up and complete the work no matter what.