‘While I am so afraid to fail so I won’t even try. Well how can I say I’m alive?’ – Rollo Armstrong, Dido Armstrong Life For Rent
As someone who is used to success, the pressure to maintain a clean record is difficult. For some, trying not to fail can be crippling.
But why do we fear failure?
Usually, a failure is associated with a judgement that is larger than the failure itself. For example, failing an exam could lead to negative judgements, such as ‘I’ll never make it as a…[doctor, engineer, etc.]’. The greater the importance of what we set out to achieve, the greater the judgement we impose upon ourselves for not achieving. Concepts such as ‘your life’s ambition’ and ‘the be all and end all’ cause us to focus on one goal alone which, if missed, makes it seem like the world is crumbling around us. With pressures like these, no wonder some of us are afraid to fail.
‘If you take no risks, you will suffer no defeats. But if you take no risks, you win no victories.’ – Richard M. Nixon
How to overcome this fear
Simply because it is understandable to fear failure, does not mean it is unavoidable. In 2013, Forbes published a really helpful article called 5 Ways To Conquer Your Fear Of Failure and this is what I gained from it:
Just as a runner has to break through ‘the wall’ to carry on, we have to feel the fear, walk around in it, and break it down to come out the other side.To beat the fear that stops us reaching for our goals we have to think logically:
Suppose I do fail.
What are the next logical steps?
Can I draw something positive from my missed target?
What have I learned?
By answering these questions, we will be better prepared to adjust strategies and reach our goals the next time around.
And if that isn’t quite enough, here’s an encouraging quote by someone really successful:
‘It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.’ – J.K. Rowling