We tend to think of failure as negative, and as a reflection of the skills, value, and potential of a person. That outlook unfortunately keeps people from progressing in life and fulfilling their dreams. What if you could change your view of failure, so that you embrace it rather than fear it? These three ideas will disrupt your perception of failure. Try them out to help overcome your fear of failure.
You Are Not Isolated in Your Fear of Failure
The loneliness of fear is its most toxic element. Fear convinces us that we are alone in our suffering. Fear would have you believe that you are the only person who has ever failed, or that all people who fail are losers. You must absolutely trust that even the most talented among us fail, and even experience fear of failure. The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is not that one failed and the other didn’t. A universal characteristic of successful people is that they overcome their fears by taking risks and learning from mistakes. It is a universal human experience. You are far from isolated in your experience of fear of failure, and you are far from isolated in your experience of failure itself.
Stop Predicting the Future
Even when you are doing things “perfectly”, failure is a possibility. Consider decisions that you have made that seemed perfect at the time, but lead to unforeseen consequences. Perhaps you invested in something that everyone considered to be a sure bet, and its value tanked. Or perhaps you chose the most logical way of doing something, only to find that what you were dealing with was beyond logic. You can’t predict the future. You can only make the best decision you can given the information you have at the time. You can’t control the future, and you con’t predict it, so don’t let it stop you from trying. You can say, “What if I fail?” But you could also say, “What if I succeed?”
Overcome Fear of Failure By Becoming An Expert
If you experience fear of failure, replace fear of failure with this understanding: If you have done something one way and it hasn’t worked, then try another way. If that way doesn’t work, try another way. Try a hundred different ways. Try two hundred different ways. Through doing things differently, you’ll learn — in depth — about whatever it is you are trying to do. Instead of fearing it, you’ll become an expert on it. Failure is an opportunity to become an expert, rather than a victim. After all, experiencing cause and effect is normal; sitting around paralyzed by fear of failure is not. Don’t let your fear get the best of you — just try something different.
Exercise: Of the events of the past day, select one thing you didn’t do because of fear of failure. Identify an alternative course of action. Record your answer in MyMLC.