The fear of failure is one of the strongest forces that holds people back from achieving their full potential. When contemplating the idea of pursuing a worthy goal, it’s easy to get caught up in all the many things that could potentially go wrong. Sometimes it just seems easier to play it safe.
You’ve probably heard the saying; “Nothing ventured, nothing lost”. It’s true. If you never do anything risky, there’s little chance that you’ll fail or get hurt.
The problem is, the opposite is also true; “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”. If you never dare to take any risks in life, you aren’t going to achieve much either.
Human beings are both very resilient, and very resourceful creatures. We are very adept at recovering from tragedy and failure. Take advantage of this and start taking more risks in life. If you never dare to fail, you will never have the opportunity to succeed, learn, and grow as a human being either.
Here are few things to consider when you’re facing a fear of failure:
1. Staying In Your Comfort Zone Can Be Painful
When you hold yourself back from taking full advantage of everything that life has to offer, you are staying within your comfort zone. This might seem like the best way to minimize the amount of pain in your life, but there is a dark side to playing life safe.
The dark side of staying in your comfort zone is that you are also giving up on your goals and dreams. This can be a painful experience, both now and in the future. When you’re on your deathbed, do you think you’ll be glad that you played life safe, or will you regret that you didn’t live your life to the fullest?
2. There’s No Shame In Trying
Most people aren’t going to judge you negatively for trying to achieve something in your life. If they do, they really aren’t the kind of people you want in your life anyways.
I personally have a lot of respect for people who are willing to put themselves out there and go after what they want. It really doesn’t matter if they’ve succeeded yet or not. The fact that they’re trying shows that they have character traits worth admiring.
3. There Is An Opportunity Cost To Not Taking Action
If the fear of failure is causing you to pass up on great opportunities, how much is it costing you? The stories of history are made up of men and women who took risks, big risks. If you want to leave your mark on the world, start taking some risks of your own.
If you fail to act on your goals and dreams. If you fail to take advantage of the opportunities that life puts in front you. You are doomed to a life of mediocrity.
4. Face Your Fear Head On
Remember the first time you tried doing something new? It was probably scary at first because you don’t know what you were doing. There was also a likely chance that you could get hurt if you screwed up. But the more often you did it, the better you became at doing it. After a while, it was no longer scary.
A good example of this is learning to ride a bike. When you first looked at that bike, it seemed really intimidating. If you didn’t get it right, you could get hurt. But after you got on that bike and rode it a few times, your confidence went up and it got easier and easier to do. Maybe you even fell and got hurt a few times, but those wounds healed, and as long as you had the courage to get on that bike again, you kept getting better and better at it. Eventually you were riding your bike with ease and enjoying all the benefits that your new found skill offered.
Face your fear of failure and just start moving toward what you desire. You might fall and get hurt a few times, but as long as you dust yourself of, and keep moving, the wounds will heal and you will get better and better. Eventually you’ll be a pro, and as you look back, you’ll see that you really had nothing to be scared of.
5. What’s The Worst That Could Happen?
If you’re wondering whether or not you should take a risk, try to determine what is the worst possible thing that could happen if you proceed. The first thing you’ll notice is that it usually isn’t nearly as bad as you first thought.
After you’ve figured this out, see if you can come up with a contingency plan to help deal with this problem should it arise. Having a good plan to deal with a potential problem will make you feel much more secure when you decide to take action.
If you can’t come up with a contingency plan, try to determine how long it would take you to recover from this “worst case scenario”. In most cases you could probably recover in a few days to a few months. If failure isn’t permanent, why not give it a try? You might just end up succeeding if you do.
6. Failure Is A Learning Opportunity
Failure is not a negative if you understand that it is one of the most valuable teachers you could ever have.
Failure can teach you what doesn’t work, as long as you are willing to learn the lesson. When you fail, take some time to step back and evaluate what might have caused the failure. Once you understand why your last attempt didn’t work, apply that lesson to your next attempt.
Each time you fail, you have the opportunity to become better. When you are able to look at failure as a teacher instead of something unpleasant, it loses its’ ability to cause you fear.
Thomas Edison, one of the greatest inventors in history, understood this concept very well when he said:
“I never failed once. It just happened to be a 2000-step process.”
7. Failure Is Nothing Personal
Failure is about results and nothing more. It isn’t a personality trait.
If you tried something and you failed, it doesn’t mean that you are failure. All it means is that the approach you tried failed.
Don’t take failure personally. Instead, use it as a measuring tool to determine how effective your last attempt was. As long as you don’t give up, you haven’t failed, you are simply learning and growing.
Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back any longer. Start using these tips today and start enjoying a life lived to your fullest potential.