Freedom Lifestyle
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Freedom Lifestyle

What is Fear of Failure and How to Overcome it

Understanding it for what it is not is the key to dealing with and conquering it.

Photo by Ian Kim on Unsplash

There are many books and articles written about the fear of failure and how to overcome it. It is a hot topic in the self-development circles. But I find the whole idea absurd. Now, hear me out.

It is human nature to avoid or run from things we fear. If we had a fear of failure, we would avoid failure as if it was a plague, and as a result, succeed. Since success is always our goal, wouldn’t that make fear of failure our ally? But that’s not how we see or approach it.

Understanding Fear of Failure

What is generally referred to as fear of failure is a fear of not succeeding. I know it sounds like semantics, but it’s not.

“Failures I consider valuable negative information, information essential to each step getting closer to the moon.” Dr. Robert H Goddard

It is assumed that we avoid taking action because we’re afraid that we will fail. The fact is that actions always produce results. They may be the desired results, or they may be something other than what we expected. If we get the desired results, we label it a success; otherwise, we label it a failure. But is it really a failure? Or is it just not a success?

According to Dr. Goddard, the pioneer of Rocket Science in the 20th Century, it is just data. It is information essential to the next step. It is a part of the process of getting to a successful outcome.

When we say fear of failure, what we’re referring to, is the fear of not getting the desired result. However, avoiding action means getting no results, which is the ultimate failure.

What does truly terrifies you?

Now that we understand that what we refer to as failure is just getting results other than what we were expecting, the question begs, “What are we really afraid of?”

Are you afraid of being ridiculed by friends and family because you didn’t get the results you wanted?

Are you afraid that you might lose time and money?

Are you afraid that you’ll lose face or self-confidence?

These are not the fear of failure, per se. These are different fears and require different solutions. They can be the cause of avoidance or delay of success, but they’re certainly not fear itself.

Here is another perspective

As I mentioned earlier, the fear of failure is, in fact, the fear of not succeeding. If you’ve studied the psychology of success, you know that the subconscious mind controls all our automatic responses and plays a significant role in how we react to any given situation.

The subconscious mind uses pictures, not words, to communicate. If I say monkey, You’ll envision an image of a monkey, not the letters M-O-N-K-E-Y. It is said that the subconscious does not hear no or not. So when we refer to the fear of not succeeding, what it hears is fear of succeeding.

So, when we say fear of failure (which means fear of not succeeding), could it be that we are referring to our fear of success? Are we disguising our fear of success by calling it a fear of failure, because it is more palatable? And if it is, in fact, the fear of success that we’re experiencing, then it makes a perfect sense to avoid taking action because it will guarantee zero results, and we will have avoided what we fear.

To sum it up, here is what we got.

It is in our nature to avoid or run from that which we fear.

What we call the fear of failure is not the fear of failure, because if it were, we’d avoid or run from failure and reach success.

You’re fooling yourself by disguising the real fears in the form of the fear of failure because it is easier to accept and digest.

The so-called fear of failure is either the fear of success or the fear of societal rejection and ridicule.

Once we come to terms with what it is a disguise for, we can then proceed to deal with the real fear.

You can let others tell you what it means to be successful, or you can decide it for yourself.”

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Rasheed Hooda

Rasheed Hooda

Self-proclaimed weirdo. Jack of Many Trades, Master of Some. Author, Speaker, Photographer. He walked on Route 66 Chicago to L.A.