The fear of failure is one of the most oppressive fears that a person can have. It is crippling to your personal development and future success because it stops you from taking action. It hinders us from taking the first step forward toward a new life and setting in action any plan that would help improve our situation. In fact, the fear of failure can not only stop us from formulating a plan, it can stop us from even desiring success.
Failure is an extremely important aspect of success! This may appear a strange statement but it is very true. Successful people use failure as a measuring stick against which they gauge how close they are to success – the more failed attempts they have then the closer they are to finding a way that will work!
Successful people and high achievers don’t recognise the word failure. They merely see temporary set-backs. They don’t see obstacles, they see challenges.
They don’t take criticism or rejection as permanent or personal, they view these things as learning experiences that they use to help them formulate new plans. On some occasions they use rejection and criticism as a mechanism to motivate themselves, an “I’ll show you” kind of attitude takes over.
It is through our mistakes that we learn. Take the obvious (and perhaps over-worked) example of a very young child. How many times does a child fall down before it learns to stand? How many times does the same child fall over before it learns to walk? The child does not know or acknowledge its own limitations and therefore through trial and error it succeeds in taking its first steps.
If a child was emotionally crippled by the fear of failing it would never attempt to walk. We have a natural inbuilt ability to accept failure as a learning opportunity. However as we grow a vast majority of us are bombarded with the limiting beliefs of our parents and peers and we begin to take on a ‘fear of failure’ attitude which we carry through to adulthood.
There are some simple steps that you can begin which will eliminate the fear of failure from your consciousness and help you move forward in your personal development.
Motivate yourself to take action! Many times people are aware of what they should do and what they need to do in order to bring them closer to their goals but they just refuse to do it. Bite the bullet and take action – any action – just do something!
Don’t worry about getting it wrong! Don’t wait for the best plan just take some action now! Even if it brings you further away from your goal at least you have learned what not to do! As you take small action steps you will feel less and less fear each time.
Be persistent and don’t quit! As the old saying goes “there is no such thing as failure only giving up”. Keep trying until you reach your goal. The laws of averages say that eventually you will succeed. Learn from your mistakes, study the people who have already achieved that which you wish to achieve and the ‘odds’ start to get stacked in your favour.
Use failure, criticism and seeming rejection to your advantage. Listen to the lesson that is disguised as a failure. Learn from it. If you try to stay objective about the criticism, rejection or failure and view the situation as though it were happening to someone else, by refusing to take it personally, you will find the lesson that will bring you closer to the correct course of action that will lead to success.
Ponder the Chinese definition of insanity which is, “doing the same things in the same way but expecting a different result”! Try different approaches. If you keep doing what you have always done then you will keep getting what you have always got. Experiment and try to find out how others succeeded to see if you can emulate their approach and gain the same results. Don’t be afraid to change direction if you try something and it isn’t working – you haven’t failed you have just moved one step closer to a way that will work.
Change your self-talk. Having decided to use your temporary set-backs as learning experiences ask yourself how best you can achieve your goal. Don’t beat yourself up. Use quality questions to get quality answers. Ask yourself “what can I learn from this set-back that I can use to get to my goal even quicker?” Asking yourself positively stated questions will force your mind to look for answers that will help you. Asking negative questions like “oh not another failure, am I ever going to reach my goal?” will stimulate your mind to give you negative responses.
Know that every cloud has a silver lining! Try to identify at least one opportunity that has arisen from your set-back. Brain-storm.
Fail as much as you need to and be proud of it! The most successful people in the world are the biggest failures. Each time you get it wrong you get closer to getting it right and you build in yourself character, strength, fortitude, confidence and durability. Don’t get addicted to failure but do use it to move you forward.
Do something that frightens you! If a course of action makes you feel uneasy or fearful that you might fail they definitely do it. You will find that you don’t die just because you never reached your goal this time. Just keep plugging away until you get the break-through.