Fear of Failure

How to Overcome the Fear of Failure?

Did you know that the young Walt Disney was fired from the newspaper because he “was deprived of imagination and good ideas”? Or that the well-known TV presenter, Oprah Winfrey, had to leave her first TV show because the management did not like how she looked in the frame? And how many times did Henry Ford go bankrupt before making it big? Each of us can talk about the difficult way up the career ladder of other famous people or their acquaintances. Why, then, knowing a lot of such stories, we are so afraid of defeat? Why do we still have fear? And the most important question – how to stop being afraid?

Are Students Afraid Too?

For students, for example, the biggest fear is to fail an exam. It can ruin all their plans for education and sometimes for their entire future career. Another fear of failure inherent to students is to fail submitting written assignments on time – as they pile up, and later you can’t deal with a writing load at needed speed. That is why so many students rightfully address essay writing services online when they get anxious about deadlines. However, though getting papers online from time to time is not a bad idea, there is more you can do to overcome the fear of failure.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Of course, it is very important to take into account all the risks and take measures to avoid them. But many people confuse reasonable prudence with the fear of failure. They dream of reaching the heights in their careers, but they do not do anything for that with an equal account, finding all possible explanations: “It’s a bad time,” “the boss does not love me,” “it’s very difficult to find a new job now,” etc. It seems to them that these are quite logical explanations. But in fact, all these are just empty excuses, and their main reason is fear.

A person who is afraid of failing, remembers all his unpleasant situations and lives with thoughts about difficulties. For him, the most important thing is not to get the desired but to avoid new possible failures. Therefore, he can not get more than he already has.

How to Overcome?

1. Understand that failures are part of your journey. Many are terribly worried about their blunders. Yes, failing is always unpleasant, but often it is impossible to avoid. When you start working in an uncharted area or take on new job responsibilities, you are 100% likely to make mistakes. If you want to move forward and not stand still – learn to take them calmly, without doing every tragedy. We must accept the fact that defeat is inevitable on the way to a successful career, and take them as a given.

2. Learn from your mistakes. You worked hard on the project in the hope of achieving the highest results, but nothing happened? It’s not scary. Moreover, to some extent, it’s even good. After all, now you will be able to understand what you cannot do, what you no longer need to do, and correct it. All people experience failures, and more than once. But some after that only complained, while others analyzed why they made a mistake and did everything to avoid repeating it in the future. Failures pushed them to further professional development. Therefore, do not think that your losses hinder your career. On the contrary, they give you the opportunity to learn something new in order to achieve your goals.

3. Imagine the worst-case scenario. If you cannot cope with possible defeats, an alternative method will help you overcome your fear. Imagine what you have to face if everything goes the way you planned. Think of the worst that can happen in such a case. To overcome the fear of failure, Tim Ferris in his book “The Four-Hour Working Week” recommends asking: “If you run after your dreams and fall face down, what will be the worst scenario for this, how long will it take to recover?”. Oddly enough, but when you answer it, you calm down. Often, when we understand what we have to face, it is not as terrible as we imagined.

4. Get rid of the estimated dependence. It is enough to stop being afraid of critics of others, and the fear of failure will pass by itself. You need to stop evaluating your actions through the prism of how others see them. To do this, it is recommended to do something unusual. For example, you can wear non-standard clothes. So, the Soviet physicist Lev Landau occasionally strolled down the street in a hat, to which a balloon was tied. And those who are bolder can recite the verse of their beloved poet in a public place. All this is rubbish, you think. But do not rush to conclusions. Doing something unusual and out of the ordinary people develop self-confidence and learn not to depend on the opinions and expectations of others.

5. Do what you fear. As psychologists say, only ordinary, predictable things happen in the comfort zone, and beyond its borders – miracles happen. Getting out of it is always both interesting and scary at the same time, as it is fraught with various unforeseen circumstances and, of course, failures.

In order not to be afraid to do something new and risky, do things every day that you haven’t decided before. It should not be something global – start small. For example, start a conversation with a stranger, go to an interview, even if you do not need a job. Over time, you dare to take very serious steps. Do what you fear and the fear will disappear.


This is a collaborative post supporting our Peace In Peace Out initiative.

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