The fear of failure is not a bad thing in and of itself. But it’s how you respond to this fear. If it causes you to avoid experiences and give up on your dreams, then changing the way you handle your fear of failure will open a whole new world of possibilities to you.
It’s true: not succeeding is a possibility. And failing to achieve something would be a painful experience on many levels: emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially, socialy and intellectually.
But it’s the potential of failure that makes success taste so sweet.
However, if you’re so afraid of failing that it paralyzes you, and you don’t pursue your goals, then what can you do?
What can you do when you’re disheartened by previous experiences?
First, realize that in order to master any craft, in order to get good at anything, in order to make something happen, you need to fail. Repeatedly. Failure is a stepping stone to success.
But all the logical and reasonable thinking in the world doesn’t help you to overcome the fear of failure. All the thoughts are left brain stuff – but the fears that hold you back are right brain stuff, it’s pure emotion.
How can you change that?
The answer is: you can use the power of your subconscious mind to influence your emotions. Because you don’t have conscious control over your feelings. You can’t force yourself to stop being afraid of failing.
That’s why hypnosis is an ideal way to overcome the fear of failure – because with hypnotic suggestions, you can get “unstuck” from the fear and instead use the adrenaline to take action. And that’s the magic ingredient: taking action turns fear into courage.
Carol S. Deck distinguishes between a Growth Mindset and a Fixed Mindset.
- you welcome failures – even though you hope for success, you recognize: failure is information on how to do it better next time.
- you’re afraid of failures because it makes you question your abilities.
- you avoid taking on hard or challenging tasks, because you’re afraid that you could fail.
- “Cream rises to the top.”
When you currently have a fixed mindset, here’s a simple thing you can do to get more into a growth mindset. Answer the following questions:
“What are some things you thought you could never do, and then you did them?”
Peter Heslin has done this kind of mindset change work with managers. You can read more about the fixed and growth mindset in the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
It’s really worth to get back to that kind of childish mindset where you just live in a world of possibilities and aren’t scared of mistakes.
Walk in a kindergarten classroom and ask the kids if they know how to sing, dance or paint. And every kid will raise their hand and say, yes, I know how to do that.
But walk into a college classroom and ask the same question. And nobody will say they know how to do that. Just shows what happens with us as we “grow up” (and become small).
Don’t be afraid to fail. Embrace all possibilities: failure, defeat, victory, success: and then go for a win. Got a dream? Make it come true. Got a goal? Run for it. Got an idea? Make it happen!
Fear of Failure Quotes
It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.
– Theodore Roosevelt
I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.
– Michael Jordan
I failed my way to success.
– Thomas Edison
Try a thing you haven’t done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not.
– Virgil Thomson
What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?
– Vincent van Gogh
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
– Winston Churchill
You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.
– Johnny Cash
One who fears failure limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity to moreintelligently begin again.
– Henry Ford
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.
– Helen Keller
I don’t believe in failure. It is not failure if you enjoyed the process.
– Oprah Winfrey
If there exists no possibility of failure, then victory is meaningless.
– Robert H. Schuller
Without failure there is no sweetness in success. There’s no understanding of it.
– Glenn Beck
A man’s life is interesting primarily when he has failed–I well know.For it’s a sign that he tried to surpass himself.
– Georges Clemenceau
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one.
– Elbert Hubbard
Failure is success if we learn from it.
– Malcolm Forbes
If you’re doing your best, you won’t have any time to worry about failure.
– H. Jackson Brown
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
– Theodore Roosevelt
One of the reasons people stop learning is that they become less and less willing to risk failure.
– John W. Gardner
Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure it just means you haven’t succeeded yet.
– Robert H. Schuller
The only failure is not to try.
– George Clooney
No man is a failure who is enjoying life.
– William Feather
Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.
– Truman Capote
You always pass failure on your way to success.
– Mickey Rooney
They fail, and they alone, who have not striven.
– Thomas Bailey Aldrich
It’s not necessary to fear the prospect of failure but to be determined not to fail.
– Jimmy Carter
Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.
– Denis Waitley
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
– Winston Churchill
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.
– Charlie Chaplin
Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.
– George Edward Woodberry