You cannot win any competition if you do not participate and under no circumstances can you become stronger if you do not face obstacles or challenges. However, many of us ignore these universal laws and are no longer evolving. One reason is precisely the fear of failure – one of our allies that we turned into enemies!
I have often heard that “it is not worthwhile” to complete a certain project, because the effort and the risks are too great. Some even said it was impossible, because if it had been possible, others would have succeeded so far! Many times we are able to cope with such “encouragements” that come from outside and find arguments against them. Some very pertinent! But what happens when those who tell us these paralyzing things are ourselves? And this process does not necessarily happen consciously. Are we still as capable of dealing with these mental barriers?
Fear of failure is real! It is not one of the monsters invented by Hollywood screenwriters to keep us in front of the screens. No! It is one of those feelings that, at first, seem so gentle and harmless, and, later, turn into chains that are getting heavier. These chains are more dangerous because they do not cling; they are not visible and prevent us from evolving. They keep us in the past and make us believe that past victories give us the right to ask for more without investing any effort.
Fear of failure occurs inevitably every time we have a dream, a vision of our future where everything is better than today! It appears when we are about to start a major project and if we leave it, it will accompany us all the way to success. It will follow us step by step and will simply tell us that “it is not possible”, that “it is not worth it”, and that “we will fail”, or “the others will lose their respect for us” and that “we will never be able to restore our reputation.”
These are no new things! Surely, everyone has heard these sayings! So we wonder where and why they come from.
Perhaps, it is simpler to blame God, like we do most of the time, because He has not created us stronger from the beginning! But the fear of failure is something that, ultimately, belongs to us and is triggered by what we want! It is not God’s fault if we want to learn to play the violin and we fear that our friends will laugh at us when we will go together with a 6 year old kid to an instructor for beginners. At least “this time,” God cannot be blamed!
Then, maybe, we should blame the devil, what do you say? Is not he the deceiver? Is not he the one who is constantly fighting for the spreading of evil into the world? But if we go along this path, we must also accept that the devil works “with the material of the client”. That, in fact, he is the one who distorts reality so that evil can appear to us as a good thing. If we did not offer him that fear of ours, he would have no influence over us.
Consequently, if we want to be honest with ourselves, we have to admit that the fear of failure is a feeling that only belongs to us! And if it comes from the dark side of our mind, it means we can have control over it! That we can defeat it!
If we think better, we should not be afraid of fear! Fear is a useful feeling! God has endowed us with it in order to be careful, so that we do not become unprepared in the face of dangers. Therefore, a man who tells us that he has no fear should be looked upon with suspicion! The courageous ones are not those who have no fear, but those who have learned to control it!
Therefore, in the end, the fear of failure should be a good thing. It is a kind of fear that determines us to prepare as much as we can before starting a project and to take into account the risks that may arise. It’s an ally! The difficulties appear when this feeling takes control over our initiatives and blocks them! So, if you’ve been postponing a goal for too long, because it feels too difficult for you to do, and you are afraid of being criticized if you do not succeed, you are afraid of failure.
From my point of view, the fear of failure comes from pride and laziness. Pride tells us, “I am someone and I cannot afford to fail! If I fail, my reputation will suffer”. Well, those who have succeeded in life have taken the risk of being ridiculed! Thomas Edison is the best example. He tried 1000 times before he invented the light bulb!
The great basketball player Michael Jordan never hesitated during the crucial moments of the game to take the ball and throw it into the basket. He was the captain of the team and it was his duty! Even if he sometimes missed and the team lost important matches because of him, he assumed these defeats. He certainly did not like to lose, but it did not scare him either. Later, he would recognize, the shots that made him evolve were the missed balls at the crucial moments of the game.
Pride also appears in another form! “Why start this project? That would mean I have to change! Does that mean I’m not good as I am?“ Sure you are! But you can be better! And you have the duty to make yourself better constantly! In your own rhythm! It is important that you never lose sight of the fact that life’s purpose is not to live in the past, endlessly reminding you of victories from another time!
If you only do this, you are wasting the gifts that God has endowed you with! I mean, you’re lazy! Usually lazy people come with their version of fear of failure. “I am good as I am! Why should I put so much effort into something that might not succeed in order to work afterwards to recover? ”
Businessmen, army leaders, heads of state, all are forced to make complicated decisions. Therefore, they decide to take advantage of certain opportunities, and to reject others. But they are aware that no matter what they do, there will be consequences that involve risks, which they take into account. Which they assume!
We do the same, but on a much smaller scale. And we choose to do or not do things. But if we do not put to a good use the gifts with which we have been endowed by God, over time, we are consumed by remorse when we feel and know that we should evolve and we hesitate.
Practically, we want progress, but we want it without being willing to make efforts and without taking risks. We want it without our pride being hurt and without our image being affected. And, because we are afraid to start, we would like the world to stand still. To wait for us! But this is not right! God created us for greatness, for endless progress, and, through our constant hesitation, we fight against His will.
In addition, envy appears. It does not bother me that I live badly, as long as you live as bad as I am or even worse. Why? Because when you have a better life, you put pressure on me, you get me out of my comfort zone! Indirectly, you tell me the truth about me: “It can be done and is worth it! And you, instead of making an effort to motivate yourself for success, you have made the same effort, even greater, to create in your mind barriers to protect you from “failure.”
This is the bad news! But, as usual, there is good news too! And the most important thing is that the fear of failure can be overcome! For some it is more difficult, for others it will be easier, but each of us can defeat it.
The most important example is the fact that we are walking. The child, when he learns to walk, falls and rises, falls and rises, falls and rises … and repeats this behavior until he can walk and even run. He does not give up after the first falls, although he can hurt himself. He has a goal and is not discouraged! He, simply, goes ahead!
Each of us has everything one needs to overcome this fear of failure. But, somewhere along the way, it gets stronger than it should, and that’s because we let that happen.
Because the fear of failure arises out of pride, it can be overcome by the opposite of the latter, by humility, which involves asking for help from God and others. Saints are examples of humility, because they are no longer afraid of failure. They know it is in the human nature to fall and rise. They accept that they might be wrong and, therefore, it makes no sense to be proud.
But, unlike us, they continue to progress. They know that God will forgive them every time, if they do not despair and do not stop from their spiritual ascension! Therefore, no matter how long they will be tempted by the devils, by the world or by their own mind, they will continue their spiritual journey! And that makes them winners!
Practically, you fail only when you stop doing what you have proposed!
We also have to be aware that the failure also has its good parts! It tests our character; it erases our pride and helps us to value what we have achieved and what we have become throughout our lives. Failure helps us to understand that if everything is easy, we will not cherish anything!
That is why, the first step to control our fear of failure is to begin to capitalize on what we want to become. If we do not understand that what we want is valuable, because it is difficult to achieve, we cannot win.
We must prepare our minds to understand that the difficulty involves temporary failures and pains! You cannot grow your muscles without hurting! You cannot learn mathematics without bothering your head with more complex problems and you cannot learn judo without falling!
Then, it is important to believe that we can do what we propose. If, so far, we have lived according to the dictum “I will believe, when I see!” we have to change our mentality and we have to follow the “I will see when I believe” principle! The fact that we can fly by plane is due precisely to “dreamers” who first thought they could fly and then they make their dream come true.
Today, much of psychological training of the elite athletes is focused on mentally viewing the victory. Yes! The great athletes of the world, firstly, see themselves as winners, after that they believe this in their whole being, and, then, this vision becomes a prophecy that fulfill itself. Basically, they are programming themselves for success!
But it is not enough just to dream! We have to make an effort too! In order not to give to the mind time to wander, it is advisable to impose a routine that does not give time to the fear of failure to manifest itself. In military barracks or athletes’ training camps, everything is scheduled to the second. You do not have much time for yourself and your thoughts. And the results speak for themselves. The mind is focused on what to do, and the fear of failure simply does not have time to appear! It is replaced by action!
For this, it is important to change our environment and entourage. Let us eliminate the temptations that make us have habits we do not want and introduce those stimuli that make us trigger the desired behaviors. If you do not want to watch TV so often and start reading at least the books of childhood, I think it would be a good idea to take the TV out of the house and install a bookcase in its place. But if you do not have any books in your house and most of your acquaintances have read only Christmas cards in the last year, then it is recommended that you do something about it.
In the end, everything is quite simple: we must recognize that the fear of failure exists in all people and that it can be controlled. For this, it is important to accept that we are human and that we are subjected to mistakes. That means we have to be humble. Let us be willing to ask for help and inspire ourselves from those who have succeeded. They will show us that failure is just a part from the road to success.
In addition, we must know that God has created us for progress, and if we do not evolve, it means we do not fulfill His will. Everyone has his own rhythm of development and, therefore, what matters is never to stop. Fear of failure is not a solution, it is another obstacle! And this obstacle can be overcome! None of those who have succeeded in life said it was easy! But none of them said it was impossible!
You have to bear in mind that the quiet sea does not make skilled sailors! And if you, however, are wrecked, look to heaven and you will understand that if what you have proposed is not against the will of God, you will receive help!