The Fear Of Failure

Lesson number: 

We all have fears. Even those among us with the strongest wills or the mightiest physical or mental strengths experience the fear of failure. It's as natural to fear the unknown as it is to brush your teeth in the morning. We can all probably recall hundreds of fears we have had during our lifetime. But should the fear of failure stop us from doing what we know is right for us? In this week's lesson, we'll discuss how to deal with the fear of failure!

Keep the following statement in mind when you start to get that knot in your stomach from the fear of failure - "The most successful people in the history of mankind, have experienced the majority of the failures on the planet!" That's a pretty profound statement to make. I have derived this statement from my studies of the biographies of successful people throughout history. For example do you think we would have a light bulb today, if Thomas Edison didn't fail 10,000 times before one actually worked? Or, would you like to guess at the number of plane crashes and failures that took place before the Wright Brothers finally got it right?

It's OK to experience the fear of failure. But it's not OK if that fear of failure STOPS you from moving forward and taking ACTION on your goals and objectives. You will never progress in your life if you succumb to INACTION because you are afraid that you will not succeed.

Consider the following statement from Mark Twain, "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear..... not absence of fear." Twain correctly points out that even the most courageous among us experience fear. They just deal with it differently. They boldly confront their fears instead of letting their fears stop them.

Just take a good look around you and see many of the activities you fear. While you may be avoiding these activities, others are performing them each and every day. Don't think for one moment that everyone who successfully performs in their job or activity did not have to overcome the fear of failure. Every single human being who ever walked this planet experienced the fear of failure!

Johnny Carson, Barbara Streisand and the greatest performers, athletes and statesmen, had knots in their stomachs before their performances; even after decades of experience. But their fears did not stop them from improving and becoming better with each and every performance. Or, how would you like to be an 18 year old freshman college football player who has to play his first game before 90,000 screaming fans. Talk about the ultimate fear of failure. But every weekend these kids overcome their fears and are on the field doing their best and growing more confident each week. Their fears never disappear. They just learn to deal with them and grow from every mistake and failure.

Many times, the fear of failure stems from the fear of the unknown. But this is the natural state of our being. Every single person has only tiny fragments of knowledge when compared to all of the possible knowledge in the universe. A veterinarian knows a lot about animals, but may know very little about finance. A television executive can know the entertainment business very well, but may have no idea about microbiology.

In other words, you can be a billionaire and a PhD with multiple degrees, but ignorance is still a part of every person's natural state of being. Every person is faced with situations as to which he or she has no idea of what to do because he or she simply doesn't know. Every person is faced with a future that is unknown. Predictions can be made and probabilities can be estimated, but in the end, there are an infinite number of variables that make it impossible for anyone to know EXACTLY how the results of any activity you engage in will actually turn out.

Since every single human must live according to these conditions, it leaves only the choice of how it is to be dealt with: Do you move forward in spite of your fear of failure, or do you let the fear of failure stop you dead in your tracks?

The person who proceeds in spite of fear gives himself the opportunity to succeed. The person who backs down because of fear never gives himself a chance.

So the next time you feel that FEAR OF FAILURE coming on, rest assured that there's plenty of company in this world who have similar fears. The key is not to let your fear of failure stop you. Instead, think about how great you will feel by overcoming it. Think about that courageous 18 year old who kicks the winning touchdown before 90,000 fans, especially when he was scared to death to play in that game 24 hours prior to kick-off. That's how to overcome FEAR!