Fear of Failure ‘” What is Failure? How Do You Define It?

Often times we are afraid to do new things. We tend to be anxious, afraid, and worry. We like the comfort zone, status quo. Why is that? Fear of failure, fear of unknown, fear of uncertainty, especially these days when you take tests, attend interviews nothing come up. Do not give up!

What is failure? It is a mind set. You do something, expect a certain result and when you don’t get the result that you expected you define it as a failure. I say there is no such thing as failure. It is only an outcome of a cause. Every action has a reaction, consequence. Often times we tend to indulge in self-pity ie.’poor me’ attitude. When you get a result you did not desire, just pick yourself up and keep on trying again and again. It is best to learn from such experiences and take a detour whenever necessary. The so called failure, not getting the desired result, is part of life. Above all we learn what not to do. Thomas Edison tried more than 1000 times in the process of inventing the light bulb and the way he phrased his experience was that he had found out the number of attempts that he knew for sure will not work’, and did not say he failed that many times.

It is important we look at it with an open mind in a positive perspective and learn from them. Such experiences show us our shortcomings, limitations, imperfections, and the areas in which we need improvement.

Once I was procrastinating to take a test due to the fear of failure when my supervisor Mrs. Edge told me twenty years ago and I still remember, ‘only when you take the test you’ll know your weakness, then you can work on it. If you don’t take the test you’ll never know your weakness and you’ll be where you are today’ what a different perspective! Why didn’t I think that way? I truly appreciated her guidance and took my test. I passed in two areas out of three and cleared the third one within the next six months. Fear of failure can cause paralysis, meaning you don’t take action; thereby you don’t move forward and let the life dictate your course than you leading an enjoyable, meaningful, rewarding life. Don’t let that happen to you.

There is a famous quote, ‘winners never quit and quitters never win’ this stays with me every day and in everything I do. Give yourself an opportunity to move forward.

When you don’t get the desired result, change your strategy, looks for a different avenue. If that doesn’t work, detour again. Keep on trying. It is as simple as when you’re driving there is a road block, construction. Do you just stop there? No, you detour, find the side streets, toll roads and get where you need to go. You may reach little late but reach your destination. Life is exactly the same way.

As long as you can think and act there is no danger in your life. Fear is nothing but your thoughts that leads to anxiousness. You have the opportunity to change your direction towards your destination. Take control of your thoughts and act towards the desired direction. You can procrastinate, run away, or you can face the challenge head on. You can pierce through the challenges with courage and grow from such an experience.

When you are afraid, you tend to be one or more of the following. Try to identify these behaviors so you can work on them. These can appear in day to day life, while in college or before exams, while dating or buying a home or taking you new tasks or responsibilities at work.

1. You are extremely cautious of every stride. You tend to check for precision in everything in every step of the way. This can lead to losing the view of the bigger picture and too much focus on the details. Sometimes, you just have to keep moving and fixing as you go along. Too much of that could lead to hasty decisions as well. You need to strike a balance.

2. You are anxious and doubt your decision. Tend to do a postmortem on the decisions you already made. This leads to self doubt, low self esteem, diffident and insecure feeling.

3. Now you wonder whether what you really want to do, whether to take action or not which is indecision. This is sitting on the fence unable to choose the direction you want to go.

4. Indecision creates lack of interest to those challenges; you tend to avoiding even thinking about those challenges and postpone taking any action. If you notice yourself dragging your feet and putting off doing things, stop right there, reflect on your goal, your paths taken and detour.

There is no reason for you to fear – Steven Covey defines fear as ‘False Evidence Appearing as Real’. Very true!

Finally, take life easy, do your best every day, enjoy the opportunities you have and cherish the experiences.