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Fear of failure

How many people have issues that hold them back from doing things? How many people are unable to move forward on their ideas, goals, dreams, desires and hopes, because of the fears that they have surrounding them? How many people are so paralysed by fear that doing nothing is safer for them than actually facing their fears?

I think it’s most people.

Most people are paralysed by fear of some kind, which holds them back from doing what they really want to do. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of embarrassment, fear of change, fear of shame, fear of being wrong, fear of dying, fear of pain, fear of losing something, fear of gaining something, and even fear of fear itself. There’s so many more fears out there, but I don’t have the time or inclination to fill a book full of them. I’m sure you get the picture.

It’s just so much easier to go through life avoiding those things that cause fear. The problem is, however, that when you spend so much time avoiding fear, you never actually do anything worthwhile. You miss out on your potential. You miss out on achieving your dreams, your desires, and all those things that would give you happiness, because you’re afraid to do what it takes to get them.

And that’s really the basis of it. You’re afraid to do what it takes to get what you want, because the fear of failing – for whatever reason – is so strong that it’s hard to shrug off. When you think about what might happen to you if you fail, it overshadows what might happen if you succeed.

This results in your fear of failing. You’re so afraid, you don’t do anything to move forward towards success. You stay exactly where you are. Sure, you might make a few token gestures, to appease yourself and those around you, but you know the truth. You’re not going anywhere! In your mind, the pain of failure is simply too great.

Well I have some bad news for you. You’ve already failed.

There. I said it. You’re a failure. You haven’t achieved what you wanted to achieve, because you haven’t done what you needed to do. You’ve failed. FAILED.

How does that feel?

Does it feel any different to how you felt only 5 minutes ago?

Now that you know you’ve failed, is the fear of failure really worth anything? Has it given you a heart attack, to know that you’ve failed? Have you been banished by your family, forever cast out? Have you been hit by a lightning bolt from heaven?

Has anything really changed in your life?

No, it hasn’t. You’ve failed at achieving your goals. You realise that now. It’s the very act of not acting that has resulted in your failure. And yet life goes on!

So really, failing isn’t that bad, is it? The pain of failure isn’t that bad.

So now that you know failing doesn’t really change anything, how about trying to succeed? If you fail, it doesn’t matter! The difference to failing by doing nothing, and failing at attempting something is zero. Zilch. Nada. There is no difference. You’re a failure if you don’t do anything, and you might be a failure if you do something!

But what if, in the attempt at achieving your goals, you actually succeed?

Wow, that’s an interesting concept, isn’t it. Actually succeeding at something. Is that possible?

I don’t know. You don’t know. No one knows! The only way to know is to attempt it. And if you fail at the attempt, as you’ve just worked out, there’s absolutely no difference to your life and your feelings than how you are right now.

Failure brings nothing more than what you have now.

Do you understand that? If you fail in your attempts at achieving your goals, you are simply back in the place you’re at right now. Nothing changes.

Well, something changed. You tried to do something! You took a step, or even a number of steps, at achieving those dreams you have. You’re actually those few steps closer to achieving those dreams.

Why? How are you closer if you failed?

Because you took the steps to get there, that’s why. Taking the steps has gotten you closer to your goals, even if you’ve failed along the way.

When you walk along a path and you trip and fall down, you learn what to look out for. You learn to look out for the tree roots or logs that are on the path, so that you can step over them. The more you trip, the more you’ll learn about what to look out for.

The more you fail, the more you learn about why you fail, and the more you learn about what not to do.

Failing is actually a blessing in disguise, because it’s helping you change your approach to something else that will succeed. Every time you fail, it’s teaching you about what you shouldn’t be doing.

Learn from your failures so that you can use them to get to your successes faster. Don’t be afraid of failing. Be afraid of never trying.

By following these principles you’ll find that after a few failures you’ll have a few successes. You’ll be amazed at your good fortune! And then you might fail again. Don’t let it bother you. Just remember it’s teaching you how to succeed.

Use the fear of failure to drive you to succeed, by knowing that if you don’t try, you’ve truly failed. And you don’t want that, do you?

So go out there and fail. Go on. I dare you. I double dare you. Keep on trying to fail! The only difference between trying to fail and doing nothing is that trying to fail will accidentally give you a few successes. Doing nothing will give you nothing.

So happy failing!

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