Further disclaimer: This post will contain some language.
The most common fear people have is the fear of failure. Some people may say that it is the fear of judgement and rejection. Those two things root in failure, or are pretty much the definition of failure. It keeps you from being the best version of yourself, and may even paralyze you physically. If either of these sound like you you may be looking for how you can overcome the fear of failure. In this post, I will explain how to overcome this paralyzing fear.
You will need to re-establish your life to overcome your fear of failure. It will require effort and sacrifices that sound unreal. In the end it is worth it.
Cut Out People Who Do Not Support You
People who hate you love to see you fail. It’s just another way for people to feel better off relatively.
People who care for you will love to see you succeed and will even celebrate your success. And when you fail – note I said when – they will comfort you.
There are plenty of assholes out there whose response to your failures would be to pull up a chair to watch you cry. There also plenty out there who will raise you up or give you a pat on the back when you need it. You have a choice of who is in your life. You can surround yourself with the assholes, or the people who will lift you up and make you less afraid of failure.
Your presence in anyone’s life is a privilege, not a right. You can and should remove everyone who makes you doubt yourself. This may be one of the hardest things to do one your steps to overcome your fear of failure. But ask yourself if your presence is earned easily, and if you want it to be easily earned.
This may sound like a lonely life, but I have done this as much as I could, I am married and have friends I stay in touch with during the best and worst of times. Granted, at the time this was published I have not physically seen them much. However, I would say I easily cut out 95% of people I used to consider close in my life.
Embrace Failure As The Stepping Stones They Are
I once told my students if they come to class and leave without thinking “I was stupid just a little while ago” that I failed them as a teacher. You are learning your entire life, and for the first quarter or so of your life it is your full time job. You cannot learn anything without embracing the fact that you lacked that knowledge before.
Most entrepreneurs claim failure is something you can learn from. How can you learn anything from failure if you did not lack knowledge before?
Failure is just another way to fill in gaps of your knowledge.
Failure Is An Inevitability
You need mental training to accept the inevitability of failure. One of the most extreme forms of mental training to accept failure is the sugar cookie in the Navy SEALs. Every day, your uniform needed to be perfect. It needed to be pressed, straightened, spotless, with everything at a certain alignment. There was not a single trainee who put on their uniform perfectly every time.
To discipline trainees who wore imperfect uniforms, the trainees were ordered to jump in water and roll in the sand. This coated them in sand, which might as well be tiny glass shards with many contaminants, just to help illustrate the pain. They trained the remainder of that day with tens of thousands of grains of sand cutting into their skin.
Why would they do that? Because a SEAL had to embrace the pain of failure. Failure is inevitable to a SEAL, and failure to a SEAL is frequently lethal. This reminds a SEAL that failure is inevitable, but also unacceptable. This is one of the greatest paradoxes in the world that you can only truly understand by forcing yourself through these mental strains.
How I Overcome The Fear Of Failure
There are two great truths I have accepted in the universe. Failure is inevitable. There is no point in fearing the inevitable.
If failure comes up, embrace it, learn from it, do what you can to try to avoid it. Of course there are failures that cause irreparable damage, but as established, that is inevitable. Will facing failures make you have more successful. I will not lie, that is not guaranteed. But the other choice is to not try anything. Do you really want to not try anything? And if I am going to try anything, I will do the best I can at it. When failure comes up, I will just deal with it because I do not have that much of a choice. Fear it or embrace it, failure is a force that does not care whether you want it or not.
However, embracing failure is one of the most freeing constructs you can have in life.