Is Fear of Failure Impeding you from Moving Ahead?
Jan 27, 2023

It was one of those bright winter mornings when out of the blue my friend pinged me “Hey, Are You Atychiphobic?”
Confused, I only replied then with.. “What? No!”

Later on while surfing the web I found out that, Atychiphobia is the abnormal, unwarranted, and persistent fear of failure, a type of specific phobia. As with many phobias, atychiphobia often leads to a constricted lifestyle, and is particularly devastating for its effects on a person’s willingness to attempt certain activities.

Well we all have different definitions of failure, simply because we all have different benchmarks, values, and belief systems. A failure to one person might simply be a great learning experience for someone else. Failure can be defined as the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective, and may be viewed as the opposite of success. We’re conditioned to fear failure, as if lack of failure guarantees success. The reality is that lack of failure equals lack of risk-taking, which is required for meaningful success.

Fear of failure (“atychiphobia”) is when we allow that fear to stop us doing the things that can move us forward to achieve our goals. Ummm.. So YES a part of me is atychiophobic! In fact under certain criteria we all fear failure, be it Fear of failure to anticipate, Fear of failure to perceive, Fear of failure to carry out a task.

“Failure” — A Matter of Perspective

Don’t you agree??
Answer to yourself, have you ever been so afraid of failing at something that you decided not to try it at all? Or has a fear of failure meant that, subconsciously, you undermined your own efforts to avoid the possibility of a larger failure?

Many of us have probably experienced this at one time or another. The fear of failing can be immobilizing — it can cause us to do nothing, and therefore resist moving forward. But when we allow fear to stop our forward progress in life, we’re likely to miss some great opportunities along the way.

Signs of Fear of Failure:
· A reluctance to try new things or get involved in challenging projects.
· Self-sabotage — for example, procrastination, excessive anxiety , or a failure to follow through with goals.
· Low self-esteem or self-confidence — commonly using negative statements such as “I’ll never be good enough to get that promotion,” or “I’m not smart enough to get on that team.”
· Perfectionism — A willingness to try only those things that you know you’ll finish perfectly and successfully.

Failure isn’t holding you back: fear of failure is.

It’s almost impossible to go through life without experiencing some kind of failure. People who do so probably live so cautiously that they go nowhere. Put simply, they’re not really living at all. The wonderful thing about failure is that it’s entirely up to us to decide how to look at it.

It’s easy to find successful people who have experienced failure.
For example:

· Michael Jordan is widely considered to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time. And yet, he was cut from his high school basketball team because his coach didn’t think he had enough skill.

· Warren Buffet, one of the world’s richest and most successful businessmen, was rejected by Harvard University.

· Richard Branson, owner of the Virgin empire, is a high school dropout.

The internet is filled with such examples. But can only reading about them really help?? Overcoming fear of failure is not easy by any means, but it can be done, especially if you are determined to take your personal growth to the next level.

While trying to learn about the same, I came across these wonderful yet simple ways to overcome the ‘Fear of Failure’:

  1. Identify the Root Cause
    Where does your fear of failure originate?
    Sit down, take a few deep breaths, ask yourself when your fear of failure was formed, and observe what you see, feel, or hear.
    “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald

  2. Simplify
    Complexity is hard to visualize, and if you try, you will feel overwhelmed. Everything will feel hopeless and not worth doing, because you just don’t know how.
    Find your passion, and boldly go where you have never gone before.
    “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” — Leonardo da Vinci

  3. Failure is Inevitable
    If you want the life of your dreams, make failure a part of your life. Embrace it.
    “It is foolish to fear what you cannot avoid.” — Publius Syrus

  4. Fail More. Succeed More.
    The more you fail, the more you succeed.
    The difference between the successful and the not-yet-successful is the realization that failure is simply a stepping stone, not a permanent event.
    “There is no failure. Only feedback.” — Robert Allen

  5. Failure is Temporary
    Failure feels permanent, but it isn’t. You and I both know that, but we don’t act like it is so. Most people never stop to observe their thoughts. And they never stop to ponder that their thoughts could be wrong.
    Why give your thoughts all that authority if they make you feel bad?
    “Failure is an event, never a person.” — William D. Brown

  6. Shift Your Perspective
    Who taught you that failure was a bad thing? It feels bad, so it must be bad. Is that really true?
    “Failure teaches success.” — Japanese Saying

  7. Embrace Fear
    Everyone is afraid to one degree or another. No one is different. It’s ingrown into our biological mechanism.
    “We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

  8. Take Action
    We have more knowledge at our fingertips now than ever before in history. The internet gives you access to endless amounts of courses, guides, and training programs. No matter what you want to do, you can learn. It’s fantastic.
    “I failed my way to success.” — Thomas Edison

  9. Stay in the Now
    Most of us live in either the past or in the future. We regret what we’ve done (or not done), or we worry about what’s to come. Accept the gift that is the present moment.
    Breathe, smell, hear, and enjoy who you are, right now. You already have the key to your happiness.
    “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” — Buddha


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