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Why People Fear Failure

Fear of failure can hold you back if you let it. Instead of worrying about what other people think let go of your fears and experience the freedom to succeed or fail without shame

No-one likes to be thought of as a failure, however failing isn’t always a bad thing. Not succeeding the first or even second time around can help us learn. So why is it that we cringe at the mere thought of failure and hang our heads in shame when we don’t achieve our goals?

Perhaps the greatest problem we associate with failure has to do with how we imagine other people view us. The idea that they may not hold us in high regard can be responsible for us holding back instead of trying something new. It can also be the cause of us feeling wretched and losing confidence when we try but don’t succeed.

Fear of failure is likely to stem from shame. Shame is a useless emotion unless an immoral act is committed and it prevents someone from repeating the performance. Apart from on such an occasion it can cause deep pain and lower self esteem. The shame we believe failure will bring is far worse than not succeeding.

Most people would fear failure much less if they could be sure no-one was going to judge them. Without anyone to see their failure, or think badly of them they would have no reason to worry.

Interestingly the shame many of us feel when we fail stems from an illusion which is self imposed. Much of the time we imagine that other people judge us harshly, or even that they care as deeply about our successes and failures as we do personally. People who really do care aren’t ashamed or disappointed in us if we don’t get things right all the time. The shame we feel can be put down to how we think other people see us.

This is why fear of failure ultimately comes from low self esteem. It is low self esteem which makes us judge ourselves harshly and leads us to imagine other people do too. Once we become more confident we can gain self belief and are less likely to blame ourselves so badly when we don’t achieve our aims.

People who have high self esteem are less likely to look to themselves when a mistake occurs, and they don’t always blame themselves when failure happens. They look outside of themselves for an explanation, and then try again until they succeed. Someone with low self esteem on the other hand disregards outsides influences and immediately sees themselves as the cause of having failed.

If you are afraid to step into the unknown and try new things or to follow your dreams don’t let insecurity hold you back. That nagging, nervous voice inside of you which tells you not to try in case you fail is low self esteem talking, and isn’t an indication of your skills and capabilities.

Everyone fails now and then. Failure is a necessary part of growth, as without it there would be times when no learning takes place. There is no shame in failure, apart from that which you imagine.

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Comments (9)

Yes we must remember to judge those around us a little less harshly... fear of failure can be devastating to some.

Excellent!

Informative!

An informative and inspiring write. Out for a vote so FB liked and buzzed up my friend, thanks.

Ranked #1 in Psychology

Many thanks!

Everything you said is true and imagining what people think or say about you can cause anxiety as well. I found that I project alot about things that may or may not happen as well. I found if I think about something or analyze the possibilities before I do something like stand on a chair to change a light bulb. Fear starts to overcome me but if I only focus on the job at hand and just do it without thinking of falling off the chair. I can change the light bulb with no problem. Every time I get a negative thought I stop it and change it to a positive thought it took practice but now I don't get anxiety. Great Article

Ranked #1 in Psychology

Thank-you Tammy, and what good advice from you about concentrating on the job in hand to prevent anxiety.

What a really great read. Good job.

Ranked #1 in Psychology

Thanks Martin, I appreciate your comment!

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