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Fear of Failure

Does the fear of failure prevent you from living the life you want?

How many time have you heard someone say, “I’m not afraid to fail”? Perhaps you have said it yourself on more than one occasion. It sounds like the courageous, cliche response when confronting the possibility of failure. The reality is that the fear of failure is alive and well in all of us. Nobody wants to fail. We strive for success. We love the feeling of reaching our goals and knowing that all of our hard work and sacrifice was worth the effort. And when we come up short on realizing our goals, we experience pain. It’s this pain that we are programed to avoid. Therefore, we often trick ourselves into avoiding challenges that might very well result in failure. We’ll say, “I could have done this or that, but I didn’t really want to”. Or, “I could have been a (fill in the blank) but I just didn’t care to try. These are protection devices used to avoid potential pain. I hear it often when it comes to competition in Jiu-jitsu. A student will tell me that they would like to compete only to come up with a convenient reason why they can’t t the last minute. I understand this. I have even been guilty of this myself in my earlier days competing. Sometimes the potential pain of failure feels greater than the satisfaction of success.

How to overcome the fear of failure

When you realize that neither success nor failure is permanent, you liberate yourself to take more chances. The truth is, nobody is sitting around dwelling on your successes or failures for very long…they have their own lives to get on with and their own worries to confront. Here is a truth that you should embrace: the happiest, most successful people on the planet FAIL CONSTANTLY! That’s why they are great. They learn much faster and improve at a greater rate than those around them. Are they simply unafraid to fail? Of course not. They feel it just like another human being. It’s what makes them work that much harder. But win or lose, succeed or fail, the champions of life walk unapologetically in the direction of their goals and take the falls as they come. Don’t avoid the fear of failure. Accept it, feel it and choose to take action anyway. The more you do this, the less anxiety you will feel when taking on a new goal. I know this is easier said than done and you will need help along the way. But making the decision to risk more will open up more opportunities than ever before. And, in spite of the failures that you are sure to endure, you will find uncommon success and will inspire others to adopt the same mindset. Now go to work!


Professor Travis Tooke