feer of failure

How to stop fear of failure from holding you back

There is no such thing as failure – there is only learning what does not work!

Every attempt by a baby makes to learn to walk is met by smiles and encouragement. Each of the many falls are not seen as fails – they are seen as progress.

Babies are constantly encouraged to try and try again and to not give up. No-one ridicules their failed attempts or tells them they are not good enough. All parents know that doing this will hold them back. Everyone knows that learning needs practice and encouragement.

With this attitude, eventual success is guaranteed!

So why do so many of us forget this simple truth?

As we grow, it all starts to change. We are taught that failing is bad – something to be avoided at all costs. And this is where it all starts to go wrong. We are taught to be self-conscious, shy, fearful and unwilling to try difficult things just-in-case we fail or appear to be stupid in front of others.

We start to believe that we are not good enough!

Sadly it is most often those that claim to care for us are the ones that do this to us. Not long after we have taken our first hesitant steps, our parents, teachers, friends, family all weigh in and compete to tell us how bad we are at things, how we could do better, how we should strive for higher scores, better grades, try harder.

Each time our successes are ignored and we are reminded of how much more we could do, how much better we could be if we just tried that bit harder.

Exams are graded out of 100% but this number is rarely ever given – who can be perfect? The grades are simply there to remind us how much less than perfect we are. Driving down confidence and increasing the fear of failure – being less than others, being less than perfect.

Failure changes from being an important part of the learning process to something to be avoided.

We start to shy away from difficult things or make excuses why we cannot even try something. We lose that careless confidence we had when we were young. Doubt and fear often prevent us from applying our full potential to achieving our goals and gaining all the success in life we deserve.

This is why I said at the beginning that we all have the ‘potential’ to be Clever. The difference between each of us is how much we use this potential and how much we allow fear and doubt to limit it.

To overcome your fears so that you can reach your full potential you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Try new things and do things that you would normally avoid. Take small steps but make sure you boldly go forward, trying new things each day. These should be simple things at first, such as talking to someone new each day. Or breaking habits by going to a different coffee shop or sitting in a different place each day.

Even simple things like this can initially feel uncomfortable for some people but as you discover that nothing bad comes of it, you will start to gain the confidence to try out more things. Your brain will begin to learn that change is not so bad and your confidence will begin to grow.

Be that person you were when you were learning to walk – believe in yourself, believe that you can do it and don’t give up until you can!


Posted in Clever Learner, Clever Mental Performance, Clever motivation, Cleverness at work.