Fear, Failure, Dreams Lived
The fear of failure is the shortest route to it.
Today is the last in this little mini-series about following your dreams. It’s a theme we will revisit before the year is over.
Ellen Johnson once wrote, “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” Many people have been taught to avoid fear and failure. They’d feel embarrassed to try and fail. What would their family and friends think? This is an evil trap that keeps many people in the starting gate when it comes to their true dreams.
A few years ago I read an article about a study where they compared Japanese and American students’ approaches to learning. The writer pointed out that it is not uncommon to see a Japanese student fail numerous times on his or her way to learning something successfully. In Japan, there is no stigma to failing along the road to success. It is an expected and accepted part of the learning process.
In the United States, we attach a tremendous amount of stigma to failing. So much so that American students are generally not willing to go through the process of failing to learn. American students tend to focus their attention on subjects where they can be successful and shy away from subjects where failure might be involved.
So instead of going through the failure to learn the process we often hear our children say things like, “I hate math.” They don’t really mean that they hold a personal grudge against math. What they are saying is, “I would have to fail too many times to get math and I’m not willing to do it.”
I’m not here to say that one nation’s approach to learning is superior. However, this fear of failing extends beyond school and impacts our adult lives as well. Many people have big dreams or goals they would like to accomplish, but, again, they are still not willing feel the sting of failure to get there. Instead, they learn to play it safe just as their children do with the math.
That’s where my little aphorism at the top comes in. When fear failure so much that we are unwilling to try, unwilling to risk learning new things and failing a little; we cannot achieve our goals and dreams. Most this revolves around our stigma of fearing to fail.
Recondition yourself to overcome your fear of failure. In an outstanding article, Olimpio Zapanta offers five steps for overcoming the fear of failure.
- Divorce failure from your self-esteem.
- Failure is not all bad. It can be a great teacher.
- Failure and success are intimately linked – failure is often a prerequisite for success.
- Successful people fail constantly. That’s how they succeed.
- Everything doesn’t have to be perfect before you go for it.
With these five great steps and little determination, you don’t have to let the fear of failure sidetrack you from your destiny! Remember that “A Success” is what we call someone who had the courage to persist through fears and through the failures.
Just accept it. You’re going to have some fear when you step into new arenas. You’re going fail when you try new things. So what!
Joseph Campbell called out the irony of human striving when he said, “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”
Refuse to allow your dreams to die on the sword of inaction.
Follow your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss.
Here are three fantastic quotes that remind you how important it is to try new things.