“The fear of failure is the shortest route to it.”
~ Ray Davis
Success writer John C. Maxwell, in his book Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success (Amazon Link), says the following.
“Failure is an inside job. So is success. If you want to achieve, you have to win the war in your thinking first. You can’t let the failure outside you get inside you.”
I was recently reading an article where they were comparing 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 process we often hear our children say things like, “I hate math.” They don’t really mean that they have something personal 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 life 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. All because of the stigma of failure.
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 determination, don’t 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 failures.
Success and failure are not the result of circumstances. They are not the result of intelligence or luck. All of these things can contribute, but the overwhelming predictor of success is the refusal to give up. Your dreams await. They may be eleven steps away. Don’t called it a failure on step 9.
Follow your bliss! Experience your bliss! Become your bliss!