How To Overcome Fear Of Failure In Life

Dr. Ankit Sharma, PhD

Updated on:

How To Overcome Fear Of Failure

Atychiphobia, known as fear of failure, is a stable, overwhelming feeling of fright that comes with undertaking projects or pursuing life goals. People with atychiphobia frequently feel entirely sure they will fail, even if that feeling is groundless. This sense of insecurity can hamper their thoughts, emotions, & actions. Fortunately, there are answers to the question, How to overcome fear of failure.

When monitored properly, a healthy fear of failure can be positive & direct us to better plan, focus, & prepare. But when fear of failure becomes out of control, it can be paralyzing & de-motivating.

How to overcome fear of failure

How to overcome fear of failure

1. Try To Find Out Where the Fear Comes From

When you look at the potential roots causing your fear of failure, which ones ring with you? Note down where you think the fear originates, & try to understand it in the third person.

If it helps, imagine you are trying to help one of your loved ones. Your fear may stem from something in your childhood or deep-seated insecurity. Identifying the cause of the fear removes some of its power.

2. Recognize & Simplify Your Thoughts, Feelings, & Actions

Identifying & pinpointing the reasons behind your fear of failure & how failing might actually affect you helps you to face your fears. This insight is also helpful to recognize accurately how the fear of failure is impacting your thoughts & behavior.

For instance, are you pushing your limits or working frantically—not to accomplish success but to evade the consequences you think may happen if you fail? Or are you engaging in self-protective behaviors like procrastination or evasion to provide yourself with a reason to explain the failure? Once you have recognized stressful or self-sabotaging behaviors, you can change your actions to eliminate the fear of failure.

3. Define Failure & Success

If you are still wondering How to overcome fear of failure, consider this. A vital part of overcoming the fear of failure is creating a new perspective on the idea of failure & success. Instead of thinking of failure as a complete life-destroying disaster, try to create a new relationship with it.

Shift your thinking so that you start to see failure as:

  • Opportunities—a chance to learn & grow.
  • A lesson because thinking about past failures to find their benefits can help you to be more open to accepting failure.
  • A surmountable challenge that offers an opportunity to move forward rather than a hurdle in your path.
  • A fleeting or temporary situation, not a permanent end to your plans & goals.

Sometimes people invest so much energy & time trying not to fail that they become oblivious to success. Think about what you really wish & identify if your fear of failing is standing in the way of your dreams.

4. Try to Think Positive

Our society is fixated on success, but it’s important to recognize that even the most successful people face failure.

Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster struggled to sell their comic as most publishers thought it would not attract people; that comic was about a superhero named Superman. J.K. Rowling was rejected by 12 Publishers. They never gave up, & now Superman & Harry Potter are household names. They wouldn’t have made it if Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster believed the negative feedback.

It’s up to you to notice your negative self-talk & recognize the triggers. The voice inside your head significantly affects what you do. Substitute negative thoughts with positive ideas about yourself & the circumstances. You will be able to create a new mental state that you can reach for when you feel negativity budding in.

5. Think Of Yourself As A Beginner

Fear frequently stops us from moving forward with our decisions & plans because we want to be perfect from the beginning. We want to hit a home run, get full marks on the test, & deliver a spectacular performance on our first try. But let’s face the fact: When we start something new, it will not be perfect, & that’s totally okay!

Do you know Rowan Atkinson was so nervous about playing in front of the audience that he often stuttered to deliver dialogues? He came up with the beloved character Mr. Bean, so he didn’t have to talk much; the rest is history. He knew that he had to start somewhere, & so did you. By allowing yourself to be a beginner, you can forget your need to be perfect & get started. As you take baby steps, each step provides you with confidence & encourages the next step.

6. Learn To Improvise

We often fear failure when we feel stuck in a particular course of action once we commit to something big and daunting. But learning to improvise & adapt to challenges can facilitate us avoid failure or lessen the effects of mistakes we make.

Just because you started in one course doesn’t mean you have to continue going in that course. You are not stuck. When it’s not helping, you can always come up with something new. You can stop, reset, change your mind, & alter your course.

Whatever you are trying to do, taking a new role in your company, starting a new business, or asking someone out on a date will take you down a path you can’t always predict or control. Be open to improvising your approach & growing throughout the procedure. 

7. Identify The Cost of Not Trying

Fear has killed more dreams than failure ever will. Always living in fear comes at a cost. It will ruin you your dreams, hopes & plans, and everything good you feel you deserve. So, you have an option: to sit on the sidelines or participate in your own life. It is wise to get up and get after it.

You might experience some failure occasionally. But your dreams are worth the risk. If you try, there is a 50% chance of success; if you don’t, that possibility comes down to zero.

8. Be Determined to Face Your Fears

Even if you feel stuck, overwhelmed & petrified of doing the thing you want to do, you don’t have to stand there. You don’t have to wait until you suddenly feel motivated to take action.

You can learn to bring confidence in yourself &, more significantly, in the skills & experience you developed in your journey. Go ahead & face your fears. You might find out they are not a big deal like you thought.

The Impacts & Consequences of Atychiphobia

Atychiphobia is paralyzing, causing individuals to shut down and making them think there’s no point in trying to achieve something.

The fear of failure can cause missed opportunities & issues in daily life. It can affect someone’s attitude, creating an approach to work that involves extreme concern to prevent loss instead of achieving success. Intense fear of failure can affect mental health, performance, relationships, & overall quality of life.

Other impacts of Atychiphobia include:

  • Evasion of tasks, projects, opportunities, & even other individuals (out of apparent negative judgments & a sense of disappointment).
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Low self-efficacy (the belief in your capacities).
  • Reduced resilience (making it hard to recover from temporary setbacks).
  • Erudite helplessness (thoughts of powerlessness or lack of control).
  • Underachievement.
  • High anxiety in various areas of life.
  • Emotional disturbance & instability.
  • Self-sabotaging behavior (like procrastination or tenaciously giving something minimal to have an excuse for failure or something to blame other than a lack of capability).

If you identify any of these, you must question yourself, ‘How to overcome fear of failure’ & act accordingly.

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