“Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself”– Franklin D. Roosevelt
I’ve met a lot of people who live their lives in fear. They’re afraid to take chances. They’re afraid of what could happen. And they’re afraid of looking like a fool.
Bottom line is many have a fear of failure.
Nobody wants to look stupid. And for some it’s better to not try something than to run the risk of looking incompetent.
Me? I’m a little different. I have fears like everyone else. But unlike a lot of people, I resign myself to knowing that I’m going to fail. So instead of worrying about overcoming a fear of failure, I simply know that it will happen and accept that it’s a normal part of the learning process.
A Quick Story…
As you’ve heard me mention before, I recently ended a relationship which was a complete disaster. At one point though, I was still putting all of my energy into fixing it.
Now during the late fall, I was talking to my buddy John. He was trying to figure out why I still kept trying when most could see this relationship was going to fail. My response to him pretty much summarized my entire philosophy of life…
I said “I would rather fail forward, than fail backwards.”
My point was simple. I would rather know that I put 100% effort into the relationship than live my life with regret because I didn’t take action.
Yes, the relationship ended pretty badly. But at this point, I know I did everything humanly possible to make it work. I can look back with very little regret.
Two Types of Failures
In my opinion, there are two types of failures…
The first one is “failing backwards.” This is what most people do. Many live in absolute fear of failure. So they try to avoid failing by taking no action.
This is failing backwards because they have dreams and aspirations that they’re too afraid to go after. They think they’re stationary, when in fact, they’re moving further and further away from what they truly want.
The second type of failure is the one I spoke of before: “failing forwards.” This is having the mindset where you know you’re going to fail, but you keep trying.
I’m a firm believer in failing forwards because I know that the best things in life usually result from making a ton of mistakes. In fact, I can honestly say I’ve succeed at 20% of the things I’ve tried. If I was a baseball player, I would have been benched a long time ago.
For instance, it took me almost five years to support myself full-time with an online business. During this process I failed more times than you could possibly imagine.
And five weeks from now, I’m going to go on a pretty long vacation through Europe. I know I’m going to make a bunch of mistakes during this time. But I’m not going let a fear of failure prevent me from chasing after a dream.
Overcoming your Fear of Failure
The title of this post promised a way to overcome your fear of failure. So here’s my simple, but effective solution…
Accept that you’re going to fail.
That’s it. Whenever you feel scared about trying something new, tell yourself that you will fail. You’re going to make mistakes. And at some point you’ll probably look foolish.
The good news is this happens to everyone. Nobody is born awesome at everything (well besides Chuck Norris)
Just remember that making mistakes is what helps you grow as a person. So it’s important to never fear failure. Instead, learn to fear not trying at all.Take Action. Get Results.