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How to overcome the fear of failure?


Failure is defined as lack of success, but the actual definition is up to you. Failure may be something insignificant. Maybe you forgot to buy something important in the store. We are all mistaken, and the mistakes that we make have their own weight - large or small - and make us feel that we have failed.

However, usually for big things we use the word “failure”, for example, when we let someone down or, most importantly, ourselves. Trying to do something really important and fail - it really hurts and hesitates your self-confidence. Maybe your business startup failed, or you lost the big game, or let someone you care about. Sometimes failures leave their mark - but not necessarily.

2. Feel what you should feel

Failure can cause a fair amount of emotional damage, but this is normal. It is important to discard all negative emotions, get together and decide what to do next. Do not hold on to the feeling that you are locked inside yourself, like a stake in a shaken jar. Restraining emotions can lead to two consequences:

  • emotional outburst: in the end, the pressure inside you will be too strong, and it will be difficult for you to restrain emotions. At the moment of weakness, everything that you kept within yourself could explode and push you even further. This affects not only your state of mind, but also your relationship. During such a surge, the people you care about can fall under the hot hand.
  • increasing negativity: if you allow yourself to loosen your grip, the negativity will slowly but persistently penetrate your mind. You must openly confront the mistakes made and give yourself the opportunity to feel them. Otherwise, anxiety lurks in the back of your mind, and your failures continue. Constant anxiety is unhealthy and can lead to even more problems.

How to deal with this? There are several ways to cope with failure and, most importantly, learn something.

  • Stand back for a while. Feeling that you are depressed is normal. Completely ignoring what happened will not do any good, so take some time and let yourself fall as long as you want. Take time to get a good feel for anger, sadness and frustration, then let them go. If something insignificant happened, then all you may need is to take a walk or cry into a pillow. For something more, give yourself 24 hours to let go and start the next day like a clean slate. If you need more time than one day - this is normal, but make sure that this amount of time is set by you, and you stick to it.
  • Talk about what happened. Tell someone you know how you feel. It’s well known that just talking about something will make you feel better. Get rid of the load and speak out. Most likely, the person you are talking to will try to make you feel better, but even if he doesn’t, you will release this information beyond your brain.
  • Do not let failure become part of your personality. Failure is what happened to you, not what you are. Susan Tardanico of Forbes Magazine explains that simply because you have not found a successful way to do something does not mean that you are a failure. Be careful not to blur the line between the mistake and the one who made the mistake. We are characterized by our actions, but not mistakes. In the end, you are characterized by the actions you have taken to endure failure and achieve success.

Failure can leave an open wound, and ignoring it is unreasonable. Without acknowledging the error, the wound will hurt, and it will take more time to heal it, but complications are possible.

3. Look at the failures of others

Even for a second, do not think that you are the only person on earth who fails. We often look at the success of others and think that they have everything, while the reality is that they face failure as often as the rest. Some of them just hide it better, but failure is universal. Before you start hitting yourself for a slip, take a look at the world and you will see how often all fail.

What successful people would you like to be like? Take a look at the failures they encountered at work and in life. Read biographies, diaries, listen to speeches. Successful people talk about failures as often as they say success because they understand how important it is to accept them. Even the greatest people in our time have fallen, and fallen very low.

Your friends and family also had setbacks. Think about the failures they encountered and remember that you are not alone. This is not a cause for laughter, but a way to show yourself that there is nothing wrong with failure. After all, we are all human.

4. Change your definition of failure

Did we mention that failure is good? It may be hard to understand, but changing the definition of failure will help you deal. Failure is the training and cultivation of the opportunity necessary for future development.

Robert Spaddinger has compiled a list of statements to help you define your failure:

  1. failure is an integral part on the path to success and self-realization,
  2. every time you step out of your comfort zone and try something new, failure is inevitable,
  3. every failure brings you one step closer to your goal,
  4. failure is a great teacher, it gives you the most valuable lessons in life,
  5. every failure makes you stronger and better
  6. mistakes do not matter much while you learn from them and do not repeat them,
  7. failure teaches you that a certain approach cannot be ideal for a particular situation and that there are other, better approaches,
  8. successful people will never laugh at you and will not condemn you, because they themselves were in your place and thanks to failures they received many valuable lessons,
  9. no matter how often you fail, you're not a loser until you give up,
  10. every time you fail, your fear of failure is reduced, which allows you to cope with even greater problems.

Each mistake teaches you something, and after you have gone through emotions, it is important to look at your mistakes from a new perspective. Think about what you did and what went wrong, and see what else you did and what went right, and what you can do better next time.

5. Start a new project to keep your mind busy.

After a period of sorrow, try again or start something new. Fill your head with thoughts of a new task so that there is no room for negativity in it. You should not completely drown out your mistakes - so you will not learn anything - but you also do not need to stop on them.

Hayao Miyazaki / ©

Start a new project and concentrate on it. Director Hayao Miyazaki suggests keeping some ideas ready so that you can always continue to work on them. Nothing takes your mind like hard work. If you need to take your mind off work for a while, find a hobby. You must like it, and you must be good at it to move on. The main thing is to turn your attention and give yourself time to remember that failure is not the end of the world.

The best thing about failure is that you always have a second chance. Angel Chernoff of Marc and Angel Hack Life notes that mistakes are just a form of practice:

“Each great artist was an amateur at first. The sooner you become comfortable with practice and making mistakes, the sooner you will gain the skills and knowledge necessary to achieve mastery in your business. You will never be 100% sure that everything will work out, but you can be 100% sure that if you do nothing, nothing will come of it. So try again. Either you will succeed, or you will receive a life lesson. You will win anyway. ”

Failing something over and over again is absolutely normal, but as soon as you give up it is a failure.

Remember: failure is inevitable, but it does not define you. They benefit you, as do their willingness. Make failure a tool, the first step in your path. It's okay if you feel like a loser when that happens, but losing a battle doesn't mean losing a war.

Reasons to fear losing

A small child is not ashamed of mistakes. The kids fall, get up and willingly fall again. But when children get older, they begin to pay attention to the ratings of others. “Public opinion” destroys the inherent fearlessness of a child. Getting up after “falling” in the eyes of others is getting harder.

Critical parents, a school with overly strict teachers, also raise fears of failure.

Fear of not succeeding persecutes personalities, perfectionists who tend to look for mistakes in their own work, try to do everything "better than Steve Jobs."

Stereotypical thinking is another typical cause of atyphobia. After any failure, people prone to generalizations seem to be born-in-place “losers.” Such stereotypical findings drive a person into a dead end of atichiphobia.

Signs of Fear of Failure

Individuals who fear not to succeed doubt that they have good mental abilities. Atihifoby love to re-measure their own IQ using the "latest" tests several times a day. They are terribly afraid to disappoint those whose opinions are dear to them. Therefore, they are told that "there is little chance of success."

Persons who are firmly held in their paws by the fear of failing have a sea of ​​"physical", "mental" symptoms of phobia. When the fear of failure comes, they have:

Individuals, because of the fear of failure, feel completely confused, experience the feeling that the situation controls them, and not they the situation. Atihifoby also engaged in "self-sabotage" - throwing the case halfway. It seems to them that it is better to not go uphill than to give birth to a mouse as a result. That is why people with a fear of failure are inveterate “downshifters” who have closed their careers. For perfectionist people, self-sabotage is especially dangerous. It ends with a complete volitional stupor, when a person, for fear of "messing up" refuses even elementary things. He doesn’t brush his teeth - he’s afraid that he will “fail” - he will leave a plaque on his teeth, he does not cope with the small need for public toilets - he is afraid that he will “miss”.

We focus on what is in our power

In order for the fear of failure to recede, we need to focus on what we can control. Recall the example of Nelson Mandela. The South African president, a Nobel laureate in his youth dreamed of leading the country, defeating apartheid. But "failed", was behind bars. In prison, Mandela overlooked the impossible. The future Nobel laureate did what was in his power - he studied, sought to improve prison conditions. He focused on what he could control.

We constantly develop our competence

Many people are aware of the “impostor syndrome” - a feeling that they studied, studied, but did not master the business we are doing. In people who fear dips, impostor syndrome manifests itself especially fiercely. This feeling of incompetence gives rise to procrastination - the desire to postpone work for "after the rain on Thursday."

To defeat the impostor syndrome, we will use the example of one of the richest people on the planet, the financier-billionaire Warren Buffett. He is by no means lucky. Buffett is just damn competent, as he is constantly studying. The financier is over 80, and he continues to habitually swallow 500 pages a day by no means of pulp fiction.

“I read all the time, I think all the time. I have no fear of failure in the business sphere, because it will not be. There is no place for impulsiveness in my business decisions - only experience, knowledge, calculation, ”Buffett said in a recent interview with Time magazine. In general, we will constantly increase the capital of knowledge, expand our competence and fear of failure will melt like a jellyfish in the sun.

All or Nothing - False Installation

Many suffer tunnel thinking. Like a laser, they focus on only one single step to achieve a narrow goal. Deadly tie the target to self-esteem. So the fear is born to lose. All or nothing - no achievement, no self-esteem. Game with a zero amount. Lost - lost everything. So why take the risk? “Isn't it better to stand aside?” The inner demon whispers to us. And we stand becoming slaves to the fear of losing.

We should remember Thomas Edison, the creator of the light bulb. This guy was never afraid to lose. And Edison was defeated often. Often.

Somehow, Thomas for many years was looking for suitable material for the filament of a light bulb. Tried one - lost. Used another material - again sat in a puddle. Thomas tried hundreds, thousands of substances. All the time, nothing happened - the bulb flatly refused to burn.

If Edison had a fear of failure, then of course he would have surrendered sooner or later. But the creator of electricity didn't give a damn. Thomas kept trying. Finally, on material 6234, Edison won - he found a suitable one. This victory fully offset all previous losses.

Sometimes you can lose 6,234 times, and only win once to win. Just remember that this is not a game - all or nothing. Edison once said that "no one is exploring the Grand Canyon, jumping from its cliff." Each loss is not the end, but one more small step to victory.

We will be kind to ourselves

And best of all, even affectionate. Often we want too much from ourselves, we strongly reproach ourselves for failures. So we develop a sense of guilt, with which comes the phobia of losing. Let's treat ourselves like we treat a good friend, let's sympathize, sympathize with ourselves. Empathy must be directed not only to others, but also to one’s self. Once we learn to understand our own feelings, it will become much easier to bear the setbacks.

Learning what we do not know how to accustom ourselves to failure

This is a very simple way to combat phobia lose. How to draw a chicken paw? We know only a couple of obscene English words? Then it's time to start learning these unknown things. To be mistaken in that in which absolute zero is fearless, harmless. Learning completely new things, we will gradually get used to failures, we will begin to perceive them calmly.

Find the roots of fear of losing

Let’s sit down, take a deep breath, delve deeply into our own past. When did the fear of failure appear, when did this misfortune happen to our psyche? If we begin to get to the bottom of the reasons, we will understand that the mind has distorted reality. We are not losers at all, but simply strict teachers or parents drove into the head that to bring bad marks, and indeed it is “impossible” to lose. This was the beginning of our atichiphobia.

We decompose a difficult task into simple subtasks

We are afraid of failures, therefore we avoid difficult affairs? For example, we want to create a website, but we feel that this is beyond our means, this is too tricky a matter.

In order for fear to go away, we decompose the terrible task into “fearless” components. We are not thinking about creating a site, but, for example, about:

  • what domain name to come up with
  • where to buy hosting,
  • what to do design.

We are not thinking about marriage, but about what dress is best to wear for a loved one’s birthday, what a delicious dish to make him happy. So gradually create a site, get married, and at the same time "outwit" the phobia.

Failure is always temporary.

When you lose, it seems like it's forever. But our feelings are deceiving - defeat is always temporary. Let's think like players of the National Basketball Association (NBA). In this competition for the season about 100 games. 100 games in 365 unhappy days! Even champion teams usually lose about a third of them! Failures are temporary - let us always remember this.

Fear of failure is the poisonous fruit of our mind

Fear of losing is just a thought. And thoughts are only a figment of imagination, error. Let's stop being their slaves. Let’s think, why do we so blindly believe our thoughts that tell tales about our doom to fail in relationships, failure at work? Drive away ignorant thoughts with a filthy broom. And the failures will meet with bread and salt. Failures teach! Learn to win.

Simple exercises against the fear of failure

Some simple exercises also help to combat the fear of fiasco.

When the fear constrained to lose, chase him away with a deep breath.

Making fear clear is not at all difficult. We act like this:

  1. Fear makes breathing quick and short. We return everything to normal with the help of deep slow breaths.
  2. For 5-10 seconds, we slowly breathe oxygen through the nose. We do this with the diaphragm, so that during the inhalation-exhalation the abdominal rather than the chest cavity moves.
  3. We also exhale carbon dioxide slowly through the nose. We exhale everything completely!

We repeat this simple exercise until the fear of failure is removed. This will happen quickly - after 5 minutes maximum.

Fear strains muscles. If you relax them, fear will instantly weaken your grip:

  • alternately strain and relax different muscle groups,
  • we start with the foot, then move higher - to the calves, hips, stomach. "Pass" the whole body.

Psychotherapeutic approaches

Все вышеописанные техники, бесспорно, работают, но все же, без помощи психотерапевта коварную атихифобию одолеть будет тяжело. Лучше всего помогают специалисты, которые лечат гипнотерапией, психоанализом, когнитивно-бихевиоральной корректировкой. Психоаналитик вместе с атихифобом докапывается до причин страха, «зарывается» в глубины подсознания. А затем «сублимирует» страх, помогает клиенту направить темную энергию боязни в творческое русло, превратить ее в «топливо» для движения вперед.

A behavioral psychotherapist teaches us to look at failures differently, to perceive them as a challenge, not a sentence.

The hypnologist works out the fear, gives the attitude to treat the fear mockingly or ignore it. Hypologist-psychologist Nikita Valerievich Baturin has extensive practical experience working with people suffering from fear of failure. In his sessions, he will help get rid of a painful fear.

We all need to remember the distant times when we learned to walk. And to begin to relate to failures as then - fell and immediately got up, forgot about the fall. Then fortune begins to visit us. We will fall less and less.

You can watch many interesting videos on the topic of combating phobias and fears here.

The first rule. Don't be ashamed of failure

The reasons why we, as a rule, are hard on our failures, most often we need to look for in our childhood. A small child is not used to mourning for a long time if he does not succeed. In an extreme case, he will not cry for long - and then he will find himself another occupation. Either he repeats the action that led to the negative result, again and again, until he succeeds - or he is convinced of the futility.

Experiences begin when a child realizes failure - usually as a result of a parental assessment. “Well, you didn’t succeed! I told you. "- this phrase becomes familiar. And shame becomes familiar with her. I failed - what parents will say about me! Classmates! Colleagues! Wife.

Do not be ashamed of your failure! Begin to perceive it as perceived in early childhood: just as an unexpected negative result. There is nothing to be ashamed of: failure happens to everyone. Shame is the first cause of fear. Fear is the main reason for the repetition of failure. Do you definitely want to repeat them?

The second rule. Talk about failure

This rule also draws on our childhood experience - only this time positive. What does a child need if he fails? To mom or dad listened to him, regretted and said that everything will be fine!

An adult needs it no less. Well, except in other forms, but the essence of this does not change. If you have failed, do not try to experience it alone. You need a listener, you need someone who can tell you everything. The more and more - the better. And do not be ashamed of your desire to get empathy - it is now really necessary! Men are better off forgetting about their “male complexes” for a while: at this moment it is more important to help themselves than to break themselves.

If it is difficult to contact friends or relatives, you can search for a listener among unfamiliar or completely unfamiliar people. Up to the point that tell about your problem in some forum. There are even special communities designed specifically for such situations. You just need to remember: the story of failure turns it from your personal misfortune into something that you do not have to deal with alone. And from that angle, any failure somehow cringes and pales.

The third rule. Understand failure

In addition to moral relief, the story of failure will allow you to understand why this happened to you. After all, sharing your problems, you will perforce begin to select words and wordings, which means that you will begin to analyze what happened. This will be the fulfillment of the third rule. To make failure easier to survive, it is very necessary to understand. Indeed, understanding what exactly happened leads to an understanding of why this happened. And knowing the reasons for the failure, you can, if not avoid it in the future, then at least prepare for a possible repetition.

Why is it so important to understand the origins of your failure? First of all, because each failure has two types of reasons: objective and subjective. Without analysis, we will not be able to figure out what was more in our failure - our mistakes or external circumstances. As a rule, we indiscriminately blame everything or ourselves, or the fate of the villain - and are wrong both in the first and in the second. Is it worth it to blame everything and blame yourself as a loser? Is life worth blaming and cursing her for dislike of us? The answer to both questions is no!

Rule Four Accept failure

So, you calmed down, shared your problems with a friend or stranger and tried to figure out why all this happened to you. What's next? The most important thing at this stage is to understand that any success, like any failure, falls on our lot because we deserve it.

Not in the sense of “failure - punishment for what I did or did not do,” no! And in the sense that any failure is a consequence of the chain of our actions and decisions. Some of them were correct, some were wrong, but it was our actions and decisions, and not someone else!

But it will be strange to punish yourself for being who you are. And if we accept ourselves, then we must accept our failures. In the end, every failure will certainly, sooner or later, but will be compensated by luck. And this luck will also be, figuratively speaking, our hands.

The fifth rule. Overestimate failure

Let's get back to the beginning of our conversation. So, in the morning the boss called you and said that you were fired. Catastrophe? More likely no than yes! Indeed, for the money received upon dismissal, you can, for example, take and go on an extraordinary vacation! Or at least go to a restaurant in the evening and throw a small banquet on the occasion of your release from the work routine. But it is much more important if you can look at failure as a “hint” from fate. Perhaps she tells you with the dismissal story that you are not doing your job? Or maybe now, when you start looking for work, you will receive an offer of your dreams, about which there would be no talk until you looked up from your desktop.

In a word, any failure is, first and foremost, an occasion to stop, to move, so to speak, to the sidelines of everyday life. And from there, look at yourself a little from the side and think in which direction to move after this stop. Agree: to understand this, accepting your failure, analyzing its causes and understanding that in any case you will not cope with problems alone, is much simpler.

According to legend, Vladimir Vysotsky decided to leave for the artists after a freshman spilled coffee on drawings over which he pored all night. No one knows how famous engineer Vysotsky would have become if life had turned out differently. But the country would most likely lose actor Vysotsky. And it would seem that such a disappointing failure - coffee-flooded blueprints.