We’ve all heard the great talks from successful speakers, entrepreneurs, motivators and leaders on how failure is inevitable in our quest for success. Tony Robbins, Nick Vujicic, and my childhood favourite Andrew Matthews are some who I look upon to.
We are told to embrace and learn from failure as it is regarded as a greater teacher than success. And to inspire and motivate us further, there is a recent hype where online articles and quotes tend to over-glorify failure to the extent that some might mistaken failure as something to be pursued diligently.
Make no mistake here, success is still the ultimate goals. Failures are just some inconveniences we have to go through.
There is definitely no lack of motivation from the external source as we prepared to venture into unknown challenges. It could be a total career switch in a different industry, quitting your day job to start a business, letting go of a dysfunctional relationship, attempting public speaking, or anything that would cause a paradigm shift in your lifestyle that you’ve never experienced before.
The excitement of venturing into something new usually builds up, until the actual moment where we are to make the jump. That is where doubt crept in and balloons into fear before we realized it. The fear of failure is crippling, as it will crush all your hopes, dreams and haunt you with all the consequences of failure.
If you are like me, and many others, schooled in the conventional education system, then we are trained to avoid failure at all cost from young. That grades and certs matters, that life is a competition like others, and that our worth is measured by success and failure. Eventually, we developed a mindset that we are so accustomed to success, that we mistaken success for staying in the comfort zone, and that taking risk is associated with failure.
While I’ve yet to hit any success on a grand scale, I’ve made a decision in my late 20s, that have brought me a journey of failures with occasional small victories, but also a journey of discovery and wealth of experience that transforms my entire mindset.
To make that leap from the stable comfort zone into uncertainties is alike jumping into the sea and start learning to swim. I could relate that there are fears and doubts that often whisper to my mind along the way, but with determination and a few reliable methods, I managed to push through as I carved a new unpredicted path in my life.
Whenever, I would try something new, challenging and when people around me would doubt my chances of success, I asked myself a few questions, that will spur me on in spite of the uncertainties ahead. Here’s 3 of them:
1. “If not now, then when?” – Every moment you waited to make a decision, sitting there crippled by your fear, is a moment wasted. While opportunities may come again, the circumstances might be different and time may not be by your side.
2. “What’s the worst scenario if you fail?” – Put a stop to wild thoughts. Instead, ask rationally and note down what’s the worst that could happen to you? If it happens, can you recover from it even if it takes you years to do so? If the answer is YES, then make sure you forged this down in your mind, and just move ahead.
3. “What is the greater regret?” – Ask yourself, 10 years down the line, will you regret staying as you are or will you regret trying and fail? Listen to your heart, as it doesn’t lie. Follow your heart, for in the event of failure, it is the heart that is stronger and will guide you through.
If you have the courage to ask hard uncomfortable questions to yourself and act based on what your heart tells you, you can turn fear of failure into a powerful drive that is a powerful drive that may just be the force that pushes you to the road of success.
In my personal view, staying status quo, even when your heart cries for you to step on an untrodden path, is a failure by itself an injustice to your own conscience. In the end, success is about achieving what you wanted, and the manifestation of success is different for each of us.
But what is common is the decision we made or the opportunities wasted that defines our destiny. It takes great mental strength to start, and even greater one to sustain and endure along the journey, as obstacles and challenges assault us from all sides.
Perhaps overcoming the fear of failure itself is a small victory by itself. I’ve made my first step of overcoming my fear of failure. Have you?
I am an engineer-turned-writer who once struggle with social anxiety. After overcoming problems inflicted by low self-esteem and the fear of interaction, I realize the need for taking a holistic approach in developing our mind. I'm sharing my experience, remedies, and techniques that interest me in my quest to be a better self.
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