Fear of failure is essentially being afraid to be incorrect, unsuccessful or constantly making mistakes. This is very apparent for me right now because of my final high school exams coming up so I thought I would share this in the hopes of creating awareness to my mindset at the moment or maybe even relate to some of you reading this. I know this post is very different to what I normally write about but I felt the need to be real and deep because we all go through stressful and tough times. This fear comes in different levels and at different times for everyone and I want to make it clear that I don’t have a full on phobia of failure, I just feel it strongly at times. I have tried to provide a remedy for each reason for me being scared to fail but sadly these remedies can be very hard to achieve when the fear is strong 🙁
I am scared to fail because I want to maintain my good image in other people’s eyes and not disappoint them. I let other people’s expectations get the better of me and feel the unspoken (or sometimes spoken!) pressure they have on me. It’s very hard to get out of this mentality as you don’t want to let people down and you do want to keep your good image so they view you in a certain way. The only form of remedy I can provide for this is to focus on your own image of yourself and your own expectations (but ensure these are healthy and realistic!). You should be the decider of whether you are happy or disappointed with the outcomes, don’t let other people’s views cloud your genuine emotions.
I’m scared to fail because others that succeed will leave me behind. I feel compelled to compare myself to others, as they act as indicators for my success (this is apparent in my final high school mark as it is a rank rather than just a score). If I fail then people who I have been equally successful with in the past will leave me behind. Even if I was just having a bad day or something it will be really hard to catch up to them, especially if the fear of failure gets in the way further. As a remedy to this, I would recommend focusing on yourself and comparing your successes and failures to your previous successes and failures rather then someone else’s. That way, you are being more realistic about your own abilities because there is no way you can compare yourself to someone that has grown up with different circumstances and skill levels.
I’m scared to fail because it might change who I am and prevent me from being who I want to be. I know myself to be smart and capable but if I fail then it could mean that I am not and it’s just luck that I have succeeded so far or I have reached my full potential too early. And if this is the case then my whole plan for the future is disrupted as I am not good enough to do it now. I know this is intense but I do occasionally spiral like this when I am doubting myself. All that’s needed to be thought about in response to this is that one or any number of failures doesn’t define you or limit you as you can always improve by taking it as a learning experience.
I’m scared to fail because I feel like being smart is the only good thing going for me. I feel like I’m known as “the smart kid” to people and they rely on me to know things but if I stop being this person then what else will I be known for and be good at? This probably sounds ridiculous as people are obviously more then one characteristic, but at times I do feel like my intelligence is the one thing that I need to uphold and not fail at. A way of fixing this mentality is to focus on other characteristics of yourself and build on those so that you have something to fall back on if your main characteristic fails.
Overall, you can’t have success without some level of failure and you unfortunately have some level of fear on the road to success, otherwise you would never achieve anything! Try to change your mentality so that “failure” translates to “a learning experience” so you can constantly be improving and not getting too down when you don’t succeed. It’s really hard to do, as are all of these remedies, but, like successes, the hardest things to do are so worth it 🙂