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How to Overcome Your Fear of Failure

https://hbr.org/2018/12/how-to-overcome-your-fear-of-failure

hbr.org

How to Overcome Your Fear of Failure
Executive Summary People are quick to blame themselves for failure. But not doing something because you're afraid to get started isn't going to help you grow. Here are four strategies to help you get over the hump. Start by redefining what failure means to you.

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Focus on learning

The chips aren’t always going to fall where you want them to, but if you understand that reality going in, you can be prepared to wring the most value out of the experience, no matter the outcome.

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Redefining failure

Behind many fears is worry about doing something wrong, looking foolish, or not meeting expectations — in other words, fear of failure. By framing a situation you’re dreading differently before you attempt it, you may be able to avoid some stress and anxiety.

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Approach goals vs. avoidance goals

Approach goals vs. avoidance goals

Goals can be classified as approach goals or avoidance goals based on whether you are motivated by wanting to achieve a positive outcome or avoid an adverse one.

When you’re dreading a tough task and expect it to be difficult and unpleasant, you may unconsciously set goals around what you don’t want to happen rather than what you do want.

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Create a “fear list”

Create a “fear list”

Tim Ferriss recommends “fear-setting”  - creating a checklist of what you are afraid to do and what you fear will happen if you do it. 

This exercise helps you seeing with clarity the benefits of the attempted effort and the cost of inaction.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The Fear Of Rejection

It interferes with performance and inhibits expression.

Taken to its extreme, we become totally preoccupied with not making a mistake, with seeking approval for security above all othe...

Define the Problem in Writing

Write a clear description of your problem, the answer to the question, “What exactly am I worrying about?”

Fully 50% of all problems can be solved at this definition stage. Many of our worries exist because we have not taken the time to sit down and really define clearly what it is that is bothering us.

The Worst Possible Outcome

Write out the worst possible outcome of the worry situation. Answer the question, “What is the worst possible thing that can happen as a result of this problem?”

It is resistance to facing the worst possible outcome that causes most of the anxiety and stress associated with worry. Writing it down will take away its power.

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Procrastination: The How And Why

We usually procrastinate instead of being productive due to various reasons like having fun being distracted (like playing video games) or just lounging around as the task is too easy (or too diffi...

Procrastination And The Fear Of Failure

Recent studies on procrastination seems to suggest that the fear of failure could be a core reason for postponing tasks, as it is hard to:

  1. Amend mistakes.
  2. Lack of expected progress even with the effort being put.
  3. A wasted day having a spillover effect on the next day.
  4. Lack of practice.
  5. Lack of trying again.

We need to detect patterns in our behaviour and recognize the cause of any hidden or camouflaged fear.

Procrastination And Making Excuses

There is a denial of procrastination, where we are telling ourselves that we are working as we should and there is no problem at all. The valid justifications we make to cover the problem or delay is essentially an excuse.

We make excuses as it is a valid cover to protect our self interest, and we often blame other people and circumstances to cover our own failure. If we could simply stop making excuses and start calling a spade a spade, we would learn a lot from our own behaviour.

Suffering from the fear of heights

Suffering from the fear of heights

People that have acrophobia have an irrational fear of heights. Many symptoms of acrophobia are shared with other anxiety disorders, such as shaking, sweating, a racing heart, diff...

Challenge your beliefs about heights

People with height phobias think something bad will happen when they are up high. But you are safer than you think and your feared outcome about heights won't really happen.
Ask yourself:

  • What do you believe will happen when you expose yourself to your fear?
  • How likely do you think it is that this would happen?
  • What would be the outcome of it happening? (you might believe a tall building will collapse.)

Once you've answered the questions, start small with the thing you fear and see that the worst doesn't actually happen, or that it is not as bad as you feared.

The cause of acrophobia

  • A traumatic or frightening event, such as falling off a ladder could cause a fear of heights because the distressing experience gets paired with heights in the person's memories.
  • However, many people can't link their fear to a particular experience.
  • Some people that fear heights did not have repeated safe exposure to heights.
  • Finally, people with height phobia show subtle differences in their ability to maintain their balance, partly because they have more difficulty integrating perceptual information from their visual system.