Fear of Failure

When we talk about fear what are some common fears? There are many fears and all of them have names. People are often afraid of snakes, insects, germs, or a host of other things. Some people are afraid of things that are larger than themselves and others are afraid of things that are not able to be seen. One of the most formidable fears that exist is the fear of failure.
If we are to examine the fear of failure I feel that it is always important to define things. If we endeavor to define words we will often find that we say one thing, but mean quite another. I have seen people argue things. Some people go in circles about certain points that could be made. I have also seen people go round and round about certain things that are the same things, only they are said a different way.
The first word I think we should define is fear. Some fears are healthy and benefit us greatly. If for example we are afraid of being in a boat and rocking it to the point that we fall into the water we are less likely to stand up so everyone can see how amazing we look as we practice ballet without a life jacket on. We are less likely to stand up on the boat and more likely to wear our floatation device. If however have a paralyzing fear of people when we come into contact with anyone we don’t know, we will likely want to protect ourselves and not go around them. We are less likely to go outside and less likely to meet people. Sometimes our fear can control us to the point that we are unable to do anything when we come into contact with it. It is possible for our fear to not keep us safe, but rather make us go to a point where we are actually in a place of danger. It is this type of fear that I wanted to write about today and it doesn’t necessarily always put us in danger. We aren’t always in danger, but we are always less effective.
Besides fear there is one word left to be defined and that word is failure. Many people are afraid of failure, or at least that is what they say. I submit to you that we are in reality often afraid to make mistakes and call it a fear of failure. What is the difference between a mistake and a failure? The way that I define mistake and failure will be in the following sentences and will refer to these words from here after in this way: I define a mistake as something that we should or should not do, but we don’t know until we try. I define a failure as something that we should or should not do and do it or don’t anyway. So a mistake is doing something wrong because we don’t know any better and a failure is doing something wrong because we choose to. Based on this definition it would seem that a fear of failure would be a fear of doing something wrong on purpose.
This definition might seem basic, but it is really amazing how many people say one thing, but really mean something different. As an example I knew someone whom I will call (A) was moving to an area and he was going to help another with a job that I will call (B). While (A) was in the process of moving to the location he was put in charge of the whole project because (B) quit. So instead of helping (B) only, (A) ended up taking on the full responsibility of a position in which (A) never planned on taking over in the first place. This person “stepped up to the plate” and things didn’t work out quite the way that (A) had hoped. The way the project turned out left (A) to feel like he had failed. There were many other things that worked against (A) in the project as well. If (A) was moving to help with a project and ended up taking over the whole thing; and If (A) while taking over the whole thing did the best he could, my question is where does the failure exist? If we are afraid to try because we might fail is that a good reason not to try? Would it be better to say that if we tried to do something and were not successful that we gave it our best effort and learned a great many things along the way? I can understand a situation where we might be hard on ourselves because we made a mistake and life and death were involved, but that is rarely the case. We don’t often have people who are not doctors try to do heart surgery. If we are in a position where the “Stakes are high” and we become afraid of failure what does that do for our chances of success? In most cases the fear will not push us to stretch, rather it will make it to where we are hindered and will not do our best. If you are someone who is more successful and try harder if you feel like “Failure is not an option” I truly wish you the best. If however you are one of the people who fear makes us feel choked and we aren’t as successful when we are afraid, I encourage you to look at this and consider if it will help you. As always let’s look and see if this helps us to get just beyond the bend!