13 Incredibly Simple Ways to Overcome the Fear of Failure

Imagine if you could do anything in the world without feeling fear or any negative feelings whatsoever.

The fear of failure is instilled in us from early childhood because of overly protective parents. It’s not easy to hear the words “No!” over and over again.

After awhile you start getting cautious about what you do. You constantly look to an authority figure to see if it’s okay.

As we grow, this negative belief becomes unconscious. You don’t even know it’s there. You just live your life as best as you can.

Overcoming fear of failure is not easy by any means, but it can be done, especially if you are determined to take your personal growth to the next level.

There is no magic pill that will transform you into a fearless hero, only steps that will take you closer to freedom from the imaginary jail cell of your mind.

1. Identify the Root Cause

“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald

Where does your fear of failure originate?

Sit down, take a few deep breaths, ask yourself when your fear of failure was formed, and observe what you see, feel, or hear.

When you see what caused your fear of failure, you’ll also see that your mind’s interpretation is far from accurate.

If your parents were overly protective, or if you had a particularly strict teacher, you’ll see that they did it because they want the best for you.

It’s easy to see how the you of the past interpreted events as he or she did. But if you look at the event as an outsider, you will see that it had nothing to do with you.

It’s crucial to examine all of your negative beliefs, because they have a big influence on how you live your life.

2. Simplify

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” — Leonardo da Vinci

Complexity is hard to visualize, and if you try, you will feel overwhelmed. Everything will feel hopeless and not worth doing, because you just don’t know how.

When I began my online journey, I was overwhelmed to say the least. I had no idea of where to go, what to do, or how to do it.

When I simplified the tasks that I needed to do, it all became much easier. I had no problem taking action because I had broken everything down into actionable pieces.

And if I didn’t know what to do, I’d ask someone, or join a training program.

I took the task of starting a website and broke it down to coming up with a domain name, buying hosting, getting a website up and running, and getting a simple design.

It also didn’t hurt that I was determined to make it work. If you don’t have that fire burning inside of you, you should think twice about moving forward.

Find your passion, and boldly go where you have never gone before.

3. Failure is Inevitable

“It is foolish to fear what you cannot avoid.” — Publius Syrus

Let’s face it, failure is inevitable if you want to live a remarkable life. I know you want to live a life full of passion, meaning, and purpose.

We all do.

But it’s not going to happen if you succumb to your fears and try to look for a more comfortable way out, because there is none.

Sooner or later you will have to overcome the fear of failure, and you will have to overcome many other fears during your lifetime.

Sometimes it’s overwhelming, frustrating, and exhausting. I know, I’ve been there, but the more you move through tough periods, the faster you’ll grow.

If you want the life of your dreams, make failure a part of your life.

Embrace it.

4. Fail More. Succeed More.

“There is no failure. Only feedback.” — Robert Allen

The more you fail, the more you succeed.

I was lucky to learn that lesson early in my life. When I became a professional poker player, I was 18, and I already knew that the more feedback I got, the faster I would learn.

I crave constructive criticism. It is a chance for me to improve what I’m doing.

I never assume that I know it all, nor do I assume that I am above failure. Even the most successful people fail every single day.

The difference between the successful and the not-yet-successful is the realization that failure is simply a stepping stone, not a permanent event.

5. Failure is Temporary

“Failure is an event, never a person.” — William D. Brown

Failure feels permanent, but it isn’t. You and I both know that, but we don’t act like it is so.

You may imagine yourself failing and the movie in your head stops there. If you let the movie play, you will realize that that failure may be exactly what you needed.

It may be the messenger of the lesson you needed to succeed down the road. Failure isn’t easy, but it is what will make you the person you want to become.

I’ve failed more times than I can count, yet I still fear failure. The difference now versus when I was in my late teens is that I know that the fear of failure is just a thought.

It conjures up feelings in my body that feel bad. It has no bearing in reality. It is often exaggerated and out of control.

Most people never stop to observe their thoughts. And they never stop to ponder that their thoughts could be wrong.

Why give your thoughts all that authority if they make you feel bad?

6. Free Your Mind

“The mind is everything. What you think you become.” — Buddha

See your thoughts for what they are … thoughts.

Thoughts can be eliminated, feelings can be alleviated, and fears can be overcome.

You can do this by taking massive action and facing your fears. You can also use methods such as The Work, EFT, and meditation.

I have personally been using EFT since I was 16. I have been meditating on and off for the same time. And I recently got acquainted with The Work.

Here’s a video on EFT that shows you how you can use it right away:

There’s more to life than being a slave to your mind, your programming, and the beliefs of society. You think what you become, so make sure you get it right on the inside before you blame the outside.

So many people try to get more money, better relationships, and seek happiness only to end up where they started.

They seek something outside of themselves, when everything they wanted was right in front of them.

7. Shift Your Perspective

“Failure teaches success.” — Japanese Saying

Who taught you that failure was a bad thing?

It feels bad, so it must be bad. Is that really true?

Every belief and thought that makes us feel bad needs to be examined. What good does a fear of failure do us?

It’s easier said than done to eliminate negative beliefs, but it all starts with being aware that a problem actually exists.

The last thing you want to do is get mad at yourself for not being perfect. We all have our unique fears and they are there for a reason.

Your fears will help you grow in the way you need to grow. You realize your negative beliefs when they need to be realized. There is no rush. This is not a competition. You’re doing perfectly.

Look at each failure as a blessing in disguise. It is not through success that we become wise, but through our failures.

I learned this lesson particularly well when I played poker for a living for half a decade. In poker, luck is a big factor, which means that you can play well, but still lose for weeks and months.

It can be extremely frustrating, but what it teaches you is discipline, and it teaches you to constantly improve your game.

It taught me one of the most valuable lessons of my life, which is to look at the negative periods as times of learning.

The same goes for life. Whenever you’re faced with something particularly difficult, learn from it and grow, because it will pass.

8. Self Growth

“Supposing you have tried and failed again and again. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.” — Mary Pickford

We all have the same basic fears. While same get through them easily, others get stuck. Use your fears as signposts that tell you where you have room to grow.

Fear of failure is something everyone faces at one point or another. This isn’t the end of the world, but the beginning of an amazing journey.

I know you may feel like being afraid of failure is horrible. That is because you imagine it to be so in your mind. Look at the pictures and thoughts that come up when you think about the fear of failure.

What do you see? Do you see yourself failing in front of a large group of people, which then proceed to laugh and point?

They are nothing but thoughts. You can get through them if you want to. You’ve already taken the first step by reading this article.

Even if you wanted to go back to your comfortable existence, it’s already too late, because the seed has been planted by you reading this article ;)

9. Embrace Fear

“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Everyone is afraid to one degree or another. No one is different. It’s ingrown into our biological mechanism.

The sooner you befriend your fear, the faster you can keep moving forward. It is not fear that stops you from going after your dreams, but what you decide to do because of those fears.

You can reprogram the way you react to your fears, thoughts, and worries. Whenever I am working on something that is important, such as doing what I love, and a fear pops up, I know I will get through it.

The alternative is giving up, which isn’t an option.

If you are determined to go after your passion, your fears will become insignificant in comparison.

10. Take Action

“I failed my way to success.” — Thomas Edison

We have more knowledge at our fingertips now than ever before in history. The internet gives you access to endless amounts of courses, guides, and training programs.

No matter what you want to do, you can learn. It’s fantastic. But it can also be paralyzing and a breeding ground for fear.

The what if thoughts enter your mind and you start worrying about this and that. No matter what, if you take action, you will eventually end up in the right place.

When you blend action with the guidance that comes from your heart, your progress will be fast, powerful, and fulfilling.

You see, while most people sit at the sidelines waiting for the perfect moment, you will be out there learning, doing, and growing.

That is what will get you to the life of your dreams.

11. Imagine Your Future

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” — Vincent van Gogh

Sometimes negativity helps.

Imagine your future if you let every fear you had control your life.

What does it look like?

Where would you end up?

Do you think you would regret it when you’re at the end of your life?

Now imagine your life if you had overcome every fear on your path. You would be living the life of you always desired.

You would look back at your life without regrets. Sure, you may have done some foolish things, but they just added some spice to your life.

You can sit home and feel sorry for yourself all you want, but it isn’t going to make your life different. Only you have the power to change your life, so you might as well start now.

12. Stay in the Now

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha

Most of us live in either the past or in the future.

We regret what we’ve done (or not done), or we worry about what’s to come.

Using the past and present is fine when done with a purpose, like #11 up there, but letting your mind run amok will do you no good, as you probably already know.

There are no problems in the present. You are okay right now. You have a roof over your head, you have food in the fridge, and you feel fine.

You would be fine without a roof as well. What would make it not okay is your mind, and the stories it tells around your situation.

Accept the gift that is the present moment.

Breathe, smell, hear, and enjoy who you are, right now. You already have the key to your happiness.

13. Follow Your Passion

“No man is a failure who is enjoying life.” — William Feather

Last, but definitely not least is to follow your passion. We both knew this was coming ;).

If you decide to follow your passion, you will be much more likely to blast through your fears.

You know, like me, that doing anything other than going after your dreams is not an option. I might feel secure in a regular job, but I would never be happy or fulfilled.

Sometimes I feel like I am not living life, but life is living me. I go with my feelings and my heart. I do what excites me.

It’s an interesting way to live, and I invite you to try it.

Overcoming fear of failure is as hard as you make it. When you face your fears, you will realize that they are nowhere as bad as you thought they would be.

So what will it be?

Your fears, or the life of your dreams?

Image by Sean

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Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this insightful entry with us! It’s really helpful for us to take a close look at our fears and realize for ourselves that our fears are only as powerful as how much we deem them to be.

    And on hindsight, whatever that may seem scary or intimidating at first, is nothing more than a thrilling and exhilirating experience. In fact, if life was without fears and resistance, then we would be missing out on the opportunities for us to step out and be challenged.

    Cheers! ;)

  2. Purple'S Theory says:

    First I would like to say how I Love. I mean love all the points mentioned here. It is nice to see people write exactly what they feel and share with the world. Fear, I used to be afraid of failure, the biggest negative characteristic about me. I feared everything, my self, my work, people, I was constantly worried of the world around me. Since I had my big depression in 2008, learning to growth in love with myself, I fear nothing. I truly believe everything happens for a reason and that is how I see the world. Oh, i still stress about the little things in my life, but as I said, i am still growing but I no longer fear that life will stop me all together.
    It had been a while since I had visited your blog but for me this was the most inspiring blog of the day. thank you so much.

  3. A really well written, telling it like it is post Henri. I really enjoyed reading it and took my time with a good cup of coffee ;)

    I have a really strong passion for something, which is constantly being held down due to a irrational fear that’s stuck in my head. It really is amazing how much our growth stagnates when we let fear overcome us.

    Like you said, taking small, simple steps at a time is the best way to overcome what’s holding you down.

  4. Henri,

    These are very solid points when it comes to getting rid of your fears!

    I like especially the point #10. Taking action plays a crucial part of getting rid of your fears. Also, I have realized too, that when you are passionate about something, the fear looses it’s meaning.

  5. To me I don’t mind fear and can co-exist with fear as long as it only makes me uncomfortable but doesn’t paralyze me into becoming a spectator of life who is a afraid to participate. As an example i’m not crazy about flying (esp. taking off and landing) but this doesn’t prevent me from traveling and seeing the world. And I like what Churchill said about failing “If you want to double your rate of success, double your rate of failure”.
    Riley

  6. It’s never failure, only feedback :)

    Really it comes down to embracing the challenges and welcoming the failures that come with it. The people that I’ve seen succeed at something got there through a lot of trial and error. It’s the ones who try to protect themselves completely that never allow themselves to fully grow. Fail, fail, fail until you succeed.

  7. Henri,
    This was excellent. You really addressed every aspect of dealing with fear.
    thank you!
    Angela

  8. Hello Henri. Great post as usual. My biggest fear now is the fear of failure and with it the fear to live throw the years without actually living, but only existing. I feel like I lost many years in the dark and now that I’ve grown and can do something about it, I’m finding hard to start and see it throw. Anyway, all the items on you list are very helpful and right on the nose.

    I’m not giving up ;)

    thank you! **

  9. Thanks Henri-
    The quotes alone are worth the read. I appreciate the inspiration…

  10. Christiaan says:

    A great article Henri, a fear of failure is with us constantly. We’ll just have to accept it and find a way to align ourselves without letting fear dominate our decisions.

    Identifying the root of your fear is a very tough one indeed. As soon as you really understand what your fear is. Me bet is that you’re no longer afraid of it. Investigate your fears and overcome them.

    The people who fear failure tend to do everything they can not to fail. So they don’t experience what it actually is to fail and they keep feeding this unknown with anxiety. They slowly become what they fear. So I really like the quote you gave us: “Failure is an event, never a person.” — William D. Brown . Hits the nail on the head.

    You are not a failure!
    A little help in fear-management would probably benefit us all

    Thanks for this inspiring post,

    Christiaan

  11. Back when I was writing software, occasionally the program would get to a point where I realized that dumping the whole thing and starting over was the only correct answer. It seemed like a lot of hard work was wasted, but the new program almost always came together very quickly, and usually was much simpler and easier to maintain.

    Sometimes, letting go of something that we have created is painful. But sometimes, the only way to move forward is to do just that. Having trust and faith in our own abilities and skills is one way to move beyond fear. Just remember, you made it this far, why doubt that you can make it even further, and better!

  12. Tony Fedorowicz says:

    Reducing your fears is the most important “inner work” you can do as fears are the main source of self-limiting beliefs and other unproductive obstacles in our lives. The fear of failure sits at the top most people’s list and is the root cause for many other symptomatic fears.

    The 13 incredibly simple ways to overcome the fear of failure are powerful and life changing. I have been using them over the past weeks and have had amazing results. Point 12 on staying in the now is the key to all the previous points. From my experience it should be point 1 “be in the now” providing the right state for all the subsequent points. I use mindfulness practices to be and stay in the now and this makes the “inner work” way more effective.

  13. chantal says:

    This article really helped me to understand the goal at hand thank you.

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