Almost all of us have been overwhelmed or overpowered by ‘atychiphobia’ at least once in our lives that prevented us from accomplishing what we had set out to achieve. Wondering what atychiphobia is? Atychiphobia is the irrational, morbid, unprovoked, and the constant fear of failure.
Like with most other types of phobias, ‘the fear of failure’ can severely undermine one’s self-confidence. The apprehension that one might fail, may actually compel an individual to choose mediocrity to prevent oneself from braving the risks required in achieving excellence.
There’s hardly anyone who has not experienced such feelings at some stage in their lives. The fear that you’ll fail is a very overawing emotion that can have a devastating and deleterious effect on you and leave you feeling dispirited. The fear of failure can stop you in your tracks and thwart you from realizing your full potential.
We all live in a world that puts an unduly high premium on achieving ‘success’ and ‘perfection’ in almost every sphere of life. Modern society seeks to gauge an individual’s worth in terms of his material success-the amount of money he or she’s earning, the sort of lifestyle he or she’s leading and so on.
However, just as this drive for excellence can bring out the best in some, it can equally force many people to either retreat into their shells or play safe. But always playing safe and never attempting to take risks means that you’ll have to forego the chances of ‘making it’ in life. That in turn will mean that you’ll never be able to have a fulfilling life and live life on your own terms. You’ll often keep cursing yourself for never having tried and end up getting frustrated. You’ll be repeatedly regretting and lamenting over the opportunities that you let go.
1. Root Causes Linked to Fear of Failure
Before delving into the root causes that implants unwarranted feelings of ‘fear of failure’ in us, it is necessary to evaluate and assess how we define failure in the first place. Since all individuals have their own value systems, and beliefs, it follows that the parameters or yardsticks for classifying or identifying failures are distinct as well.
Generally, failure in a person’s life would signify that particular individual’s futility or ineffectiveness in realising his career objectives. For a majority of the people being successful in life means being highly qualified (both professionally and academically), being employed in a lucrative job, having a supportive family, owning assets and so on.
So, for these people success is more personal and relative to ‘standards’ or ‘norms’ traditionally benchmarked by society. Therefore, if someone fails to live up to those established standards, he is deemed a failure. Once the fear of failure grips a person, he or she finds it more comfortable to stay put within his make-believe world rather than come out of his comfort zone and take risks. Such a person gets easily thwarted or discouraged by failure.
Then again, there are people for whom success means taking on a more egalitarian approach. For them success is synonymous with helping the poor and downtrodden in society. These people are not afraid of minor ‘setbacks’ or ‘failures’ as their success is inextricably linked with enriching the lives of other people. These people seem to go on from failure to another without losing their enthusiasm.
But what are the causes of atychiphobia? One of the major causes seems to be the fact that we are so caught up with being successful that we go haywire when we come a cropper. Most of us are not willing to accept the fact that failure is as much a part of life as success. We often tend to underestimate the sacrifices that one has to make to achieve success. We just have to review the lives of great men in history to realize what one has to go through to be successful.
Another reason for our fear of failure is nursing unrealistic expectations. We want to attain success on our very first attempts and if we’re unable, we quickly jump to the conclusion that we’ve failed. Failure is just a stage in the process or path that leads to success and not an end in itself. You cannot become successful overnight.
Sometimes, having too unsupportive or demanding parents can instil fear of failure in us. Going through a traumatic phase at an early stage in your life could be yet another reason. A trauma could leave lifelong scars on your psyche that could severely sap your confidence to take on the challenges or risks so very essential for becoming successful.
The long and short of it all is that if you won’t be able to realize and savour success if you don’t taste failure. Apprise yourself of the following Tips to Overcome Fear of Failure.
2. Learn to Take Failures in Your Stride
Just recall those times when you did something for the first time and the number of time you failed before you got it right. When you were a toddler learning to stand up on your two feet, you certainly have lost count of the number of times you fell. Try to remember the days when you were practicing to ride the bicycle or motorbike. You must have fallen more times than number. Take every failure or mistake as a blessing in disguise as you get to learn from them so that you don’t repeat them in future.
3. Don’t Get Bogged Down by Failures
Just because you’ve failed to attain good grades in your first semester or term-end examinations does not mean it is the end of road for you. Or just because you could not secure admission in your college of choice doesn’t mean you’re life is doomed. If you reflect on the failures or hindrances that great personalities had to confront, then your own setbacks would seem trifle.
Abraham Lincoln failed repeatedly at the hustings, before he could become the US President. Thomas Edison went on to become the greatest inventor of all times although he was deaf and a school dropout. There are many such instances. Accept that there’ll always be failures alongside success.
Instead of getting bogged down and disheartened with your past failures, try to learn from them. Furthermore, don’t keep looking back at your past and dwell on what could have been. How’ll get ahead in life if you persistently keep regretting about your past?
4. Imagine the Worst that Could Happen to You
We have a tendency to make a mountain out of a molehill when we fail in a particular task or activity. We have a proclivity to take failures too seriously as if everything’s over for us. If we introspect about the worst that could happen to us if we don’t succeed, it’ll go a long way in alleviating our fear of failure to a considerable extent.
5. Take One Step at a Time
Sometimes your anxiety or nervousness may propel you to rush through the learning process (that’d lead to your success) rashly or impulsively. Your acute fear may put a screen over your eyes that’d prevent you from seeing the reality per se. Therefore, instead of rushing headlong, just take one step at a time and tread cautiously. This’ll give you the time and space to weigh every move you make.
6. Always Be in the Company of Positive People
Try to avoid being in the company of people who’re always cynical about everything and everybody. Being around such people would rather have a negative influence on you. If you’ve set your sights on passing a certain competitive exam or an entrance test that’ll open the floodgates of success in your life then you should spend time with people who’ve already made it. You’ll be able to learn from them about how they conquered their fears of failure.
7. Remember ‘Success’ or ‘Failure’ Are Relative Expressions
More often we tend to do things without essentially realizing the benefits that might accrue to us for doing the same. You sometimes enrol for a professional course thinking that it may stand you in good stead in the near or far future. However, you drop out of the program when your mind keeps telling you that it’s not worth it after all.
For instance, you take up a professional typing course and then opt out of it after a few months thinking that it is not going to serve any purpose, then signing up for the course was a failure in the first place. However, if you go on to take up assignments as a freelance content writer then the typing skills you learned while you’re halfway through the course will come to your aid. So, taking up the course was not an utter failure after all.
In closing up, it can be said that you should learn to take fears in your stride and exploit them to your advantage. Remember that oftentimes, overcoming fear can be the key to your success.