The Mindset for Overcoming a Fear of Failure

Do you want to live your life to the fullest? If you do, then there is a big obstacle that you need to overcome. That obstacle is fear, and among the different kinds of fear, a major one is a fear of failure.

Imagine putting a lot of effort into something but it doesn’t work. What you get in return is nowhere near your expectations. It wouldn’t feel good, would it?

The problem is, the fear of scenario could prevent you from taking any action at all. And taking no action means making no progress. It means that your life will just stay the same. This, of course, is not the way to live your life to the fullest.

What should we do then? How can we overcome a fear of failure?

I found an answer when I read Originals by Adam Grant. The book is about people who dare to be different. There is a statement there that caught my attention:

“They know in their hearts that failing would yield less regret than failing to try.”

Failing would yield less regret than failing to try. You need to keep this in mind. The mindset that you need to have is this:

The regret of failing is less than the regret of not trying.

Yes, you might have regret when you fail. But guess what? The regret will be less than the regret of not trying!

When people are on their deathbeds, their regrets center around things that they didn’t do. They regret not taking risks. They regret not taking the actions to realize their dreams.

Don’t let this happen to you. Aim to have the least possible regret in your life. Yes, you might fail when you try. But the regret will be less than the regret of not trying.

10 Comments

  1. Yes, the regret of no trying feels worse than not trying. You’ll always wonder “what if” I’d taken that opportunity to do…. Thanks!

  2. Once I hitchhiked all by myself quite far away, I’ve been travelling for 2 weeks, sleeping in random places etc.

    Prior to the journey my friend said “few years from now you’l realize how stupid idea that was, you’ll be regretting it”.

    Few years have passed, and I think that was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

    I would only regret if I didn’t do it 🙂

    PS. Thanks again for your contribution to my roundup Donald!

  3. Good article, Donald. While fear of failure is certainly a big part of life for many people, the fear of success can be just as paralyzing. If you don’t have confidence in yourself to handle the additional responsibilities, workload, expectations, etc. that come along with success, than you may sabotage yourself just so you don’t have to find out.

    But I agree that you need to at least try. That’s the only way to learn and grow as a human being. One of my favorite quotes is “everything you want in life is on the other side of fear”. The difference between people who achieve great things and those who don’t isn’t that they are never afraid. They’ve just decided to face the fear and do it anyway. You have to get comfortable with pushing yourself outside your comfort zone on a regular basis.

  4. Nakawooya Malua
    Nakawooya Malua

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. I agree with every word of this article. Life is just gems of expiriences. If you don’t try, you never know the real result.

  6. In my country there is a proverb saying sth like “harbors are definitely safe places but ships are not supposed to remain there…”. Fear is a normal part of our lives, so is adventure, so is free will etc. Make the best out of it!

  7. Fear is the greatest obstacle in everything you do in your life. If you can overcome it then you are real free. Just it needs practice, practice and more practice.

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