Fear of Failure

Napoleon Bonaparte once said “He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat.” What the former French Emperor is saying that those who live in fear of failing are bound to.

Fear of failure is something that grips all of us. Nobody wants to fail but sometimes in life you have to, there can be no two ways about. Life is for the brave and the bold and sometimes you have to get burnt.

Below are some tips to deal with failure rather than be consumed by fear.

Embrace your mistakes

Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychologist, proposed a theory that showcased the differing mindset’s of those who embrace their mistakes in the pursuit of success and those who berate themselves of failures. Dweck discovered that those that embrace failing have a growth mindset – a persona that is tough when face with failure and see it is a necessity for learning and achieving. Those that get caught up in failure and punish themselves for it have a fixed mindset.


How you can change from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset is surprisingly easy, simply, change your outlook. Don’t get worked up over a mistake. Successful people do not see failure as a catastrophe but as an educational tool. They can look to their failings and use what they learn for their next attempt.

Look to others

You have to remember that you are not the only person to ever be in this position. There have been millions before and will be millions after, you are just one of the many who are threatened with failure. The most famous basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, was cut from his high school basketball team, Steven Spielberg got rejected from film school three times and J.K. Rowling was receiving welfare payments whilst writing Harry Potter. The point is, when you think that you are at your lowest ebb and it is time to give up look around at others who have made it. If you know you have got it, you have got it, you just need to make the people around you realise that.

Burn the boats

It is a headstrong idea but one that can work. In ancient Greece their armies would burn their boats upon landing, effectively stranding themselves. With no route home available until victory is theirs, the soldiers resolve immediately toughened. So don’t be afraid to commit yourself, by getting rid of that boat you can only go in one direction instead of diddling about going round in circles. Soon after, the fear of failure will subside as you come to realise that it will not save you.



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