Failure isn’t what holds people back. After all, it is part of the learning process. What keeps people from succeeding is a fear of failure. The amygdala – the region in our brain responsible for fear and aggression (fight or flight) — is programmed to fear failure, which is further enhanced by the fact that we live in a fast-paced world where competition is cutthroat.
While being careful is good, the truth of the matter is that a fear of failure means a lack of taking risks – which is required if people want to be successful. If you constantly find yourself in fear of doing something new because of the horror of failing, here are some techniques advised by psychological experts that might be helpful.
1.) Embrace your mistakes
This is perhaps the most important step. Embracing your mistakes means accepting who you are and what you can do. Carol Dweck, a psychologist from Stanford, says that people who are in pursuit of success share the same way of thinking: they embrace their mistakes and accept it as part of growth. Failure, after all, is a fundamental step in learning and improving as a person. If you criticize yourself for the littlest of mistakes, you’ll eventually hit a wall and stop improving. Don’t worry about failure, as even the most successful people in this world have failed hundreds, maybe thousands, of times before they finally succeeded. Change the way you think. Stop beating yourself up and see failure not as a tragedy but as a stepping-stone to success.
2.) Ask questions and seek help
People who want to make a name for themselves, or simply want to move ahead in a company, are afraid of looking incompetent when they ask for help. In reality, those who ask for help are actually viewed by the general public as someone who is eager to learn and succeed. In addition, when you ask other people for help, you’ll make people feel appreciated and smart. It’s a give and take situation where everybody wins.
Have you seen the movie Ocean’s 11? It’s one of the most exciting movies about overcoming great obstacles. It’s a film about the shrewdest thief of all time and how he plans on robbing a grand casino. Every thief who had tried to steal from the casino in the past failed, but Danny Ocean (George Clooney) was dead set on proving to the world that it could be done. In order for his grand scheme to work, he needed to have a crew. He wasn’t afraid of being seen by his peers as incompetent, so he sought the help of 11 other thieves to do the greatest casino heist of all time. Don’t rob a casino (that’s illegal), but realize that in order to overcome the impossible, one must never be afraid to ask for help.
3.) Stay in the now
One thing that pins us down is thinking too much about the past or future. We reflect on our past mistakes, and what the future potentially holds because of that mistake. Getting caught up in the past and future drains yourself of the energy you need to succeed today. Stay in the now and keep learning. There’s no shortcut to success which means you’ll sometimes stumble along the way. In order to keep yourself focused on your goal, don’t overthink things. The present, after all, is when we should be making history that will allow us to succeed in our future endeavors.
Cliché as it may be, the saying, “Fear is the greatest enemy” is true. People must condition their minds not to fear failure for it is the only way to succeed in life and become a better person.