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Don’t let the Fear of Failure hold you back


Cross blogged from:

Inclined to play it safe? Most people are, and we definitely understand why, in this world full of uncertainty, misfortunes, fickle economies and the associated feeling of fear.

But it isn’t as if playing safe is without its share of risks. Not taking risks means you effectively bottleneck your chances of success. It’s common practice to underestimate your individual merit, the ability to heal and stand up again. Opportunities pass by, inspire stagnation and plateau the learning curve.

History has taught us that fortune favors the brave where stories of great successes are also ones of great failures.

  • An editorial dated December 10, 1903 in the New York Times questioned the wisdom of the Wright Brothers trying to invent a flying machine that was heavier than air. A week later, at Kitty Hawk, the Wright Brothers took flight and made history.
  • A young cartoonist named Walt Disney faced many rejections from newspaper editors, who said his work had no talent. Eventually a minister at a church hired him to draw some cartoons. He worked out of a small mouse­ infested shed near the church. The birth of Mickey Mouse the cartoon was in that same shed.

This list can go on.

With this post, we hope to balance the perspectives of risk and reward to help you overcome the fear of failure. The following strategies have had an encouraging rate of success against forces of fear –

  1. Be aware of the cost of opportunities lost
    Most people fail to consider the benefits they forfeit by avoiding high risk-high reward opportunities. Most people achieve less than a fraction of what they are capable of achieving because they are afraid of grabbing opportunities. People who do and experience success or happiness call it luck. And luck as Dale Carnegie puts it is nothing but the meeting place of your alertness and all the opportunities passing by. So be aware. Be alert.
  2. Know the unknown
    A major source of fear is the unknown. Not knowing what you’re dealing with makes the future seem far worse than it actually is. By knowing and understanding potential outcomes you can wring the fight out of your fears.
  3. Worst comes to worst, how bad can it really be?
    It is important to put the worst-case scenario in perspective to tackle fear. Putting a positive spin on the worst outcome possible can make the difference and allow you to take the plunge. Consider how long it will take to recover from the setback as well. Chances are it is less than you expect. Don’t let fear let you settle for mediocrity indefinitely!
  4. Make a contingency plan and be prepared to learn from mistakes
    Having a contingency plan in place to mitigate the risk is another way of overcoming fear. Taking up high risk opportunities doesn’t mean you have to lose it all. By cleverly managing the liabilities you build a safety net in case of failure. Be open to learning from possible failure as each failure is an opportunity for future growth. Even if it sets you back economically, the learning can far outweigh the loss.
  5. Act!
    A sure fire way to overcome fear is taking action. Everything is hard the first time you try it. But by taking that first step, you gain knowledge and experience of being on the other side of the fence. Act in the face of fear by taking small steps thereby managing the level of your fears.


We all make mistakes. Yet fear of failure shouldn’t cripple your chances of potential success. There’s no shame in feeling fear. Just do it anyway. :)

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