Future Self

Ways to Defeat the Fear of Failing

What is fear

Fear is defined in the dictionary as an unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger or pain. We often feel fear when there is some form of uncertainty, struggle, change, or when we get concerned about the future.

Fear in some instances is real, but in most cases, it is false evidence appearing real. It is often not how things are but how they seem.

There are various kinds of fear. Many people have arachnophobia or the fear of spiders while others have ophidiophobia or the fear of snakes. We have a natural fear response to loud noises and to falling.

Fear of speaking in public is known to be the greatest fear but the fear that can impact us the most is the fear of failure or lack of success. This fear of failure can come from the feeling of not being good enough or unloved. 

Why you feel fear

We all feel fear. Fear is a natural survival mechanism of human beings. It protects us by letting us move cautiously and helps us look out for danger in the world we live in. Fear will always be part of us.

Some of our fears developed from how we live. We fear because the world is telling us we are not good enough, that there is something we need to get to be part of a society. The world provides us with information that requires us to produce fear.

People want us to conform with what everyone is doing. Our ability to be frightened has been preyed upon by others that want us to live in fear. Others want us to be vulnerable.

The truth behind fear of failure is that you are frightened to move in the world in your own way. You are afraid that people will judge you and reject you if you fail. You feel that if people reject you, you would be alone and being alone would make your own survival more difficult.

How fear limits you

Although fear exists to protect us, if you let it consume you or do not manage it well, you will live a life that you do not want.

Fear is a powerful emotion. Fear gives us the adrenalin to act either by running away from or facing the situation. It can also paralyze or freeze us when we do not know what to do. Most people with fear forget everything and run because they do not want to tackle their fears.

When you run away from certain situations because of fear you do not advance or make progress. You rob yourself of the opportunities for you to grow and improve on yourself. It prevents you from doing what you are supposed to do.

Fear leads to worries, anxiety, and depression and if you elicit too much fear you burn out. Living in fear stops you from being who you are truly capable of becoming, from becoming the person you want to be and living the life you want.

How to defeat fear

Fear will always be a part of us. It will always exist to protect us from harm. The question is not how to get rid of fear but how to manage it, how to put it at the back of your mind so that it does not take over your life and prevent you from being the person you want to be.

So how do we now go about defeating our fears?

1. Be aware

Becoming aware is the first step to managing your fears. There are three things you must be aware of; one is, you must realise that you are not the only one who has been held back by fear. You are not the only one who does not want to fail. Everyone experiences fear because it is part of our survival instinct. There is nothing wrong with feeling fear, the only mistake is letting it direct your life.

Second, you must become aware that there is a part of you that wants you to stay where you are for you not to be in situations where you are under attack or rejected and judged. We tend to favor the negative narrative of fear because our mind is always trying to protect us, make us survive.

However, there is also another part of you that wants to progress. As human beings, growth is an essential part of us. You have a choice; you either let fear get the best of you or face your fears and advance. You can have the courage to face your fears if you choose to.

The third thing is for you to be aware of the onset of fear. The moment you realise you feel fearful you stop and take a deep breath. Acknowledge your fear. This allows you to immediately control your emotions and prevent it from escalating. You can control your mind to assess the real situation at hand rather than let your emotions rule and be paralyzed by fear.

You must likewise be aware of how fear is affecting you. Know the negative impacts it has on your life and the opportunities you missed because you let fear take hold of you. Wouldn’t your life be better if you took advantage of those situations instead of letting fear decide for you?

2. Change the way you think

The next most effective step to defeat fear is to change the way you think. Change your mindset, reframe the way you think about fear. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of fear, put more energy into thinking about the positive effects of fear.

You may not have the capacity to change the situation, but you can always change how you think and react as well as the stories you tell yourself.

Look for and tell yourself a different positive narrative. Say to yourself the situation is not there to hurt you but to give you points on how to improve yourself, to signify that it is time for a change. It is time for you to be better.

You do not know what the future holds. The negative narrative you tell yourself may be true but what if it is not. What if you succeed? What if you are not rejected? What opportunities did you miss? And if you do fail, is it the end?

The future can bring you endless possibilities. The next time you feel fear of failing, tell yourself that failure is a part of life, it is a way for you to grow, to create something new. Everyone fails in one point and if you do fail it is not the end but the beginning of a new step, a new method, a new creation.

Learn from your failures, use the learnings. Examine what you did wrong and start all over again this time avoiding the mistakes. Through these series of failures, you increase your knowledge of what works and what does not and adapt your actions until you finally succeed.

Believe in yourself and what you are capable of and not what others say about you or want you to do. Have the courage to stand up for yourself, to be who you want to be.

3. Vote for the person you want to be and invest

Always keep in mind the person you want to be and the future you want to have. Having clear goals gives you the power to act toward that future. Every action you do today is a vote for your future.

Whatever opportunities you let go of today because of fear is a step away from achieving your goal. Take advantage of every situation, know that each step you take is a step towards a better future.

If you feel you are not good enough and fear that you will fail because of it, then look for ways to improve yourself. Gain wisdom on the things that you feel you lack. If you fear to speak publicly then search for ways on how to be a better public speaker.

Use your fears as guides on what to develop in you. As you add knowledge, you also gain the confidence in yourself, the courage to do what you once thought you could not do.

You do not have to be who you are now; you can always be better. You have the choice and that capacity to do better.

4. Do not be afraid to ask for help

Fear can be a difficult emotion to manage. There are instances when you cannot cope with challenging situations, and it is in these times that you must seek guidance from other people.

Seeking help does not mean you are a failure. It just tells you that, in that moment in time you may be confused and overwhelmed and do not know what to do. Asking for help, talking to other people gives you different insights, different perspectives, perspectives that you may not have realized due to your overwhelming fear.

It is important that you surround yourself with people that support you and the things you want to do and accomplish. Being in a supportive community makes it easier for you to cope with challenges and minimizes your fear of being rejected or judged.

5. Give your greatest gift to the world

Giving is another way by which you can channel your energy positively. Instead of focusing on your fears you focus on what you can do for others. It lets you realize what you are capable of. Giving to others replaces your negative emotions with positivity and gratefulness.

Giving to others does not always have to be material things or finances. A smile, a hug, time spent talking to those in need can be more substantial than money. It lets others know you care and that someone understands them and supports them.

The next time you feel fear, step back and look at it from an unfamiliar perspective, seek ways on how to improve on yourself every day, never be afraid to ask for help as well as be a help to others.

If you want to know more ways to overcome your fears watch my YouTube episodes about it and learn how to have a better future by subscribing to my Future Self Podcast with Pete Cohen

Do not let fear rule you, use it to become a better person and have a fulfilling life.

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