Breaking News! Fail Fast and Fail Often
Do you suffer from fear of failure? Do you ever procrastinate because you’re not sure how it will turn out? Do you avoid situations where you will have to try something new in front of people? Have you ever put off doing something you know will improve your life even though you have no good reason as to why?
If you answered yes to even one question, then congratulations, you have fear of failure. But take heed because you are not alone. So what exactly is fear of failure? The technical term is atychiphobie. It’s the irrational anxiety that accompanies a goal, causing an individual to sabotage their chances of success.
“It’s the binary opposite of fear of success,” explained one scientist. “For example, I don’t ever volunteer for lead researcher because that way I won’t get a promotion and have to do actual work.”
Everyone hates to fail, that much was can agree on. Feelings of disappointment, regret, anger and frustration can be triggered, so can anything be done to minimize these emotions? First, one must understand that it’s a fear of public shame or humiliation that we are trying to avoid. It began when we’re young and gave a wrong answer in class, the backlash from our teachers and peers can permanently leave a scar. Shame gets to the core of our egos, damaging our self-esteem, making us feel incompetent.
“I always tell students there are no wrong answers,” said a researcher who also works at an elementary school. “Unless that kid is totally annoying as hell, then a little shame can work wonders.”
So what’s a person to do to combat these feeling and go after their goals? Start by setting small goals. Instead of saying you want to lose 100 pounds, begin with losing 5 pounds. Second, own the fear. Expressing these fears helps minimize the chance for unconscious self-sabotage that can occur. Third, focus on areas that you have control. For example, instead of saying you can’t find work due to “not knowing the right people” make it a goal to network.
“For me networking was very difficult,” stated a participant in the study. “But what you do is pick places that serve hors d’oeuvre and free alcohol. Though I still haven’t found a job, I no longer fear walking into a room full of strangers. So I’ve got that going for me.”
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