All massively successful people have the courage to fail.
Success requires mastery and mastery is achieved by perfecting the process by evaluating the feedback from failures and mistakes.
The fear of failure results in inaction. If the fear of failure paralyzes you, you will not act. When there’s no action, there’s no chance of success.
You must not fear failure. No matter how many times you fail, one success erases all the failures.
Therefore, conquering the fear of failure is an integral part of becoming a successful man. There’s no other way.
Here’s a five-step strategy to conquer the fear of failure:
Step #1) Accept that failure is an inevitable part of success
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
— Wayne Gretzky
Successful people fail a lot more than ordinary people.
The problem is not failing. Everybody does it. Failing doesn’t make you a loser. Giving up does.
It’s not how much you fail. It’s how you recover from failures.
Winning doesn’t mean never losing or failing. Winning is learning from your failures, cutting your losses and moving on until you succeed.
Have the courage to act and fail. Failure is a teacher. Like MJ DeMarco said, failure is the sweat of success.
Step #2) Remove your self-worth out of the line
Failing doesn’t make you worthless.
If your self-worth is at stake, the idea of failure is frightening. If you remove your self-worth from the equation, you will be less afraid to fail.
You should never tie your self-worth to your achievements. If you risk losing your sense of self-worth in the face of failure, you will be paralyzed to act.
When you have an unshakeable sense of self-worth, failure doesn’t faze you.
If you put your self-worth on the line before you engage in any endeavor, you already lost from the get-go.
Here’s how it works:
There’s a psychological phenomenon called confirmation bias. It is the human tendency to see all evidence as supporting your beliefs.
If you believe that you are worthless, every failure will look like confirming your belief. If you have an unshakeable sense of self-worth, failure doesn’t faze you. If you don’t, every failure will reinforce your self-doubts, destroy your confidence and result in avoiding action. It’s a downward spiral.
The legendary self-help guru Norman Vincent Peale once said, “It is an affront to God when you have a low opinion of yourself.”
No failure is worth losing your sense of self-worth.
Detach your sense of self-worth from your failures.
Step #3) Free yourself from the shackles of the past
Often, a past failure causes so much trauma that we avoid trying again in the future.
The fact that you failed in the past doesn’t mean that you must fail in the future. It’s crucial to resolve the past issues and move on.
According to Jordan Peterson, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, if you have a memory that’s more than 18 months old and when you pull that memory up to mind, if you still have an emotional reaction, that means you haven’t fully articulated the memory. You haven’t analyzed it casually, you haven’t freed yourself from its grasp and you are carrying it like a weight.
There’s only one reason you remember the past. That’s to be prepared for the future.
Writing about past traumas caused by past failures is a proven way to help you drop the weight of the trauma and move on.
Step #4) Stop caring about what others think.
Another reason for the fear of failure is caring about other people’s opinions.
What if everybody laughs at you when you fail? What if everybody thinks you are incompetent?
We are socially conditioned to care about the opinions of others. You weren’t born like that. It’s a learned trait. You weren’t like this when you were a kid.
Kids learn a language easier not because they are superior at learning but because they are not ashamed to butcher grammar and spelling. They don’t care if you laugh at them or make fun of them. Kids are not self-conscious. They don’t care about what others think about their failures. They don’t have self-doubt. They don’t have shame. That’s how they manage to learn how to walk and talk. They keep failing until they succeed.
You were taught at school to be terrified of failing. But real life doesn’t work that way. Failing is a must to advance in life. Shame is a learned trait. It’s not natural. Eliminate the shame.
Understand that other people will always try to instill doubts inside you. Develop a thick skin against the criticism of others.
The moment you stop caring about other people’s opinions, you get rid of another shackle that’s preventing you from having the success you desire. It’s nobody’s business whether you fail or not.
Step #5) Go and fail
You fear rejection? Go approach a girl. You fear failing in business? Start a low-cost, small business. You fear public speaking? Go and speak in front of an audience.
Do what you fear and bomb spectacularly. You will see that it’s not as scary as you thought it would be. As long as you take calculated risks, you will be fine.
Failure is necessary to eventually succeed. Next time you fear failure, go through the five-step strategy outlined above and conquer your fear of failure.