Maybe your life is stuck, or you are fed up with a dead-end job, or you seem to have less fun and excitement in your life. Plenty of people share the same problem.
The enemy behind our unhappiness is the actual fear of failure. We are often simply terrified to try something new because we are scared we will be bad at it and make mistakes. This holding back leads to boring and stale life.
But how to overcome the fear of failure and improve your life by taking risks and embracing failure?
The fear of failure
Did you ever felt anxious about starting a new hobby like surfing or playing an instrument? The reason why we often are afraid of starting something new is that being a beginner mostly involves being bad at something compared to more experienced people, and we don’t want to look bad.
This mindset is extremely limiting if you turn it upside down. Your fear of failure often single handily promises failure.
If you want a promotion at work, for example, you might fear being refused keeps you from asking. It is the same as failure, which only happens to your fear of failure. As a result, you work on a job you didn’t want and avoiding the person who got the promotion you wanted.
Or maybe you are at a bar and want to approach someone you find attractive but fear you don’t say the right words. The result? You have failed even before trying.
The point is to try and stepping out of your comfort zone you can learn a lot about yourself and what to do differently next time.
Imagine you finally take that martial arts after years of wanting to, but you didn’t like people throwing you over their shoulders. Nevertheless, you create a new experience met new people and discovered more about yourself. Maybe you didn’t really enjoy martial arts, but you can try something with less contact, which leads to even more new experiences.
So instead of avoiding failure, welcome it. While not all things work out, you’re missing out on finding new awesome opportunities when you don’t try at all.
How to overcome the fear of failure?
It feels that sometimes people crash into every possible hurdle while others never seem to stumble. The truth is we all fail. It is how we fail that separates us.
Struggle with failure has to do with how we view it. Often people assume that success comes from talent or intelligence rather the hard work and commitment.
When children are praised for their naturally gifted skills, they will find it harder to face challenges. They prefer to take an easier road over a harder one.
Such people cannot fail gracefully. When those children finally end up in college or the real world, they don’t understand the importance of hard work and criticism or how to fail.
It is not the natural gifted of talent but a graceful failure that leads to success even when it is a long, painful process. Those who see failure as normal have a growth mentally, which makes the fear of failure way lesser.
Why you need to make mistakes
Having a more fulfilling life usually leads to more success, but the expectation of this statement is failing. Most people don’t enjoy failure and try to avoid it; however, it should be encouraged.
Trial and error and failed attempts often lead to improvement in your skills. For instance, a ceramics teacher made a study in which he divided his students into two groups. One group should design the best pots it could in a set timeframe, and the second group constructed as many as possible at the same time.
The best pots came from the group focused on quantity, not quality. Why?
Because every time this group has produced a pot, it picked out the mistakes and corrected them. But the quality group had no failures to learn from, so they never improved.
Also, many companies and individuals have used failure to improve themselves and grow.
For example, Comedians like Chris Rock always perform in front of small audiences before pressing their program on tour for a bigger live audience. This way, they can see what jokes promise laugher and adjust it accordingly.
Failure helps not only individuals but also companies to grow.
Try to make mistakes and learn to form the failed attempts.
When you don’t want to take action
When you feel dissatisfied and bored with your life, and you have the same old routine of going to work, coming home, and watching tv. Then why don’t you change it?
The reason for most of us is fear.
Many people think if they want to archive their goals, they need a perfectly formulated action plan. However, such a plan is unrealistic and often not achievable because many are afraid to take action.
It is an outlook of life known as the not-yet approach. While we want success and happiness, we are afraid of failing due to the lack of a perfect plan, and whenever it is time to say action, we say “not yet” or “later.”
But we need to reverse this mindset: We should find happiness in the present moment and not wait for future events to bring us happiness.
So if you start doing small things that make you happy, you will most likely see positive results.
Success doesn’t come from planning; it comes from setting the opportunities when they appear.
For instance, take Cliff Bar, one of the most successful Powerbar brands founded by Gary Erickson. He didn’t start the brand with careful planning. Rather the idea came to him after cycling when he felt sick from eating other power bars. So he decided to take action and design natural power bars with a better flavor, and they became a huge hit.
Stop waiting for things to be and create something better instead!
How to have more fun in life?
We all want to have more fun. But does fund lead to more success?
Seeking out activities that you feel you enjoy can open up new opportunities.
To get the full benefit from new experiences, you need to find out if the amount of fun outweighs the negatives. Psychologists discovered that you should have at least a 3:1 ratio in happy vs. unhappy experiences.
The positive doesn’t need to be a huge activity. It can simply be a long walk with your friend or a nice cup of tea by the fireplace to draw in positivity.
A way to discover what you enjoy is to make a fun map of all the activities and places you frequently did and visited. Make a list and give a rating by level o enjoyment. Based on the result, try to avoid these things you feel the least happy like the train to work or the poorly lit office. This way you can seek activities and places you enjoy.
Having fun isn’t difficult, but many people are too scared to make an effort to change it. Don’t be one of them and explore the fun side of life.
How to find your curiosity again?
As children, we were mostly innately curious and so often bombard adults with questions like “Why is the sky blue” and “Why is the sun yellow?”. Innocent curiosity leads to constant new discoveries which expand their understanding of the universe.
But traditional schooling dims out natural wonder. We learn only to study the correct answers to questions and not to ask new ones.
Because of this schooling system, we often still have an attitude of fear about the world wide into adulthood.
We feel like using our childlike imaginations won’t serve the more important aspects of our lives, such as caress; instead, many believe that curiosity is unnecessary.
Imagine you have the desire to learn guitar. So your mother gifts a guitar, you may become excited and discover you can learn guitar by watching Youtube videos. But soon after, you feel familiar insecurities: it takes years to get the hang of it, and you might never develop a true talent. Then all this practicing would be wasted.
Yet you forgot the first step of picking up the guitar and strumming doesn’t have to be a long-time commitment. You could do it just out of curiosity.
You need to overcome these insecurities and embrace your curiosity, letting out your inner child run free. Let the curiosity take over and start questioning the world again by asking “why.” It will help you grow as a person no matter your age.
How to archive big goals
While it is important to strive for big dreams, such as starting your own business, it is crucial to think big and act small.
At a young age, we are told that success comes from having ambitious goals. As children, we are often pushed to aim for the top, like getting the best grades in school. But this tendency could actually have a harmful effect when you grow older.
For example, a guy named Tom wanted to take control and transform his bad lifestyle into an active one. His goal was to lose 30 pounds and run a marathon in a frame of one year. He bought a gym membership and expensive workout clothes, and he exercised six days a week. Yet after the first week, he felt like hell; his whole body ached, and he gained two pounds rather than lost weight.
When he had to work more, he quit his routine. But why did his ambitions fall flat?
Well, he did more than he could take. Breaking up large goals into smaller milestones makes it easier to archive them. It helps you stay motivated when you complete each step.
Back to the Tom example, he could have made it easier by having an exercise routine. Where he gradually transitions into an active lifestyle and then does a more calling workout later. By starting slow, he wouldn’t have burned out so fast in the beginning. He also would gain some satisfaction from seeing his progress when he achieved small goals.
So instead of trying to achieve a big goal at once, take it one set at a time.
Have you heard of the advice if you don’t succeed, try again and again?
Actually, success is not just about trying but also about failure. You might think that failing to archives a goal the first or second time makes you a loser. Think again.
Failure isn’t a bad thing because you need to fail to reach your goals. When you create an environment where failure is not just okay but encouraged, it will help experiment with ideas so you can archive success sooner than you think.
Why many people choose the wrong job
You probably wouldn’t marry someone with whom you have never been on a date. The same goes for your career.
Still, many people actually following such a career path they decided on without trying it out first. And remain in a job they hate even if they know better.
For example, a man that studied a decade of chemistry often won’t change to do something he liked. The reason is he might think he was wasting ten years of education just to have a better job would be ridiculous.
Unfortunately, many people have this mindset in such a situation.
But people can change at any point in time. We constantly evolve and have multifaceted personalities. So labeling people based on characteristics like rationality limits their opportunities and possibilities to develop new strengths.
Why can’t a logical person become a fantastic photographer instead of an unmotivated analyst? Or why shouldn’t the artist from next door become a skilled surgeon who creates revolutionary and innovative cancer treatment methods?
Because we don’t know if we like a job until we do it for a while, always give jobs a test run before working full time.
Imagine you were fascinated with animals when growing up. It doesn’t automatically mean you have to make veterinarian your career path. Maybe you do an internship and find out that you still like animals, but you are not drawn to work with them.
If you don’t like a job, don’t be afraid to try a new thing until you find one the makes you happy.
How to find a new job?
With unemployment, you not only have less money which causes stress your skillset also lack.
The best way to deal with this is to learn from your mistakes, widen your job search, and keep the forward momentum.
Job seekers should approach job search like salesmen approach sales.
1. set a specific goal for approaching potential clients.
2. Make sure to write down your attempt so you can learn from them later. Have a script that you can improve through your experiences.
3. Surround yourself with people who are in the same boat who can offer you their insights.
It will not only make the job search more automatic, but it will also make it easier to deal with rejection. And you can also reduce the average unemployment time.
Failure will happen, and that means we need to be prepared for it.
How to avoid bankruptcy
Imagine someone kidnapped you and tied cement blocks to your feet, and thrown you in the river—a nightmare situation for sure.
Yet to some people, this scenario is the legal equality of being in long-term debt. The easier way to avoid this situation is not to get yourself in debt in the first place.
As an example, Dave Ramsey, who in1986 at the age of 26, was worth $5 million and had a booming real estate business.
But unfortunately, a new law was introduced that revokes tax deductions for investor-owned real estate. His lender called in their loans; however, he couldn’t repay them, so he had to sell his assets at a loss. Then he needs to foreclose his home, filed for bankruptcy, and as a result, lost friends and almost his marriage
Since then, Ramsey has rebuilt his fortune and advises people to learn from his mistakes and avoid debt and bankruptcy at all costs. He advised spending less than you earn and save 15 percent of the difference.
Those who can’t stick to this financial plan sometimes have to file for bankruptcy. This isn’t necessarily bad because it allows debtors to start over, which is very important for entrepreneurs.
The concept of bankruptcy depends on your country, while in America, you can relocate both labor and money as quickly as possible in some European countries; bankruptcy comes with punishing conditions.
It is why there is higher entrepreneurial activity in the United States.
Do safety systems protect us from failure?
Have you noticed the more you rely on spell-check and autocorrect, the worse your spelling became?
Yes, relying on such a safety system made by technology can cause us to make mistakes. Sometimes we even think we are invisible.
Every day people trust in multiple layers of safety systems to make failure less likely. Psychologist James Reason named it the Swiss Cheese Model, where only on rare occasions when the holes of the layer align, failure happens.
For instance, we rely on many safety layers to avoid traffic accidents. People go to driving school, police lookout for drunk drivers, and the cars have anti-lock brakes, and so on.
It is a good thing that we have so many safety systems. Only 0.02 percent of drivers are killed in car accidents each year. Even so, many Americas admitted to driving while on the phone or have fallen asleep at the wheel.
But if you compare it to the medical field where medical staff has a checklist to wash their hands, use antibiotics, etc. There are still an estimated 100.000 people who die each year from illnesses contracted during treatment.
It shows safety systems aren’t always enough to protect us from failure because it is often unpredictable.
Why our predictions are often wrong
When you try to make up your mind to engage in a project, you may predict whether you will succeed or fail to see if the effort is worth your time.
However, such predictions are often laughable wrong.
Take the 1995 film Waterworld with a leading star actor, an amazing set, and a summer release. The film was anticipated to be a phenomenal success, but the movie instead was a major flop.
Two years later, another film with a water-based set but less famous caste and less popular release date and long three-hour run time showed all the signs of a big flop. And yet Titanic is one of the most successful films ever made.
It shows we aren’t always the best at making predictions. We mostly only find it out if something works when we try it and put the idea into the world.
There is always a possibility that things will turn out contrary to your best predictions.
Sometimes you are blind to what is in front of you
You might have a bad habit of trying to create a reality that matches your exceptions, but you fail to see what is really in front of you.
Modern psychology found out that we tend to show inattention blindness. It means we focus on one thing at the expense of others.
For example, in an experiment that demonstrates inattention blindness, students watched a video of people passing a basketball around. They are being told to count the number of times the ball was passed.
In their intense conception, the students failed to realize that a person in a gorilla costume entered the space and beat his chest, and casually leaves.
Many people stay in a relationship that feels unhealthy, or a company that they knew was doomed. The reason for doing so lies partly in human nature. People often act as if nothing is wrong when in reality, all signs point to a disaster.
The problem both companies and society focus on past successes but don’t address the actual issues they are facing. Instead, they bury their head in the sand until it is too late to act.
How to find a positive community
People you surround yourself with have a huge influence on your behavior. For instance, if you have a friend who drinks a lot, you are more likely to pick up drinking alcohol.
This effect teaches us to surround ourselves with an encouraging and supportive community. It isn’t all about networking for business where you only contact these people when you need something from them.
Instead, you need a community of people independent from each other and build on relationships.
As an example you are interested in climate change, then you should seek people who stand up for climate change. They will share your vision and help you gain a new perspective. To develop a community, you need to find a wide variety of people you look up to and who will positively influence your life.
Connect with people who encourage and help you better understand how to archive your own goals.
If you have an established supportive community, the people around you can help you solve any problem you may encounter. Of course, also help them if they need your opinion or assistance.
Get out there and meet people from all aspects of life. It will enrich your life and theirs.
The world can be complex and random
We naturally try to identify the reason for failure or disaster. But unfortunately, we often rush to judgment once we decide who the culprit is or what is to blame.
Most crises happened by many single factors, yet no event could bring the world to completely still stand. When we try to understand how or why things happen, we often prefer the easy story to a messy one to a more complex event that is beyond our control.
An interesting example is the rising rates of autism in children. It is easier to believe that chemicals in vaccines are to blame for rather than a yet undetermined mix of genetics, pollutants, and infections.
We need to learn to accept that randomness and complexity are what rule the world, not a simple imagery puppet master.
No one likes to fail, but the fear of failure can hold us back from amazing opportunities. So it is important to take risks and learn from inevitable failures to live a much more rewarding life.
Failure is naturally not just for you but for everyone else. Only when you try out new things and learn from mistakes and share risks and rewards with others, you can ensure success.