What are the five keys to overcoming the “fear of failure?”


I think everyone has experienced the bitterness of failure.

I can’t count how many times I have felt frustrated.

Hello, my name is Santoshi.

It is difficult to start something new or make a drastic decision when you think, “What if I make a mistake and get angry?

Jade Wu, a clinical psychologist, has summarized how to overcome such “fear of failure” in five points.

◆1:Think specifically about what failure is.

Wu compares the fear of failure to a horror movie.

What is the scariest thing in a movie?

It is when you imagine what terrible things lurk in the darkness behind the door, and when the monster finally appears, the mystery is lost and you are no longer afraid.

Because the more vague the fear is, the more terrifying it is.

Similarly, the fear of failure becomes frightening as soon as we think, ‘What if something bad happens?

What can we do to combat these vague fears?

How can we counter these vague fears: “I’ll lose my mind during a class presentation and get an F in my grade?”

It helps to think about the specific consequences of failure, such as, “My company will go under and I will have to declare bankruptcy.”

Then you will realize that what you feared is actually not so catastrophic.

You will realize that this fear is not something that happens often, Wu said.

◆2:Thinking Seriously About “What If?”

What if you are driven by the fear of “what if I fail the test?” or “what if my business fails?”

You should seriously think about what would happen if that “what if” actually happened, and try to plan for it.

For example, if your business fails, you would notify your employees as soon as possible, compile your financial situation, consult with financial institutions, and sell what you can.

At the same time, you may want to rely on programs that can help you restructure your business, or you may want to tap into your emergency fund.

When you really address the ‘what if’ questions, you will naturally have a plan in place for failure, and you will instantly stop being afraid,” Wu said.


◆3:Stop imagining success

Many of us have heard or seen advice such as, “Imagining yourself successful is the quickest way to achieve your ideal.

However, a 2002 study of students preparing for jobs or exams and patients undergoing hip replacement surgery found that those who imagined a successful outcome were less likely to achieve it.

With regard to this result, imagined success is an imaginary picture in which the goal is idealized.

With such an idealized image, people often neglect to think things through in depth or to engage in them wholeheartedly.

So when we have a pictorial dream, we lose touch with our efforts to make it a reality.


◆4:Make it a goal to experience

People who are trying to tackle some big challenge tend to try to motivate themselves by blasting themselves.

However, if you set high goals, you will lose motivation when you fail to achieve them.

Therefore, it is effective to set goals based on the process itself, rather than the end result.

For example, instead of “develop an app that will be downloaded by 100,000 people,” you might set a goal of “gain as much experience as possible by creating new apps.

Instead of “get the job I’ve dreamed of for years by next year,” you might aim for “attend three events a month related to the job I’ve set my sights on.

Your goal is not just an endpoint.

If you set a goal for an ‘experience’ such as learning or exploring, you will never lose it and you will gain valuable knowledge.

Then, no matter what the outcome, it is not a failure.


◆5:Think of failure as a pause, not an end.

If you fail and feel like you can’t get back on track or label yourself as a failure, you will not be able to stay motivated to pursue your goals.

On how to avoid getting caught up in these thoughts, Wu says, “Failure is temporary and happens all the time.

It’s never a good feeling, but if you remember that you are not the only one who has failed, and try to think of it as something you learned or experienced, it is an opportunity to become stronger and wiser.

In other words, failure is not the end of the race.

It’s just like a pit stop for an F1 car to refuel and change tires,” he concluded.