Failure doesn’t feel that good, huh?
That’s why a lot of people fear it that much. Enough to not chase their dreams, because they’re afraid of failure. But at some time, most people realise that if they don’t try, they’ve failed anyway. To win, you have to be willing to lose. You can’t win the race if you don’t join the race.
That’s when they’re trying to find ways to stop fearing failure. So I guess you’re at this point, too? Let’s see then how to get over the fear of failure. I’m not saying it’ll be easy, but it’ll be worth it.
I don’t want to have to talk in general, so let’s take an example and work with it. Let’s say you want to live in a different country, but you’re afraid to do it.
1. Find Your Why
First of all, you need to find your why. What is the reason you want to do what you want to do?
Do you want to live away from your parents? To have your own life? Do you want to meet new people? Or is it something specific about the country you want to go to? Do you want to live there because of the culture? Is this country just the first stop and you want to travel for a long time?
Most people don’t realise how powerful the why is. Because most people have given up on their dreams and they’ve settled on a mediocre life. (That’s a topic for another day, though.)
2. Plan it
Preparation is essential – especially, in this case. The more prepared you are, the fewer things can go wrong.
Analyse what can go wrong
What are you afraid of? Tim Ferriss has a great way to help you here and it’s called Fear Setting.
What you can possibly afraid if you want to live in another country:
- You won’t be able to communicate with the locals.
- Someone will steal your money.
- You won’t be able to find work.
- You won’t have any friends.
- You’ll be bored and you won’t have anything to do.
Find ways to prevent these
After you define what you’re afraid of, find ways to prevent things from going wrong. For example:
- Learn the language basics. Or go with a friend who knows the language.
- Get some self-defence classes. Search online to see how safe it is to live in that country and what a foreigner should be aware of.
- Find work in advance or go as a volunteer with a program. Some of these programs provide accommodation, too.
- Go with friends, or with a group. If you’re a student, you could go as an exchange student.
- Find extra activities you always wanted to try out and join classes on them. You’ll also make new friends this way.
Have a Plan B
Have a contingency plan ready in case everything goes wrong. What if you go and everything is awful? What if you don’t like it and you want to come back immediately? What will you do then?
First, you need to decide what you’ll do in this case. If you don’t like what you’ll find there, do you want to come back or to stay there and fight? If you want to come back, try to limit the commitments you have there; if you want to stay and fight, maximise the commitments you create there.
Change your mindset
Ok, and what if you fail? Is it that bad?
Well, no, it’s not. Failing is the way to success. Learn to see failure as a chance to learn from it. Even if everything goes wrong and you come back, you still made a huge step. You tried it. You lived it.
That’s how we get stronger. Through experience.
See it as a challenge
See this as an experiment, as a challenge to see if you can do this. And have an awesome reward for you if you actually make it.
Make sure the reward is worth it. If it’s big enough, then failure isn’t an option. And you’ll try harder since the reward is something you really like. It doesn’t matter if you fail. It matters that you tried.
Stop thinking what others think
A lot of times, it’s not that we fear failure per se, but we fear judgement from others. We don’t want others to see us fail. But here’s something you should stick on your mind.
Don’t tell anything to anyone until you succeed
And if you’re thinking too hard what others believe for you, don’t tell them what you have in mind until you’re ready to do it. Your closest people will be afraid for you and they’ll try to stop you.
Even though telling others can be used as a commitment device, it can also backfire and make you hesitate to start, because you don’t know if you can go all the way to the end.
Think Of your Future Self
What would your future self like you to do right now?
And what if you don’t fail?
You’re thinking all the worst-case scenarios, but what if you succeed? What if you can do it?
What will happen if you actually MAKE it? How awesome it’ll be if everything goes well? We tend to think about all the worst-case scenarios, but what about all the best-case scenarios?
You failed. Get over it!
Things will go bad, sometimes. Deal with it. Try to be perfect and to do everything perfectly doesn’t work. There will always be failures. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Failing can be good.
Failing keeps you grounded. For some reason, we learn that failing is bad. Parents yell at you when your grades are bad, when you fail at an exam, when you break something.
But we’re humans, we fail sometimes. That’s not the end of the world. And the sooner you realise this, the better.
Let’s go now to the most practical part.
Expand your comfort zone slowly
Do one thing every week that scares you and you’ll see your comfort zone growing slowly. Things you were once afraid of doing, now they’ll get easy.
What’s the good in it?
It may be difficult to accept it at first, but you’ll realise eventually that failing is okay. And that it can teach you more lessons than success can. And I have a little exercise that can help you with this.
Write down every big failure you’ve had in your life so far. Every moment that you don’t want to think ever again. Then, for each failure, write 3 good things that came out of it and 3 lessons you learned from it. You may get surprised by the results…
Calculate the cost of NOT doing it
Ok, let’s say you’re too afraid and that you won’t do it. Are you okay with it?
Or better, let me ask you a better question: “When you’re 90, what would you want to say? That you compromised your dreams for a safe, calm life or that you tried out everything and you have no regrets?”
Do it anyway
Even if you’re afraid, do it anyway. Get your fear with you and go together.
Talk about it
Get your closest friend and talk to them about your fears. And if you don’t feel comfortable with talking about them, start keeping a journal – if you haven’t already – and write everything on your journal.
The more you know, the less you have to fear. So try to learn at every chance you have.
Why Most People Will Remain in Mediocrity
I hope my tips help you. Let me know what you think about this article and tell me about anything else I forgot. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer! Any suggestions are always welcome, so tell me about topics you’d like me to write.
And if you liked this, check out how to get rid of procrastination. I think you’ll like it!
See you next time!