Fear of Failure Is The Greatest Threat to Your Success

The fear of failure has killed more dreams than all other fears combined. The fear of failure is insidious because it is largely in your imagination. It can also prevent you from even trying in the first place, which guarantees failure.

It is interesting that very small children have no concept of failure. They couldn’t care less if they fail to do something. They just try again. There are no negative thoughts or emotions involved. They just keep on going. But it doesn’t take long before children learn to fear the opinions of others. It is usually around the time they start school. After that first day of school, we are all changed forever.

It might not be possible to go recapture the mentality of a toddler, but you can come close. The fear of failure doesn’t have to impact your life significantly.

Consider these facts:

  1. Failure is temporary unless you quit. Failure isn’t final unless you give up. All the most successful people have experienced a lot of failure. But they ended up being successful precisely because they didn’t quit. Failure is just a temporary state that means nothing because it is only temporary.
  2. Failure is common. You have failed thousands of times and managed to survive. Consider how many times you failed to walk or to talk well. Babies have constant failure.
    • Successful people fail all of the time. It is a huge part of how human beings learn. We realize that our approach didn’t work, we adjust, and we try again.
  3. Failure is educational. You can learn something from every single one of your failures. Failure makes you more knowledgeable and capable. The more you fail, the stronger you become.
  4. Others are far less concerned about your failure than you think.A few people might notice your failure, but they quickly turn their attention back on themselves and their own challenges.
    • There is nothing to worry about. Feel free to fail as much as necessary. Fail enough and you will quickly see that no one relevant cares.
  5. Focus on how great it will be when you succeed. Instead of worrying about possible failure, consider possible success. Make yourself feel excited and positive about taking action.
    • With high enough expectations, you will do just about anything without worrying about failure.
  6. Redirect your thoughts. Put your attention on what you are doing.If a negative outcome isn’t going to cause any real harm, forget about the outcome. Stay focused on your actions or something positive. Thinking about failing will freeze you in your tracks.
  7. Consider the cost of doing nothing. Taking action might be a little scary, but what will happen if you do nothing?
    • What will you feel about failing to take action?
    • What if you are stuck in your current life for the next decade or more?
    • Maybe taking a risk is far more attractive than remaining where you are.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid of failing? Probably a lot more than you are currently doing! How much has the fear of failure limited your life?

We have all allowed the fear of failure to influence our decisions. We have allowed this fear to stop us from trying new things or taking risks. We all have smaller lives than we could because we are too concerned with what others think.

Rejecting the fear of failure is one of the greatest things you can do for your future!


Sandy Chernoff
Sandy Chernoff
SANDY'S 30 years of didactic and clinical teaching in study clubs and continuing dental education, coupled with her almost 40 years of Dental Hygiene practice bring a wealth of experience to her interactive soft skills workshops. With her education background she easily customizes interactive sessions to suit the specific needs of her clients. Her energetic and humorous presentation style has entertained and informed audiences from Victoria to New York City. Sandy’s client list includes law firms, teaching institutions, volunteer and professional organizations and conferences, businesses, and individuals. Her newest project is turning her live workshops into e-learning programs using an LMS platform. Her teaching and education background have helped her to produce meaningful and somewhat interactive courses for the learners wanting the convenience of e-learning options. As the author of 5 Secrets to Effective Communication, Sandy has demonstrated her ability to demystify the complexities of communication so that the reader can learn better strategies and approaches which will greatly improve their communication skills and ultimately reduce conflict, resentment, disappointment, complaining, and confusion. As a result, the reader will be able to increase productivity, efficiency and creativity, improve all the relationships in their lives and ultimately enjoy a happier, healthier existence! Sandy blogs regularly on her two websites on the various soft skills topics that are featured in her workshops and e-learning programs.

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  1. Failing is embarrassing. Nobody is proud of failing. People do not congratulate each other in the face of failures, for not having earned a degree or for not having made a career. In fact, if there is a feeling that failure never causes, it is pride. On the contrary, it can generate shame.
    Failing means I’m not good enough. Success, for many people, is intertwined with their sense of self-worth. Success, and consequently failure, is a measure of who I am. Therefore, they take failure as proof that they are not smart, experienced or talented enough to succeed. Thus, the person can choose not to act and stop any possibility of growth.
    Failure means I’m stuck. The reason we have so eagerly – and sometimes desperately – set goals is that they are a great way to control our future. Success means you can shape your future any way you like. But failure makes the future uncertain. What will happen if I fail? What will I do if my plans don’t come true? How will I manage the losses? Will I ever create the life I want? Fear of an uncertain future can be powerful enough to keep you stuck.