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Come to Terms with your Fear of Failure

Life is not about success after success – life is about rebounding from failure to success to failure repeatedly. However, it could be argued that you will not find success without at least risking failure. Therefore we need to address failure and the fear of failure in our lives.

My life story is a complicated one and if they were handing out big elephant stamps for large-scale failure I would have had ink up to my eyeballs. There have been many times in my life when I have sat with my head in my hands and wondered why everything turned to shit. Was it me? Was I the defective element?

That’s a very human moment. We all do it. Life has a way of pummeling us in the corner anywhere from the very beginning of the first round to the last second of the fifteenth. Sometimes that pummeling is a bitch slap from a circus clown and other times it comes from a Mike Tyson or a Lennox Lewis. The defining feature of failure is not that we experience it, because failure is inevitable, but in how we rebound from it.

Another point about failure we should accept is that failure is heavily correlated to risk. That is why our fear of failure drives us constantly to seek out mediocrity and safe paying 40 hour week droll jobs. Fear of failure impels us by nature to seek out security and avoid ambiguity.

So how do you succeed in life if you accept that you have a fear of failure that limits your ability to achieve beyond a certain limit?

Here is a recipe that might be worth taking on board. The next time you get knocked down I want you to get up and brush yourself off. Take two more steps. Try one more thing. Make educated decisions that include acceptable risk with the understanding that most of the time you will fail.

The outcome of that recipe is that you will sometimes succeed. Or at least you will maybe sometimes succeed.

The trick is in managing acceptable risk and not being battered when it doesn’t pan out… just say “OK this time it didn’t work and I’ll try another idea.”

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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