Many people don’t end up living the lives they truly want for themselves because they’re afraid of failing. It’s difficult to deal with failure, and human beings hate facing rejection. The only way for you to reach your goals and turn your dreams into reality is to overcome that fear, but how do you do it?
You’ve probably heard statements like “you have nothing to fear but fear itself” or “fear is false evidence appearing real.” Statements like those aren’t helpful at all. The typical advice on how to deal with fear doesn’t work because it doesn’t acknowledge that the fear is actually quite real.
In the book Social by Harvard professor Matt Lieberman, he says that physical pain and social pain are registered in the same areas of your brain. You fear social threats just as much as you do physical ones.
Today I’m going to show you some ways to deal with your fear of failure. You will learn how to push yourself forward by using your fear to your advantage instead of running away from it.
Accept Your Fear as Real
The first way to deal with your fear of failure is to first accept that your fear is valid and stop attempting to pretend like it doesn’t exist.
Quotes about positivity and morning affirmations are not enough to overcome fear. What you need is the right mindset and perspective.
The social rejection you’re afraid of is inevitable. Rejection and ridicule come with the territory if you’re trying to stand out from the crowd. People are going to mock you or talk down to you. Accept that it’s definitely going to happen.
At least now you’ll be able to have the right perspective to make a decision. When you accept that rejection is unavoidable, you can ask yourself whether your goals are still worth pursuing. If the answer is no, then you weren’t cut out for it in the first place.
Gary Vaynerchuk likes to say, “some people are just B and C players.” Don’t try to be something you’re not. If you’re content to be average then stay average. If you still want to move forward towards your goals after knowing what it’s going to take, then proceed.
Embrace Your Fear
You should be afraid of certain things. You should be afraid of living a bad life. You should be afraid of having to look back on your life with regrets. You should be afraid of wasting your time.
Many of us try to run from fear instead of embracing it. Being afraid can help motivate you. Laziness comes from complacency and contentment.
You want to live the life of your dreams and accomplish your goals. If you don’t make the right decisions, stay persistent, and remained focused, your chances of reaching any level of success are slim to none.
Being afraid keeps you sharp. Using fear this way isn’t debilitating or paralyzing. Using fear this way keeps you from hitting the snooze button in the morning when you need to be up working on your dream. Using fear this way keeps you from quitting when things get tough.
The best way to overcome your fear of failure is to decide that you’re never going to fail. You may be wondering how that’s possible. How can you make a decision to eliminate failure from your life?
It’s simple. You’re the only one who is allowed to decide if you’re a failure. Thomas Edison is said to have tried somewhere between one thousand to ten thousand times to create the light bulb. Was his first try a failure? What about his second? The hundredth?
None of these were failures. They were experiments. When scientists are trying to make new discoveries they run experiments. They form a hypothesis and then test it. If their hypothesis was wrong they don’t get upset or discouraged. In fact, they may feel like they’re closer to the discovery because they were able to rule something out.
That’s how you reach your destination. You run experiments. You try things one way and if it doesn’t work you rule it out. You continue to hypothesize and test until you’re left with success.
You fail when you’re obstinate about the path you’re taking. You fail when you believe that everything has to go exactly as you planned. People who fail make a plan to reach their goal, but as soon as something unexpected happens they can’t adapt and they quit.
Successful people believe that their mistakes bring them closer to the result. They treat their path like a sculpture. They start out with a vague idea of what they need to do in order to reach their goals, and they chip away at it with each “failed” experiment.
When Michelangelo was asked how he created the sculpture of David he said, “It’s simple. I took everything away that wasn’t David.”
Your life is the sculpture. Each time you “fail” you take something away that isn’t meant for your dream. You continue to do this until all that’s left is the result you were destined for.
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Originally published at medium.com