It’s normal to feel scared when you are faced with an opportunity to grow. It’s normal to hesitate and to wonder if you’re making the right decision. And it’s normal to push yourself as far away from the thought of failure as possible.
But if you push yourself as far away from failure as humanly possible, what’s going to change in your life? What are you going to be able to do that you aren’t currently able to do? What relationships are you going to be able to form that you haven’t already formed? What obstacles and challenges are you going to be able to overcome that you haven’t already overcome?
As painful as it is to think about failure, the truth is that it’s probably more dangerous to think about comfort – and definitely more dangerous to live our lives only doing the things that bring comfort to us.
If we are never willing to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone, nothing in our lives is ever going to change. Our days will look like the world’s worst song stuck on repeat.
Imagine waking up every single day, eating the same boring and bland foods, taking the same boring drive into work, never seeing any new faces, never seeking any new adventures, and never feeling any sense of freedom. That’s the risk that you face if you are never willing to fail and to break out of your comfort zone.
If you want to achieve something that you don’t currently have, then you need to do something that you aren’t currently doing.
Win or Learn, But Never Lose
“I win or I learn, but I never lose.” – Nelson Mandela
This is a mantra that I have been using a lot frequently. I have always been a person who has shied away from the thought of failure. Just like everybody else, I don’t want to think of myself as a failure. And to protect myself from ever feeling that way, I developed a desire to stay inside of my own comfort zone as much as possible.
The only problem is that when I did this, life became incredibly boring. I became depressed, developed a bad relationship with food, and really lost every meaningful relationship that I ever had.
Why? Because I was comfortable.
While everyone else was out in the world growing as the days passed, I was living in a world of comfort and was falling far behind. What I had failed to realize was that my peers were excelling solely because they were challenging themselves and pushing outside of their comfort zone.
At the time, I was losing. I wasn’t winning, nor was I learning. I was losing.
How To Deal With The Fear of Failure
Take a minute to think back on all of your failures – even the ones that are most embarrassing. Try to see if there was ever a failure that you didn’t learn something from, or one that didn’t eventually lead to something good happening.
Failure is a result of you doing something that is outside of your comfort zone. Along with the possibility of failure, there is also the possibility of success. Every time that you are willing to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, you are also willing to learn. The skills that you are learning are skills that you will be able to apply to various other situations over the course of your life.
Now in the heat of the moment – the moment directly after you experience failure – this isn’t going to make the situation seem any less defeating. You may still question your abilities. You may still question your skills. And you may even question your worth. That’s completely fine and normal. But always remember that you are not a failure, and as long as you are willing to learn something from your mistakes, you can never be one.
When you do feel like a failure, ask yourself what you learned from the experience. How did that experience shape your mindset? How are you going to use this failure to better yourself the next time around? How are you going to become a better and stronger person because of what you have experienced?
The key to dealing with the fear of failure is to not look at failure as you not succeeding. But rather, it’s to look at failure as an opportunity to learn and to grow to better yourself in the future.
You are going to fail. If you don’t fail – and if you don’t fail often – then you simply aren’t trying hard enough.
Instead of fearing failure, fear the thought of never learning and growing. Life is all about learning and growing, and the more that you allow the fear of failure to control your life, the less you will learn and the less you will grow from who you are today into who you want to be tomorrow.
I have endured my fair share of failure in life. In fact, I still fail on a daily basis. The thing is, though, I don’t see myself as a failure. I take pride in learning from my mistakes. I take pride in growing from my mistakes. And I take pride in pushing myself to be the best that I can be so that tomorrow, hopefully I can do the things in life that I wasn’t able to do today.
All of that comes from learning how to better deal with the fear of failure and bettering myself on a daily basis.
Remember, it isn’t failure that you should be fearful of, you should be fearful of feeling overly comfortable. Comfort is a sign that you’re not stepping far enough out of your comfort zone to take any steps that will help you to rise above and thrive.