When was the last time you tried something new? Many people avoid trying new things because they are afraid of failing.

What they don’t realize is that magic only happens when you step out of your comfort zone.

Every person who excels at something today was a novice once. They,  too,  made mistakes and struggled to learn. But they kept trying because they weren’t afraid of failure.

Many people do one thing for a living but dream of doing something else. Perhaps an executive has entrepreneurial dreams. Maybe someone wants to learn a new skill. Or take some time off work to pursue a passion project. If they don’t prioritize their dreams, it is likely that they are held back by their fear of failure.

You may have always dreamed of becoming a  singer, a sportsperson, a CEO, a coach, or a business tycoon. You need to ask yourself: is the phobia of failure consuming you?

What Is The Fear Of Failure?

It’s natural to dislike failing. After all, wouldn’t it be nice if we could succeed at everything we did? But some people truly have a fear of failure. They avoid doing anything they may fail at. The thought of failing makes them feel stressed and anxious.

A phobia of failure shouldn’t stop one from trying new things. Every new skill needs practice to perfect. Fearing failure means depriving yourself of new experiences and learning new skills.

Remember, fear of failure is all in the mind. By changing your attitude and perspective, you can certainly reduce your fear of failing.

How To Overcome The Fear Of Failure?

Have you ever wondered why people suffer from the phobia of failure? Let’s take a look at the causes of the fear of failure:

  • Conditioning:

It is not unusual for overly protective or critical parents to create a fear of failure in their children. Such parents are driven by their own phobia of failure. They make their children feel that failure is an unacceptable outcome of trying something new.

If you have been conditioned to fear and avoid failure, you will likely avoid trying anything new even as an adult.

  • Perfectionism:

Some people are so fixated on being perfect that they find it difficult to accept any failure or shortcomings. They want to only do what they know they will be good at. They don’t like taking chances that may not work out. As the fear of failure definition clarifies, they are afraid of failure and trying out new things. It is not possible to be perfect all the time. Trying to be perfect puts immense pressure on oneself and makes them miss out on important opportunities.

  • Ego:

One of the most common causes of the fear of failure is ego. If failing hurts someone’s ego, they will try to make sure they never fail. This may be because they have created a certain image of themselves. They want to keep projecting themselves as winners, so they are unable to process failure as an outcome. Their pride and ego govern their decision-making.

  • Low Self-Esteem:

Some people have low self-confidence and self-belief. Any failure makes them lose faith in themselves. A person with low self-esteem will only seek to do things that boost their confidence. If they fail, they lose their confidence and plunge into self-doubt. This is why they avoid doing anything that may result in failure.

 Now that we have understood the fear of failure definition as well as the factors that make people succumb to the fear of failure, it is time to learn the techniques of overcoming the fear of failure:

Overcoming the fear of failure is possible. Here are four steps you can use:

  1. Find The Root Cause Of Your Fear:

As we have already seen, there are various causes of the phobia of fear. The first step to combating the fear of failure is identifying why you are so afraid. Is it your fragile self-esteem? Or your conditioning? Or perhaps your ego gets bruised by failure? Understanding the cause of a problem is the first step to solving it.

  1. Reframe Failure As A Setback: 

People tend to approach their goals with an all-or-nothing mindset. But you can have many small victories on the path to achieving your goal. Similarly,  failure is not absolute. Sometimes, what we may consider a failure is actually a setback.

Learn to take pride in small successes. Focus on learning and making steady improvements. You will slowly stop fearing failure.

  1. Practice Positive Thinking:

Positive thinking is a way of thinking in which you focus on the good and expect a positive outcome. Keeping an optimistic outlook will help you feel motivated. When you think positively, it boosts your confidence. This increases your chances of success.

To combat a fear of failure, replace negative thoughts with positive ideas and self-belief.

  1. Visualize All Potential Outcomes:

It can be frightening and overwhelming to try something when you are unsure about the outcome. This becomes even tougher when you are trying something high-stakes, where failure would cause a big problem. In such situations, you can succeed in overcoming the fear of failure by carefully visualizing likely results.

Identify the best and worst-case scenarios. You will find that even the worst-case scenario can be salvaged. This will help you mentally prepare for all possibilities.


The fear of failure can be debilitating. It can prevent us from taking calculated risks that would have paved the path for our success.

As the fear of failure definition indicates, it is the condition where we are so frightened by the possibility of failure that we tend to give up without even attempting to win.

Now that you have understood the fear of failure and its causes, you can combat it.

Harappa Education’s Interpreting Self course will help you understand yourself so you overcome your fear of failure. In this course, you will learn how to identify your strengths and build confidence in yourself.  Sign up for this course to learn how to master failure today!

Explore topics such as Career DevelopmentSMART Goals & Types of Goals from our Harappa Diaries section, and lead on a path of self-development.

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