Are you afraid of making mistakes? Do you shy away from taking risks in your career or relationships?
Fear of making mistakes can cripple you. It can also keep you from enjoying delightful experiences!
This fear can keep you from developing and maintaining wonderful relationships. It can limit your potential career-wise, and create mental stress and anxiety that lead to physical problems. So, how do you overcome the fear of making mistakes? The following tips and practices are proven to psychologically help you deal with your fear of failure, and move past it.
Realize That You Are Going to Make Mistakes
Human beings are imperfect in so many ways. That’s why we make mistakes. However, without trying to accomplish things we aren’t sure that we can achieve, our growth is stifled. You are going to make mistakes. Everyone does. Come to grips with this unavoidable fact of life and move past it.
I loved watching my toddlers when they learned to walk. They fell down far more often than they toddled! But they were undeterred in their goal – learning to navigate life. Sure, they bumped their heads and banged their elbows. But would any parent prohibit their little one from learning to walk? Absolutely not! So, don’t stifle yourself when you choose to engage with life and all its possibilities.
Understand That No One Is Watching, and No One Really Cares
Many times, people are scared of making mistakes because of what others will think about them. The truth is, the world is not centered around you. Your mistakes are your own, no one else’s. It may be a sobering reality, but the world is not waiting for you to fail so they can laugh at you. In most cases, no one is concerned about your failure but yourself, so swing the bat. Who cares if you strike out?
I recall times when my teens were hyper-focused on what people thought of them. I used to gently remind them that the reality is that most people think about one thing most of the time – themselves.
Failure Can Lead to Life-Changing Success
Thomas Edison failed a reported 1,000 times before he invented the light bulb. In school his teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything”. He was fired from his first two jobs because he was unproductive. What if Edison had given into those early mental setbacks and stopped inventing?
Arguably one of the most important inventions of human history came about because Edison couldn’t care less whether or not he failed. When a reporter once asked him how it felt to fail 1,000 times before he successfully discovered how to harness electricity for light, Edison said, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
When I wrote my first book many years ago, I submitted the proposal many times. At the 42nd rejection, I was pretty discouraged. The 43rd publisher gave me a contract. The trajectory of my whole life would have been different if I had quit with the 42nd submission.
Understand That Failure Never Produces the Disastrous Results You Are Picturing in Your Mind
The human mind is hardwired to protect us. When you contemplate failing at a certain endeavor, you inevitably over-exaggerate the results of a possible failure in your mind. This is a survival instinct that dates back to the caveman days. Failure back then meant getting eaten by a bear, starving or freezing to death.
We still have that mechanism in our brains today, but for most of us, our survival is fortunately not on the line when we make decisions. Think about the times you’ve failed in the past. Odds are the horrific outcome you had created in your
mind was totally overblown. The results of failure are almost never as disastrous as we expect they will be.
When I am on my deathbed, I plan to be at peace. I purpose to be at peace with my loved ones and to rest in the knowledge that I had chased all the adventures I wanted to chase. You’ll not hear me say, “I wish I had.”