On Wednesday, we had a viewer called Azreal come on the HealthyGamer stream and asked a question that resonated with our entire community: “How do I overcome my fear of failure?” Most gamers struggle with this particular issue. Let’s see if we can learn how to overcome the fear of failure.
One can overcome the fear of failure by realizing that it is a part of life. Success cannot exist without failure, and therefore, we do not need to run from it. To move forward in life, we need to embrace failure.
Fear of Failure
Fear of failure is one of the most devastating anxieties to have in life. It makes you extremely avoidant. Any activity that involves a significant chance of failure becomes terrifying. The fear of failure is more common than most people think, and it is more crippling than most people realize.
As a community, we tend to think that the only way to succeed in life is to work hard. While it is true that hard work pays off, it is not the only factor that influences success in life. Luck plays a vital part. We need to work hard, as well as get somewhat lucky to succeed. However, fate can only side with you if you give it the chance to. You cannot get lucky if you do not take action. Luck comes from trying.
However, when you fear failure, trying is one of the hardest things to do. The idea of attempting something and miserably failing at it is terrifying.
Babies are not born with a fear of failure. In fact, at a very young age, children are fascinated by everything around them and are compelled to explore and try new things. What makes a child go from that state of mind to being afraid of trying and failing?
The fear of failure is learned. Some experiences in your formative years can deeply instill a sense that if you were to try something new and fail, then it would be the end of the world. It feels like there is no way to come back from failure. However, this is far from the truth.
Azreal believes that he was destined to succeed and then failed. That is a perfectly reasonable feeling to have. However, if one was destined to succeed and fails, then surely, one can be destined to fail and end up succeeding.
The fear of failure is a beast that will grow the more it is fed. To overcome it, you must starve it. You must take action and face the outcomes, irrespective of whether they are successes or failures. Being avoidant and risk-averse will only lead to the fear growing over time.
Dr. K talks about not feeling like a failure despite suffering setbacks in this video:
Fantasy is Paralyzing
One of the most common ways people deal with the fear of failure is by engaging in fantasy. When the real world starts to seem scary, your imagination becomes the perfect escape. It is comfortable and alluring. In the fiction of our mind, we can create a world that is perfect in every way.
The energy to create real change in our life comes from the same place as the power to fantasize. Creating a successful reality for ourselves is difficult when some of that energy is gets channeled into creating and sustaining fantasies. The urge to grow comes from a place of feeling like something is missing. However, when we sate that urge using our imagination, we lose the impetus to create real change in our lives. As a result, fantasy becomes paralyzing — it robs us of the ability to move forward in life.
We tend to think that there is a success train, and there is a failure train. We believe that to succeed in life, we only need to jump from the failure train to the success train. However, the reality is messier than that. The success train is an illusion. Neither the road to success nor the road to failure is as straightforward as we think it is. It can take several tries to get anywhere in life.
One of the ways people combat the fear of failure is by trying to find the perfect solution. Even that is a manifestation of fantasy. Ideal solutions are rare and hard to come by, and life can pass you by if you keep waiting for them. On the other hand, there are always plenty of “good enough” solutions. These are the ones that keep you afloat when you feel like you are drowning. The most crucial step to take is the next step. It is paralyzing to wait for the best solution when all you need is one that simply works.
Entitlement to Fruits of Actions
The fear of failure arises from the belief that we are in control of our circumstances. We can shape and influence our environment, but we cannot control it. The fear of failure becomes even more crippling when we start to think that we can make things happen. That belief puts pressure on us as human beings — it becomes our responsibility to control what happens.
However, one of the fundamental truths in life is that we are only entitled to our actions, not the fruit of our actions. We cannot control what happens; we can only take action and hope for the best. Success and failure are outcomes. They are not something we can control. We can only shoot our shot, but we cannot control if we’ll score.
Click here to check out this interview on why failure is liberating.
The belief that we have control over our outcomes is what creates conflict in our minds. The pressure of trying to make things happen becomes overwhelming because we are trying to manipulate forces that we cannot control. Life is about taking action and facing the consequences as they come. Failure is part of the package — we cannot run away from it. For there to be success, there has to be failure.
Real confidence does not come from success. It comes from surviving failure. Surviving failure means that you fail, and you wake up the next day and realize that life will go on. There are still opportunities to succeed, and failure is not the end of the road. Failure is not your enemy — it is the road to self-confidence. Confidence builds when you overcome the fear of failure.
Check out the full interview here!