• Lifes Apprentice

Do you fear Failure?- Read this!

The fear of failure has literally crippled me in the past to the point where I would give up on my dreams or stop doing something that I really enjoyed. I have even cancelled days and nights outs with friends because the fear of failure was eating me alive. I was bombarded with intense feelings of shame- scared that I would be judged and disliked. I believed that my efforts were worthless because they would never amount up to the high standards that I had unconsciously set myself.

Here is the truth:

Failure is a man-made concept. An idea that has been socially constructed, moulded and skewed into a negative belief used to measure our self-worth.

What does this mean?

This simply means that the idea of 'failure' has been created and accepted by the people in a society. We have taken the meaning of failure and bent it in numerous different ways, personalising it, adding distortions and generalisations to create a whole other meaning.

How we process information

Failure simply means- to be unsuccessful, but as humans, once a thought enters our mind, it has to weave its way through the maze of filters before it can reach its destination as an action or behaviour.

Looking at the diagram below, you can see that thought enters our brain via our senses in reaction to an external event. Here we are not in control of what we are thinking, but as soon as that thought hits our filters, that's when we take control and that's when we begin to add layers and layers of meaning and interpretation, taken from past experiences, memories and stories we have learnt.

With all the accessorising, that thought is now ready to produce emotion and then it goes on to create action or behaviour.


In essence, we unconsciously create and add extra meaning to the thoughts that enter our mind. Therefore, the personalised meaning of failure is only in the eye of the beholder. So, if you believe failure to equal worthlessness and inadequacy, you are going to carry on feeling negative emotions such as shame and fear, which will then lead you to pass up opportunities or say no to the things you love to do. All because of this one belief that you hold and the more the belief exists the more the so-called failure will be.

The good news!

All you have to do is recognise your negative thought process and begin to alter your beliefs around failure.

Let's be realistic, changing a belief does not happen overnight. I am still struggling to change my belief of what failure means to me, but you have to be consistent and become aware of when you are falling into old habits and allowing that old belief to take hold of you.

The concept of failure is not real, it is not true. Yes, there are exams where you pass or fail, but it is up to you to then decide what that fail mark means to you (if you do fail an exam) Will you allow a word to swallow you whole and make a conclusion that you are an idiot, completely useless and are worthless. Or will you allow the word to mean that you need to make a few changes to your study in order to do better next time?

You can decide what failure means to you! It doesn't even have to be in your vocabularly if you choose it not to be. This is your freedom, use it !

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