Failing is one of the things that people fear the most. Some people went to the extent of not trying at all, just because they are afraid to fail.
A lot of people think failing is a disgrace. It is a stain on their glorious life. But on the long run, failing is an essential part of being a better person.
In this article, we will try to shift our mindset around failure: failing does not make you a failure.
To understand why people fear failure, we will start with understanding fear itself. Fear can be categorised into two types, primal and intellectual fear. The difference? The first one is physical, while the latter is all in your head.
Primal fear comes when you are standing face to face against a tiger, for example. It's a fight or flight because your life is on the line. The fear that comes in that sort of situation is what we call the primal fear.
If you think about it, there's a very slim chance for most of us who live in a civilised area to experience primal fear. That is why, the fear of failure belongs to the other type of fear:
Intellectual fear, on the other hand, is just something your mind made up. For example, being scolded by your boss might scare the shit out of you, but it's not going to kill you.
Most of our problems trigger our brain to create intellectual fear — the fear of being fired, the fear of being rejected, or the fear of being broke. Intellectual fear comes when your mind is uncomfortable with a situation.
So why do we fear failure? The reason is because we overthink about a possibility of failure, and we made a bunch of scenarios in which we fail.
First step: Know your fear. It's a state of mind. (Unless you are fighting a tiger).
As an adult, it seems like failure is not an option. Other people are always judging us, and sometimes we care too much about what they think about us. We stop doing things that might embarrass us in public. Some people even stopped trying at all.
But do you remember the first time you tried to ride a bicycle? Or when you first learn to tie your shoes? As a kid, failures helped us understand. Making mistakes was the only way for us to know how things work.
It was common for us to fail as a kid, so why is it not normal for adults to fail? What makes you think that adults should have it all figured out? And why should adults be right all the time? You've failed a lot when you were a kid, and you turned out all right.
Trying brings you two steps forward. However, while failing will take you back one step, it won't drag you back to the starting point. Why? Because you have learned something — you learned how to do it the wrong way.
Second step: Mistakes help you learn. Be a kid.
When people fail, some of the most common reactions are to deny, regret, or to cover it up. However, the first thing you need to do is to accept that you have failed. You are not good enough for now, or maybe you did something wrong, and that's okay. There is only one way to go from here: to learn from this failure.
Failure is a part of the process, and it will only help you progress further. When you see failure as a learning process, it would be easier to accept it when you fail.
Take some time to process your thoughts and feeling. Don't rush it. Then move on with your life.
Third step: Accept and move on.
People fail all the time. They make mistakes and learn from them. That's how we, as a human being, grow as a person. Without failures, we'll stay in our comfort zone and live in our bubble. If that's what you want in life, that's okay. But it may not get you to where you want in life.
Not failing is a failure in itself. Make mistakes, try a lot of things, be a kid, and admit your failures. Only then, you'll learn from the experience and grow on to be a better person.
Failing does not make you a failure.