The Wordsmythe's Weblog…

…On Words, Love and Life

Fear of failure or failure to fear

Sometimes we don’t do things we’d love to do for fear of failure. The very thought of not succeeding or reaching a desired outcome cripples us and holds us back from doing things.

We teach our children to avoid failure too. We say to them “Don’t climb, you’ll fall.” “Don’t run, .”  “Don’t touch it, bump into something you’ll hurt yourself.” It’s always one cautionary tale or another so we are raising a generation of people who will not even dare to dream, much less try. Please don’t misunderstand me as I’m not advocating we let our children run riot.

What we fail to understand (pardon the pun) is that failure sets us up nicely for success. Our ability and willingness to recognise failure for what it is sets us in good stead to apply ourselves to success.

It is instructive to realise that failure doesn’t make a person. We must learn to separate our person from the event that is failure. The fact that you failed at something doesn’t necessarily make you a failure and the sooner we come to terms with this, the sooner we’ll work towards accomplishing some of those erstwhile seemingly unachievable goals.

Things left undone for fear of failure are the stuff regrets are made of. There are so many things we will be unable to accomplish in our lifetime but that shouldn’t stop us from trying. We can dream big even if there’s no chance of it coming true, after all dreams are free!

Let’s turn failure around in our favour. Instead of fearing to fail, let’s fail to fear. Let’s look fear straight in the eye and defy it to stop us from attempting to do things we’ve always dreamed of doing. Sometimes the things that look insurmountable before we start pale into insignificance along the way.

It’s time to cut ourselves some slack. It’s time to permit ourselves to fail as long as we don’t let that become our last attempt at doing something. It’s time to assert our fundamental human right to fail. We need to give ourselves permission to make mistakes thereby learn more ways not to do something.

Think about where modern civilisation would be if people of old had given up or not tried at all for fear of failing. Had Thomas Edison not persisted 10,000 times we wouldn’t have had the light bulb today.  If Colonel Sanders had given up, there would be no KFC chain. If Alexander Graham Bell had not steadfastly applied himself to his research, the telephone may not have been invented.

What have you been holding out on doing because you worry you won’t succeed? Whatever it is, start today. Start small but start anyway.

I take great courage from this scripture in Micah 7:8 “Do not gloat over me, my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.”

I’ll leave you with a quote which succinctly captures all I’ve been trying to say in this post.

“The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed”. Lloyd Jones

Thanks for stopping by and tara for now.


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10 thoughts on “Fear of failure or failure to fear

  1. Well written girl. Well written. Fear of failure can be so crippling that some people just sit and wallow instead of stepping out and taking a chance.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you, Kiru.

      Wallowing is an exercise in futility, it doesn’t change anything.

      Meanwhile when are you hooking us up with some more of TTSB? Eagerly anticipating more, thank you very much.

  2. njide egbuna on said:

    another timely piece in the current climate of fear and uncertainities sweeping across the globe. I keep saying it, can’t stop talking it! the contract is on the way!

  3. Joxy on said:

    The Dream! Well said. In some cases though, it is not the fear of failure that stops one from striving for that desired result, it is sheer laziness. Not that I am speaking from a personal perspective o, far from it :).

  4. We all owe it to ourselves to try….Life is too short to live it with regrets, thinking ‘If only I had done that…’

  5. Stylo on said:

    …but we can’t underestimate the failure to fear. As a mother of 4 kids, I am frequently reminded by my 3 teenagers that fear of disappointing mommy or daddy or fear of punishment has prevented them from succumbing to peer pressure. The failure to fear can lead to much mishap.

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