I Can’t Do It: The Fear of Failure

· July 20, 2016

More and more people these days are afraid of being unsuccessful, of not rising to the challenges of their personal and professional lives. Trapped by the fear of failure, these people deprive themselves of the happiness of living and facing the daily challenges of life.

The way in which we face challenges and difficult situations is a reflection of our character, and of where we will end up in the future.

“No man knows what he is capable of until he has tried.”

-Charles Dickens-

For example, in a new situation that might be risky, if we focus on our fear of failure, we’ll feel insecure, like we lack the resources to face the situation. But our behavior might also suffer because of it.

However, many studies have shown that a positive mental attitude is a fundamental element in achieving personal success.

woman embracing life

Being mentally fit

Being in good emotional shape means feeling secure in even the most difficult situations. What does this involve?

The way we interpret situations and evaluate what happens around us will shape our emotions, our actions, and the kind of person we are in general.


A winning mental state is based on the ability to see the positive in any situation. The question we should ask ourselves in the face of any event is: “How can I take advantage of this situation?”

The difference between success and failure

The difference between success and failure is the ability to transform difficult situations into powerful resources.

“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”

-Winston Churchill-

Fear is a basic human sensation, but the fear of failure and the insecurity it provokes shouldn’t keep us from being able to solve problems.

This is because the path to personal fulfillment is full of failures, but it is those difficult experiences that allow us to make important changes and developments.

People who are winners in life all have one thing in common, and it’s not that they don’t encounter obstacles and difficulties: they know how to take advantage of every situation so they can grow, improve, and reach a new level.

flower in the cracks

Fear of failure and fear of risk

The fear of failure usually causes people to avoid taking risks, and too often, these people don’t even have the desire to discover the limits of their own abilities. They just want to do the minimum necessary to obtain a sufficient level of well-being and protect it.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow defined “security” as a primary human need, and it forms a part of our natural instinct to want to protect and conserve what we have.

But watch out, because security can sometimes deceive us. It can limit our decisions, and as a consequence, our actions.

“Often the difference between a successful man and a failure is not one’s better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on his ideas, to take a calculated risk, and to act.”

-Maxwell Maltz-

To achieve any goal, you have to run some sort of risk. You’ll only be able to get what you want if you learn how to manage your fear of failure. Every fear is an opportunity to grow.

We fear what we think

In chess, they say that the fear of attack is stronger than the attack itself. Our imagination has a strong ability to amplify our fear of failure.

Fear can be useful: it puts us on guard in the face of danger. But it is not useful when it completely blocks our progress towards a concrete goal. If we’re dominated by the fear of failure, it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to act freely and efficiently.

Life is waiting for us, and nobody can live our lives but ourselves. If we really want to change, if we’re ready to stop avoiding failure and take risks, we can truly be happy.

We can change the dysfunctional thought processes and behaviors that prevent us from achieving our goals. We just have to stop running away, putting things off, and making excuses.