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Your Five-Step Guide to Conquering the Fear of Failure

Updated on November 12, 2017
Ivan Hernandez profile image

Erick is a very intelligent autistic person who, like others, has experienced failure in his life. The problem is that he fears failure.

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.

— Thomas A. Edison

What Is Failure?

Failure is the feeling one experiences when they haven't accomplished something they're supposed to do. One often experiences failure due to very high expectations of themselves not being met, like a hardworking person not getting straight A's in college.

Psychology Today has an interesting article on the surprising facts about failure. As a person who felt failure time and time again, it can be a very hard thing to digest. Most often, one who experiences failure, like I have, automatically devalues him/herself. He/she can automatically destroy his/her life, fall into depression, or, in extreme cases, hurt themselves, like I have. It's ok to fear failure. Many people often experience failure because they've been told to do a good job at something and they have yet to accomplish it.

Take me, for example. I've been told to get all A's in college. Instead, I failed two times and have debt to pay. This is why I feel failure. I don't want to go back to college because of the extreme fear of failure. I could be the laughingstock of the entire campus. People would tease me. They would bully me and pick on me. They would call me unintelligent because of my two failures.

Anyways, now that my story's done, here are the five ways to overcome the feeling of failure.

A Sad Woman
A Sad Woman | Source

A Disclaimer to the Reader

This is not an expert guide. This is only an opinionated guide. I tried my best to represent my guide clearly and without bias. This guide may or may not work for everyone.

Repeat Positive Words Instead of Negative Ones

People who tend to speak in the positive way will have a magnifying effect on their personality and will succeed in life more often, while those who speak in a negative way will have the opposite magnifying effect, making them less likely to succeed. This is especially true in school. When you get an "A," you feel positive. When you get an "F," you know that you have not done well. That "F," however, could be changed to an "A" the next time around.

In life, it's not always like that. Homeless people feel happy because they let their positivity flourish, while billionaires feel negative because of greed and gluttony. There's this constant battle between positivity and negativity.

As for the subtitle, start saying positive words like "I can," "I will," or "I am," instead of saying "I can't," "I won't," or "I am not." Remember, repetition is key in determining if you succeed or if you fail.

Failure is a learning tool. The more times you fail, the more likely you'll succeed.

— Erick Hernandez
Sad Man
Sad Man | Source

Build a Journal of Inspiring Quotes

Psychology Today also has an interesting article about how failure tends to make you successful. The quote I just gave you was a modified version of a quote I just put on another article.

Quotes from authors offer a plethora information. The quotes section of the Goodreads website is the most useful place for quotes by authors. If you don't have a computer or a mobile phone, grab a piece of paper, and write down as many inspiring quotes as possible, like a journal of some kind. Then, when you're feeling down, just open up your journal, and read away.

This is an example journal that you should keep. All journals are recommended, but choosing the right one takes time, money and research.
This is an example journal that you should keep. All journals are recommended, but choosing the right one takes time, money and research. | Source

Speak With a Counselor or Therapist

A counselor is helpful if you have preexisting negative emotions. Talk to him/her and see if you and your counselor can work out a plan. Also, talk to your therapist, and see if the both of you can work out a plan. Don't rush into a plan all at once. It'll take months or sometimes years to carry out your plan. Once you do start your plan, make sure to follow directions, as this could change the course of your life.

Also, don't hide any feelings from your therapist or counselor, as this could alter the very course of your plan. Tell both your counselor and your therapist everything you feel, from fear of failure to moments that made you look like a failure. Don't be scared if they tell you to seek professional help. Professional help is scary. It's okay if you're scared of it, after all, that's what I'm getting every day.

Should any emotional pain occur, you should address it immediately. Otherwise, you'll feel worse.

Avoid Negative People, Places, Games, Things, News, or Music

We've all got our fair share of negative people, places, or things that we want to avoid. I avoid people who've hurt me in the past, people I'm not interested in, people who do drugs, smoke way too often, or behave bad way too often, stalkers, and other crazy people. I avoid places that depress me, such as disaster zones, dark alleys, or places known for shootings. I also avoid pirated software as often as possible, as those types of software can inflict serious harm to my computer.

I also avoid politics, news about shootings, natural disasters, mass violence, man-made disasters, and everything about science that can potentially destroy the planet.

I mostly avoid sad music, Metal Music, Punk Music, or any kind of music that makes me mad or negative. Sad music is my way of expressing depression. Don't do that.

You must avoid any and all of those things if you want to overcome negativity. Do something positive, like take a walk in the park and go to the movies. If you have friends, go out with them and have fun. For students in school, keep studying, hang out with friends in your free time, and don't let negativity rule your life.

For everyone else, enjoy your life to the fullest extent to which God gave you.

Lastly, avoid any and all games that promote war, violence, rape, drug use and enemy combat.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

What is Cognitive behavioral therapy? As explained in PsychCentral's page on the subject, it is a short-term, goal-oriented form of therapy that aims to change your way of thinking. Say that you hate John Doe because he cheated on you and you will never forgive him.

CBT helps you to change your way of thinking so that you will reconcile with him and be friends again. It starts with once-a-week sessions lasting 50 minutes each. Then, you speak to John Doe and attempt to work out a solution. If there's progress being made, then you are doing great. You may then move on to the next step. CBT usually takes five to ten months, depending on how severe your problem becomes.

Next thing that the therapist does is ask if you and John Doe could go to the movies. It could be anything, really, from eating in a restaurant to swimming by the beach. If those steps work, then continue on from there.

Next is the trust fall. I don't do trust falls because I have back problems, but I'll save that for another article. If you and he both complete the trust fall part, then you're friends with John Doe again.

Now, for the part where you can use CBT to change your way of thinking about yourself. If you have already tried the other four tactics, and it didn't work, then this is for you. Failure is a part of everyone's life. Others fail more than others. Most people who fail at one thing become successful at another. If you're stuck in a never-ending cycle of negativity, consider the following options:

  1. Talk to your therapist and find out the underlying cause of your condition
  2. Work on a goal you can make in a year's time. Keep in mind that you will fail. Keep trying if you do.
  3. As stated in option number 2, Don't give up if you fail. Keep fighting this fear of failure.
  4. Seek extra help if you have trouble. Most often than not, people seem to have trouble expressing their emotions.
  5. Have a backup plan if anything goes wrong.
  6. As I mentioned, keep trying.
  7. At this point, you will start to have to face your fear head-on.
  8. If you fear failing in writing, then write. If you fear failing in singing a song, then sing.
  9. Conquer your fear one week at a time.
  10. When you've conquered your fear, you'll feel more positive.

Sad Man.
Sad Man. | Source

Final Thoughts on Dealing With Failure

Digesting failure is hard, but once you conquer your fear, you will feel better. Read a book on how to deal with failure or go online. Cognitive behavioral therapy is your best bet now if you want to erase that fear. Also, work on that journal. You'll need it. Acknowledge that you failed and move on. Try to ride on that horse that you've fallen from. A good support system is all that you need to keep yourself from feeling sad.

The Differences Between A and B

What Not Overcoming Fear Of Failure Leads To
What Overcoming Fear Of Failure Leads To
More problems at work and school
Little to no problems around your work environment
Extreme sadness, despair and depression
More Happiness and Clarity around you
More problems in social situations
A happier social life
No progress being made
Progress being made.

My own Failure Capsule.

Have you ever felt failure in your life?

See results

Dealing With Failure?

If you answered yes to the above question, how did you overcome failure?

See results


Psychology Today

Goodreads ("Failure" and "Dealing With Failure" quotes)


© 2017 Erick Hernandez


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    • Ivan Hernandez profile image

      Erick Hernandez 2 weeks ago from Maintaining The Ivan Brand in Total Nonstop Ivan

      Thank you so much.

    • Rhyme Vine Poetry profile image

      Tamara Yancosky Moore 2 weeks ago from Uninhabited Regions

      This is such an excellent and thorough article. I deal with feelings of failure with positive self-talk, and also receiving comfort from The Lord.

      Wonderful article!


    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 2 weeks ago from Ohio

      I really like the idea of keeping an inspirational journal. I have never thought of that. I'm in the midst of feeling like a failure. I'm working my way out of the depression and anxiety, but it's a long, hard road.

    • Ivan Hernandez profile image

      Erick Hernandez 4 weeks ago from Maintaining The Ivan Brand in Total Nonstop Ivan

      Tessa. I understand your point, but you know that failure is a hybrid of two things. What those two things are, I don't know.

    • TessSchlesinger profile image

      Tessa Schlesinger 4 weeks ago from South Africa

      I completely disagree with all those things. You need to read the book 'Brightsided' by Ehrenreich. Saying positive things and mixing with positive people do not remove failure. They might make you feel better for five minutes, but that is it.

      The response to failure is simply to acknowledge it, to analyze why one failed, and then redo it. At some point, one will get what one wants to do right.

      That has been my recipe all my life.

    • Ivan Hernandez profile image

      Erick Hernandez 4 weeks ago from Maintaining The Ivan Brand in Total Nonstop Ivan

      Thank you. Wow. This article is getting comments everywhere.

      To Mr. Khan. Yes. I'm very well aware of that.

    • pen promulgates profile image

      Imran Khan 4 weeks ago from Mumbai, India

      @ Ivan, as we follow you, we get the notification when you post a hub regardless of the QAP.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 4 weeks ago from Escondido, CA

      Great article that is encouraging. Inspiring . . .

    • Ivan Hernandez profile image

      Erick Hernandez 4 weeks ago from Maintaining The Ivan Brand in Total Nonstop Ivan

      Thank you. This article has grown popular among many people, even though it is still undergoing the QAP.

    • lovetherain profile image

      lovetherain 4 weeks ago from Untited States

      Great article. I used to see a therapist for this very reason(and other reasons too) I may need to go see her again.

    • Ivan Hernandez profile image

      Erick Hernandez 4 weeks ago from Maintaining The Ivan Brand in Total Nonstop Ivan

      Thank you, Bev. This article is getting a lot of comments already even though it is still undergoing QAP.

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev 4 weeks ago from Wales

      Good job, Erick, you are taking huge leaps and bounds in your writing. Lots of people will benefit by reading your unique experience. xx

    • Ivan Hernandez profile image

      Erick Hernandez 4 weeks ago from Maintaining The Ivan Brand in Total Nonstop Ivan

      Thank you. I read your profile, and I'm sorry you experienced this type of event. I hope your father does well. As for me, my mom's my legal guardian, and she's the worst legal guardian ever.

    • Ryan Cornelius profile image

      Ryan Jarvis Cornelius 4 weeks ago from Hollywood Florida

      Wonderful article. First off congrats. I see what you are advising others you do yourself. The article itself is very helpful. Hope to read more.

    • Ivan Hernandez profile image

      Erick Hernandez 4 weeks ago from Maintaining The Ivan Brand in Total Nonstop Ivan

      Thank you. Wow. This article's not even published and I'm getting comments. Never gotten that achievement before.

    • pen promulgates profile image

      Imran Khan 4 weeks ago from Mumbai, India

      Your personal experience makes the article more valuable. Good job!