Where does the fear of mistakes and failures come from? From childhood. It was in our childhood that we were taught that a mistake is very bad, it is something terrible and irreparable, and many of us were ridiculed more than once even for minor mistakes. The fear of failure is the fear of rejection, the fear of being alone in the face of danger, the fear of death.
What else can cause the fear to arise and develop that we will not succeed?
1. Inadequate, inflated requirements for yourself
This is usually a continuation of the parents ‘ excessive demands on us. As a result, we see everything only in black or only in white, we do not recognize any intermediate shades. Either a genius or a loser-there is no middle ground. To be a genius is to be on the crest of a wave. To fail is tantamount to death. Either sink or swim. Solid extremes. But to live all the time on the rise, at the limit of forces is simply impossible. We are not heroes of fighters, and if we set ourselves such a pace, sooner or later we will break down.
The way out: accept your imperfections and allow yourself to make mistakes.
2. Underestimation of their capabilities
This may be the result of inadequate self-esteem, formed in our childhood when we blindly believe the opinion of our parents and other significant adults. Why do children develop low self-esteem? This is the result of both insufficient parental care and overprotection. Hyper, perhaps even more dangerous because as a result, we have formed a so-called taught helplessness. Learned helplessness is when we are used to everything being done for us, either trying not to strain or not trusting. As a result, we do not learn, do not get the experience that corresponds to our age, we are afraid to do anything because of the fear of doing something bad or not knowing how to approach the task. Learned helplessness can be formed in other ways. For example, when negative feedback, or, in other words, non-constructive criticism, significantly exceeds positive feedback, when our actions are approved and we are praised. In this case, we are sure in advance that even now we will not succeed, no matter how hard we try, because the previous 1000 times all our efforts went to waste. And as a result, we give up and stop making any attempts to improve our own condition.
There is only one way out: do, and do. Trying, making mistakes, and starting over — until you can’t. And constantly analyze: what turned out the way we wanted, and no revision is needed; what turned out not quite successfully and requires adjustment (be sure to immediately think about which one); what turned out very badly. In the latter case, a thorough analysis is necessary: what exactly our decisions and actions led us to the wrong place, what in these our thoughts and actions should be changed, what to learn, and what to do to get the result we expect. And one more very important point: all emotions should be turned off for this period, so that they do not distract and do not lead astray, especially since there will always be people who will condemn us, laugh at us or devalue our work. The turn of emotions and reactions to the actions of others will come later when the job is done. That’s when you can be happy, and grieve, and everything else. And until the job is done, you need to leave only logical thinking: what happens and why, what does not work and why, then what to do to change it. The only exception is that if we suddenly hear constructive criticism that can help us get closer to the goal, we react to it and actively use it in our own interests. Our task is to focus as much as possible on what brings us closer to the desired goal and ignore or dismiss everything that prevents it.
3. Exaggerating the complexity of the task
Fear, as they say, has big eyes. The cure for this is drawing up a detailed plan to achieve the goal. That goal, which at first seems so huge and unattainable that we immediately lose heart and give up, suddenly becomes quite visible and feasible when we break the movement to it into small steps. Steps that we are definitely able to do, often without even putting much effort. The main thing — how to think through the route. For example, to conquer Everest seems absolutely impossible, and to climb a mountain 100 or at least 30 meters is quite real.
Output: reverse planning method. We set ourselves an ultimate goal that we want to achieve in the future, and then move from the desired future to the real present, all the time asking ourselves the question: “What do I need to do to get this?”Let’s take the example of conquering Everest because, in a sense, any of our goals is Everest, which we want to conquer. What do I need to do to conquer Everest? You need to get experience climbing to lower heights. What do I need to do to get the experience of climbing to lower heights? You need to become more resilient and buy the necessary equipment. What do I need to do to get fitter? You need to sign up for a club that trains future climbers and do your physical training there. What do I need to do to buy equipment? Get information about what you need, find the right store, and make a purchase. Now we have come from the top of Mount Everest to the present and can take the first real steps-sign up for a club and find out what equipment is needed for a novice climber.
We are adept at intimidating ourselves, imagining the horrors that occur not only in the event of our defeat but also at the slightest mistake.
Solution: First, let’s ask ourselves the question: “What is the worst thing that can happen to us if this happens?”And secondly, we will use the amplification method (in Latin – “expansion, strengthening, enrichment”). That is, we will give free rein to our imagination and invent nightmarish and tragic scenarios. It is necessary to bring a frightening situation to the point of absurdity. You can create a lot of horror stories and even arrange a contest for the most terrible. So we will live through all these fears and let them pass through us. And at the same time, we will feel in the process of writing and living that even a billion percent of what we have fantasized and what we have so carefully intimidated ourselves will not happen to us.
Three exercises to overcome the fear of failure
1. Change the attitude to errors
There is an effective way to safely survive the disappointments and defeats that await us on the way to the goal. How do we perceive our mistakes? Usually as a disaster of universal scale, as something that no one will ever be able to fix under any circumstances. But if we change our point of view to our mistakes and begin to perceive them simply as information that we have found the wrong solution, if we perceive our mistakes as a way of acquiring life experience, then there is simply nothing to get upset about. There is no disaster or tragedy, there is just feedback, there is just information that we went the wrong way and we need to choose another one. Perhaps one of the most striking and well — known examples of such thinking is Thomas Edison, who, before inventing the electric light bulb, conducted 10 thousand unsuccessful experiments. It was he who said: “I have never failed. I just found 10 thousand ways that don’t work.
2. Replace the words
In your thoughts about the future, replace the word ” but “with the word”even if”. For example, you usually think:” I want to be a brilliant speaker and be confident in public, but I’m afraid that everyone will laugh at me first.” Change the negative wording to a positive attitude: “I will become a brilliant speaker and will be confident in public, even if at first everyone will laugh at me.” Such a seemingly small thing-replacing one word with another, and what an effect, what an action! We immediately feel our shoulders straighten and our backs straighten, our breathing becomes more even and deep, and our gait becomes firm and confident. We grow in our own eyes and begin to treat ourselves with respect. Then with respect to us and begin to treat the people around us. So it turns out that by changing one word to another, we actually change our own lives.
3. To stop avoiding
If we are afraid of something (for example, failure in a new business), we often begin to avoid it — something that can be unpleasant or cause pain. Avoidance becomes a way for us to protect ourselves from failure. The trouble is that the area of what is avoided will expand indefinitely until we become afraid of absolutely everything. Life will turn into a continuous restriction, and can you call it life? Therefore, we should not think in the style of “What will we not lose if we do not?”, and in the style of ” What will we get if we do?”. In other words, it is worth replacing the movement from something (that is, avoiding something) with the movement to something.