The belief – ‘survival of the fittest,’ has been ingrained into our psyche since the earliest days of civilization. Repeatedly told that the world is competitive and only the ‘top notch’ can survive, we live comparing our successes apropos others. Competitiveness is explained as the possession of a strong desire to be more successful than others or the quality of being as good as or better than others of a comparable nature.
We live in perpetual fear of failure. Of threatened survival. Is it true that being an ‘always winner’ can bring genuine happiness? Can it even guarantee happiness? Is it not more likely that buying into this belief, might actually be ensuring unhappiness?
Ask anyone why they have not accomplished their goals yet, and fear of failure will always crop up as the number one reason to, most of the time. But, this has nothing to do with being born with low self-confidence. It has everything to do with fear of failure being a socially acceptable behaviour. What we really fear is failing to do something right the first time. Is it really reasonable to expect anyone to do ‘right the first time around’? No. People require several attempts and lots of practice to get things right at all. Yet we go on expecting ourselves to ‘do it right’ the first time.
Why are we in this situation? Right from school, we are trained that getting the ‘right’ answer the first time is the only thing that is rewarded, whereas the wrong answer is punished in a variety of ways: low grades, scolding and contempt from teachers and peers. By our late teens, we have been very effectively trained to fear failure. And most certainly not been taught to embrace failure as a key step in learning.
Most of us are still stuck with a big, ugly Fear of Failure staring us in the face whenever we try to break out of our current reality, go after big goals, or think about learning something new. Somewhere along the way, one has to de-learn the lesson to fear failure. Learn to go after what you want regardless of how often you might probably fail. Embrace failure as a part of getting what you want out of life.
The keys here will be –
Re-training your brain to go after new things. Take a class in something you’ve never done before. It doesn’t matter what it is. If you’ve never done it before, you are bound to fail the first few times you try it. This is a great way to relearn how to court failure, and then overcome it on your way to achievement.
Remind yourself that, fear of failure wasn’t always there for you. When you were a toddler, you had absolutely no fear of failure. If you were afraid to fail, you’d never have learned to walk! Somewhere inside who has absolutely zero fear of failure. That inside man wants to try to do everything. Access that brave little person once again, and you can achieve anything.
Choose to cultivate contentment, joy and bliss. Real, lasting happiness is about being who we really are and not something we have to strive for or can buy. Choose happiness now.
“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be” – John Wooden