How To Cope With The Fear Of Failure

There’s something more important than fear

Fear might be big, intimidating, and scary. But our desire to achieve something is far bigger than the fear itself.

Everyone in this world is afraid of something. Ask a phobic weightlifter who scampers at the sight of a peanut-sized insect or a politician who pukes at the thought of public speaking. There is a list of at least a hundred other phobias that may seem outlandish to some, and nightmarish to others—fear of water, fear of darkness, fear of intimacy, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of animals, fear of pregnancy, fear of long words (Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia), so on and so forth.

Fear is like a plague. It is not easy to escape its clutches, no matter how strong, aware or wise we are. But, if it isn’t easy, it’s not impossible either. Given that there are all kinds of fears and phobias people live with, struggling to cope, address and overcome, what could possibly be the weapon of choice to wage this war? Corporate Trainer and Partner at Anekta, Swasthika Ramamurthy has helped numerous employees and entrepreneurs overcome fear. According to her, getting to the root of our fears is the first step. For instance, if a reserved person is too timid to speak in a meeting due to their fear of public speaking, it is important to understand where this fear stems from. Ramamurthy says, “You need to get deep under the skin of workers and deal with their confidence issues.”

Once we have identified where our fears stem from, we can devise a plan to overcome them. Mysuru Warriors Head Coach Murali RX has devised an interesting technique to help his players overcome their fears. He explains, “A batsman is often afraid to face a cricket ball at the velocity of 140 km/hr on a 22-yard pitch. Why? He is afraid that he might get injured. In such circumstances, the batsman is asked to face a tennis ball on an 18-yard pitch. The speed remains the same, but the probability of getting injured diminishes.”

Fear might be big, intimidating and scary. But our desire to achieve something is far bigger than the fear itself.

Fear does many things. It stands between us and our dreams; it tells us we don’t have it in us to achieve them; it rears its ugly head just when our moment arrives. So, what does one do in their do-or-die moment? Stop fearing the fear, accept it and rise above it, says conventional wisdom that works without fail. Courtney Hadwin, a 13-year-old aspiring singer suffering from social anxiety disorder took the centre stage on a television reality show despite the obvious signs of anxiety she was displaying. Before the audition, her father confessed that Courtney was so reclusive that she had the hardest time making friends or even talking to people. She could only communicate and express herself through music. On the day of her performance, Courtney looked fear in the eye and gave a stellar performance, leaving everyone, including the panel of judges, speechless.

The courage Courtney showed is a testament to how one can deal with fear. The only way to deal with fear is to make fear your stepping stone. If you are bullied, stand up for yourself, instead of running away. If you want to sing in front of thousands, don’t overthink or hold yourself back.

As author Meg Cabot wrote in her novel The Princess Diaries: “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear.” Fear might be big, intimidating, and scary. But our desire to achieve something is far bigger than the fear itself—this desire is what matters. Something is more important than fear is a perfect phrase to remind ourselves of this. Every great achievement has behind it, an astonishing story of vanquishing fear. This is how the greatest of stories are born, the highest of mountains are scaled, and the most memorable pages of history are written.


Can fear be overcome?

Fear can be overcome by understanding its root causes and developing strategies to address and overcome them.

What is the first step in overcoming fear?

The first step is to identify where our fears stem from and address any underlying confidence issues.

How can fear be dealt with in challenging situations?

In challenging situations, it is important to acknowledge fear, accept it, and rise above it. Making fear a stepping stone to achieve our goals is key.

What is more important than fear?

The desire to achieve something is more important than fear. Making a judgment that something is more significant than fear is the essence of courage.


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