The Psychological Fear of Failure (Guest Post)

Back April 23rd, 2018

In order to overcome the many failures I have had to deal with, I decided to view them as learning curves with the use of the mantra “there is no failure, only feedback”; I am now convinced that with each failure comes wisdom and knowledge, coupled with the belief that what you learn from failure is more beneficial than a success.

For many however, fear of failure is a very real, on a par with fear of criticism or fear of rejection. It results in them never being able to achieve their true potential – they are afraid to try, in case they fail. In order to overcome this particular fear let’s examine it and try to navigate the destructive consequences it brings. This journey will not be easy however it will equip you with perseverance to open that closed door in your mind, taking you a step closer to freedom.


Ascertain when your fear of failure was formed

Perhaps you had overly protective parents who never let you try anything new? In your mind they did this because they wanted what was best for you, however if you now look at the event as an outsider, you will see that it had nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. This created a negative belief in yourself – that you weren’t capable and were unable to cope with difficult situations – and now has a big influence in how you live your life.


Break complex matters down

Try doing something complex that you are passionate about and would not normally try because it is just too difficult and you think you would fail. By breaking it down into manageable pieces you will take the first steps towards succeeding. If one of these pieces fails then it is easier to see why, learn from the experience and move on to the next piece. Moving forward in this way will enable you to see failing as a positive experience as opposed to a negative one.


Accept failure as a way to grow

Failure is always inevitable regardless of who you are. If you sit on the fence looking for the easy option, you may find there just isn’t one so embrace your fear and jump off. Know that with each failure comes knowledge, strength and ultimately success.



Let “fear of failure” remain what it is – a thought in your head. When it bubbles to the surface, try to remember that it has no place in reality and use it as a stepping stone on the pathway of your life, always changing and never a permanent fixture. Free your mind by meditating. By doing so you will remove those fear founded thoughts which are holding you back, alleviating negative feelings associated with those thoughts, resulting in the belief that those fears can be overcome.



 Change your perspective and learn to grow. Take every failure as a blessing; even though this can be difficult, it will teach you to constantly improve and ultimately look at the negative periods as times of learning.


We are all afraid of something however it is not fear itself that will hold you back but the decision you make because of that fear. Imagine what your life would be like if none of your fears controlled it; take charge and when you look back on your life, do not let “fear of failure” be something you have always regretted. The choice is yours.


Lorna Lamon is a qualified counsellor specialising in Person-Centered Therapy, with a passion for helping others overcome and understand the complexities of their mental health. She has a fierce eagerness to bring awareness to the mental illnesses which so many of us struggle with but do not feel safe enough to speak about, and to offer guidance and support for those who need it.

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