Why people fear failure. It’s not what you think.

I hear people talk about how much people fear failure, but also that you have to learn to handle failure.
They talk about it like it’s abstract—just not achieving a goal you want to. Like if you want to start a business and you end up not making money. Or you want to achieve some other goal and don’t.
We don’t like not achieving goals, but we don’t fear such abstraction. Humans have no inborn fear of not making money that we wanted to.
We fear how not achieving our goals makes us feel. We’ve been made fun of, laughed at, scorned, questioned, judged, and so on for what we call failure. These outcomes led us to feel ashamed, humiliated, insecure, anxious, depressed, and so on.
Those feelings are what we want to avoid, not abstract failure.
The distinction matters because it means that if you can learn to handle your emotions, which you can control, you can take on risks that you might fail at, even when you don’t have control over external inputs that affect the outcome.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Ameeta

    What I fear most is loss of credibility. I’ve found it makes it harder (I think even almost impossible) to then get people to take you seriously or think you are any good.
    I used to always top at school and that would give me a free pass to anything I wanted to do or study. It didn’t remain so when I met with failure, suddenly life became very difficult. Maybe there are other factors I am overlooking.

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