6 Ways Fear of Failure prevents success


By David Joel Miller.

Fear of Failure wears disguises.

Some fear of failure may be protective; it gets us to do things we need to do and to avoid other dangerous things. But excessive fear of failure likes to wear disguises, that way it doesn’t get blamed for all the ways it prevents our successes.

1. Fear of failure is a primary cause of procrastination.

Success and Failure

Thoughts for success.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

The longer you put off doing anything the more last-minute it is, the less responsibility you need to take for the results.

You can avoid some fear and anxiety by not doing the paper, project or work related task. Then when you do it last-minute you can say that this is not your best work. The procrastination has given you an out for why this project is not done well.

The result – you are not a failure when your task fails.

2. Fear of failure makes us missing in action.

Lots of people are so afraid that they will not do something perfectly that they do nothing. Similar to procrastination this method keeps us from feeling that it is our fault when we do not succeed. We didn’t do anything so there was nothing to fail at.

This is a large cause of writer’s block. If you are afraid that what you write today will not be any good, that is a good reason to not write anything today. Let’s face it, not all posts turn out to be great ones. Some don’t even make it to the so-so category.

String a row of days of non-writing together and you become a non-writer. No more negative comments or reviews.

3. We do the minimum to get by to avoid the fear of failure.

Fear of failure can also prevent us from sticking our necks out. If you do too much you get noticed. Do only the easy things, never aim too high and you can avoid a lot of failure in life.

Never volunteer an idea and you won’t get stuck doing the work. You won’t get the credit if it goes well but you also will not get the blame when it fails. It is a lot easier and safer to criticize others for why things went wrong than to risk yourself on trying to make things better.

Do the minimum and you also avoid any possibility of success.

4. We begin to look lazy and apathetic to avoid the fear of failure.

A similar strategy to doing the minimum is to pretend you do not care. If you do not care if you are inherently lazy and unconcerned, then how can anyone fault you for doing poorly at things you never cared about doing in the first place?

We expect nothing from lazy people and they customarily live down to our expectations. Stay lazy my friends and avoid any risk of failure or success.

5. We avoid any situation where others might judge us.

Don’t go for a job interview and you avoid being turned down. Drop out of school and you do not have to take tests. Avoid being around others and they will never judge you.

This strategy will help you avoid failure. It will also keep you unemployed, under-educated and living off the system, in poverty, for the rest of your life. You will have avoided being judged but at what price?

6. We become perfectionists and set impossible goals to avert failure.

This may well be the sneakiest way of all to avoid failure. Set impossibly high goals. Always do too much work constantly and then when one of your many tasks does not turn out up to the standard you have a ready-made excuse. Who could blame you for failing at a few things what with all the things you have to do?

More tomorrow on those perfectionists and how they avoid both success and failure.

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

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5 thoughts on “6 Ways Fear of Failure prevents success

  1. Pingback: Success does not cure low self esteem | counselorssoapbox

  2. Pingback: How to fail –Getting F’s may be harder than you think | counselorssoapbox

  3. Pingback: On Being Confident | The Academic Prairie Dog

  4. Pingback: Fear of Failure Prevents Success. | counselorssoapbox

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