The myth of fear of failure
It’s not the failure or the mistakes people are afraid of
A lot of people when they are trying to create change in their lives or something new in the world get interrupted. They get interrupted before they start. They get interrupted as they execute. They get interrupted when they don’t follow up or follow through.
Who is doing this interrupting? Children? Fire the nanny. Social media? Drop the phone from a Zeppelin.
Oh, if only it were that simple. The person who does most of the interrupting of making change in the world is the same one we see when we look in the mirror.
Unless of course you happen to be a vampire. If you are a vampire, please unsubscribe to the Foolsletter. We are not friendly to bloodsucking fiends around these parts.
As for the interruptions?
We don’t interrupt our process ‘on purpose’ or with awareness. We do it as a reaction. It’s a reaction to fear.
Drilling down, people frequently say that they’re afraid of failure. People talk about failure like it’s a vicious dog or a cranky American with an AR15. But failure isn’t that dangerous.
Getting struck by failure isn’t the same as being hit by a car. Well. Mostly. When you fail, you feel bad. I guess the same can be true for getting hit by a car. But unless you’re one of those ‘flight suit’ people, failure likely doesn’t have consequences that impact your mortality.
Our fear of failure has more to do with the story we tell ourselves about failure. Even more than that, failure has to do with the feelings it brings.
There is nothing worse to people than feeling shame or embarrassment. These feelings are associated with some of the most unpleasant lessons we’ve had to learn.
Both shame and embarrassment are natural and essential feelings we humans use for socialization. For centuries, both church and state have used these sensations and stories of ‘not enoughness’ to control the population and create a sense of both what’s permissible and what’s possible. These are the regulatory feelings that help keep people in line
By if you’re trying to make change in the world or create something special, you need to get outta line. You need to break convention, transgress normalcy and defy these feelings.
So. If you are creative and value your creativity and feel interrupted in the process, you might want to explore your relationship with shame and embarrassment. Find the pain and you’ll find your way forward.
It’s like the old saying goes:
No free lunch!