Fear of Failing

28 Jan 2020 Simon Ng 0 liked this article.

Students are becoming increasingly fearful of taking risks, they are more wary of going out of their comfort zone and trying new and unfamiliar things. They tend to prefer sticking to the safe route by constantly doing what they are already good at or familiar with. The spirit of adventure has in a sense ‘died off’ declined. This could be attributed in part to the fear of failure. Our society is one that places a lot of value in pragmatism and being successful, and this has resulted in people becoming averse to failure. They tend to avoid failing at all cost as they believe that the costs, direct or indirect, are very high. What is failure? Failure can come in many forms such as not achieving what you set out to accomplish or complete and not meeting the requirement and/or standard that is expected of you. Read on to find out more about failure and how you can overcome the fear of it.

1. Why are people afraid of failure?

Why are people, especially students, afraid of failure? This could due to the pressure or need to constantly having to appear smart and capable. They have to project the image of being ‘successful’ to their families and friends. These groups have placed a set of expectations, which are usually very high, onto them. They are commonly expected to be the ‘perfect’, overachieving student that always gives his/her all. This places a lot of unnecessary stress on the students to perform well in everything they do. Furthermore, students that have consistently received praise for their ability to do something well are more prone to be afraid of losing that ‘praise’ and hence be more reluctant to try something else that they might not be as good at.

2. How to overcome the fear of failing?

It is vital for students to overcome their aversion to failure, here are some mindsets that students can adopt to help them. Firstly, it is important to treat each failure as a chance for self-development, to fill the gaps in their knowledge or abilities. There is nothing wrong with failing but it is bad to give up because you failed. Learn from your mistakes, it something that I cannot stress enough. Find out where you went wrong and learn from it, it may take several tries or trial-and-error but once you get it you will not make the same mistake again and would have made on from it.

Secondly, it is important to learn how to embrace challenges or to try out new things that you are unsure of. Nobody is perfect and no reasonable person will fault you for not getting things right or perfectly from the start. It takes time, effort and consistency to be good at something and everyone has to start from somewhere, never be afraid of not succeeding. Instead, be more afraid of not moving forwards and making progress as staying stagnant is the worst thing that can happen to you. ‘Hard work beats talent if talent does not work hard’!

3. Why is failing important

Failing is part-and-parcel of life, it is completely normal and okay to fail. In fact, it is a necessary process for learning. Failure is important because it helps you to move forward, progress and improve as a student and more importantly, as an individual. We learn and improve ourselves through failure by persevering and fighting through. It teaches us what works and what does not, ultimately it is the experiences you have that counts in the end. We will know the right way to do things as well as understand the value of our success when we achieve it, appreciate it more and not take it for granted or as a given as we have put in the blood, sweat and tears required. It helps to keep us grounded.

It is important to note that we should not give in to failure or be fearful of it. Remember that failure is but a stepping stone to success, it serves to guide us and lead us in the right direction, success. Failing does not make you a failure, it makes you human. Not trying and giving up is the true definition of ‘failure’ as you will be stagnant and stuck in a rut. When you are down and beaten after not succeeding after several attempts, remember to continue embracing challenges and treat failure as a chance to learn and improve yourself. Always move forward, never backwards.


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