Everyone who is dedicated to achieving their goals dreams of success. And with this devotion, there also comes a feeling of dread regarding the worst possible outcome of any situation. This is what is commonly known as fear of failure, and it can actually be beneficial when used correctly. So, how can this negative sensation be used as a driving force? Let’s find out.
Why Failure Is Motivation
It’s no secret that many people feel that the fear of failure is detrimental to progress. But that is only half true. The complete discussion tends to be a bit more nuanced than that. According to a 2013 study, this behavior leads to maladaptive strategies such as underachieving and disengagement only when paired with a lack of firm goals.
As an entrepreneur, I have had my fair share of both successes and failures in life. And while the former surely feel great and work wonders on the ego, it’s the latter that educated and shaped me into the person I am today. For this reason, I am a strong advocate for the power of allowing your missteps to teach you a lesson on growth.
So, what happens when you have your eye set on achievements, but still dread the possibility of everything going wrong? The answer is simple: you use it as a driving force to guide the path to success. This might sound unattainable at first, but it’s actually very much possible. Here are three reasons why the fear of failure is the best motivator.
1. It Pushes You to Excel
Any successful person will tell you that they got where they are now through pushing their limits. That is something that the fear of failure can drive you to do. When you use this emotion in a beneficial way, you will be motivated to aspire to greatness. Just remember not to let it take a hold of you and cripple your attempts.
For example, Forbes Magazine contributor Celine Da Costa found that accommodating her fears pushed her to defeat them and try new things. She quit her job and is currently backpacking around the world, living her best life. Her fearlessness is what ultimately brought her true happiness, but amazingly enough, it was born from a place of dread.
In many ways, this feeling is born from wanting to excel. Thus, as long as you employ it in a beneficial manner, you are bound to come out victorious on the other end. Nevertheless, there is a fine line between doing that and over-exhausting yourself with doubts, so be careful. At the end of the day, you are only human and you can only do so much.
2. It Helps You Grow
It’s no secret that triumph is important to us in any situation. However, progress and growth should be your top priorities. Therefore, as long as you focus on bettering yourself, it won’t matter if you win or lose. What is essential here is the pursuit of constant development. And learning from your mistakes plays a big role in this process.
Overcoming any mishaps that come your way paves the path for success in the future. In the words of Robert F. Kennedy, “only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” Therefore, instead of living your life in terror of what results you might get, embrace them no matter what. Only by doing this will you manage to evolve and improve constantly.
In my experience, the situations which have helped me become the best in my field have been those when I didn’t immediately accomplish the most desirable results. Such experiences forced me to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. I immediately saw what I was doing wrong, and ideas on how to change in the appropriate direction came pouring.
3. It Has Two Sides
Sooner or later, everyone in the world has to go through failure. The experience is always an unpleasant one, but at the end of the day, you are the one with the power to choose how you see the situation. It’s up to you if you perceive this as a proof of your inadequacy, or if you muster up the strength to take it as a learning opportunity.
Renowned TV show host and comedienne Ellen DeGeneres once said that “it's failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.” Nevertheless, you need to allow it to do that. Even the most pervasive fiascos can only stop them if you let them. Therefore, instead of standing around moping and feeling sorry for yourself, get back on your feet.
Analyze what’s happening and why this outcome occurred. By retracing your steps, you will be able to identify your mistakes and come out a better man or woman out of it. And in the future, you will know what to avoid. What is more, you might even get inspired to try some new and innovative strategies the next time around.
To conclude, I have found that the best way to use your fear of failure and any potential mishaps that might ensue to drive your progress is by choosing to see them in that light. After all, this is a deeply personal experience, and you can cast any light you want on it. So, if you make sure that it’s a positive one, you will find amazing advantages hidden in plain sight.