How to Overcome the Fear of Failure & Help You Thrive

by Usama Khan

Have you ever wanted to achieve something so bad but you didn’t even try? Was it the fear of failure that held you back from going after what you really wanted?

According to data, only 22% of Americans have their dream job. And one of the root causes of why the percentage is so low is the fear of failing.

So, the question here then is, what to do about the fear of failure? Is there any specific process that you can follow to eliminate the fear of failure?

The answer isn’t as simple as it may seem. If it was so easy, everyone would pursue their dreams. More people would succeed rather than fail. But that isn’t the case, is it?

It takes determination, passion, persistence, and patience to look fear in the eye and overcome it. Are you ready to do what it takes?

In this article, we will go through practical steps that you can follow to overcome your fear of failure.

Read till the end to increase your chances of succeeding.

What Causes Fear of Failure?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, it is important to shed some light on the causes of fear of failure.

Well, there are two principal causes of fear of failure: shame and the fear of rejection. Let’s discuss both causes one by one.

Shame & Fear of Failure

Losing at something is one thing, but what worries most people is the shame losing brings to them.

Let’s take sports as an example. It’s completely fine to lose a game fairly. But the feeling of not being good enough when you lose is what stops people from even trying in the first place.

Most people feel an emotion of unworthiness because of losing, and they try to shield themselves from taking risks. The result? They stay in their comfort zones and hence do not grow.

Fear of Rejection & Fear of Failure

Fear of rejection is also closely linked with fear of failure. People assume if they fail at something, others would think of them as inferior. This would cause people to exclude and reject them in social circles.

Being seen as less of a person, not being good enough, and the fear of people rejecting them is what gives birth to fear of failure. This again causes people to not go after their dreams. They are too afraid to lose (and what other people might think of them if they lose).

Effects of Fear of Failure

Fear of failure can have some negative impacts on how you live your life. These impacts hinder your growth and stop you from achieving your full potential.

Here are a few things that you might encounter when you are afraid of failure.

  1. Reluctance to step out of your comfort zone and take on new challenges
  2. Procrastination
  3. Low confidence and self-belief

These effects are terrible for chasing your dreams and living your best life. Hence, try to avoid these at any cost.

How to Overcome the Fear of Failure: Some Practical Tips

We have a few tips for you that will enable you to tackle fear of failure. Read and apply for beneficial results!

Address The Root Cause

A good starting point would be to sit alone and ask yourself a few questions. Questions like, when did the fear of failure really get into me? Why does it worry me so much? What’s the event or moment that triggered it?

When you ask yourself these questions, you will eventually know the root cause of why you fear failure. Once you do, it’s time to tackle it!

Tell Yourself: The More You Fail, The Better

The truth of the matter is, it doesn’t matter how much you fail. You only need to succeed once. The more you try then fail, the more your chances of succeeding.

Remember one thing, failure is inevitable. You won’t be successful at anything on your first try. That’s not how it works! Go through the process, learn from it, analyze your mistakes, and come back stronger.

The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.”

Stephen McCranie

Think Positively

Training your mind to think positively in every situation really helps. Try to surround yourself with optimistic people. This will automatically eliminate negativity from your life.

According to motivational speaker Jim Rohn, we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Hence, wisely choosing the people you spend most of your time with is essential.

You can also read articles on positive thinking, they will surely help a lot.

Analyze Worst-case Scenario

Ask yourself, what’s the worst that could happen? Sometimes, it’s all an illusion in our mind that builds fear in our bodies. Reality is rather different.

Sometimes, the stakes could be high. But most of the time, it’s just us telling ourselves we aren’t good enough. And that is something you should avoid in order to tackle fear of failure.

Focus On Things In Your Control

When we focus and waste our energy on things that are out of our control, we lose our peace of mind. We become more stressed and anxiety takes over. This does no good to our cause and goals in life.

The solution? Always try to divert your energy on things that are in your control. Try to improve your performance through what you can try to make better.

Leave the rest to its natural course of action. What’s the point in trying to fix things that are out of your control, anyway? It’s like watering a dead plant. Avoid it, and you will see the results!

Quotes to Help You Overcome The Fear of Failure

We have compiled the best quotes to inspire you to overcome the fear of failure. Read them to prepare yourself in taking on the challenge. You can do it!

  • “You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door in the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” Johnny Cash
  • “Forget about the consequences of failure. Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success.” Denis Waitley
  • “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” Vincent Van Gogh
  • “I really don’t think life is about the ‘I-could-have-been’s’. Life is only about the ‘I-tried-to-do’. I don’t mind the failure but I can’t imagine that I’d forgive myself if I didn’t try.” Nikki Giovanni
  • “No man ever achieved worth-while success who did not, at one time or other, find himself with at least one foot hanging well over the brink of failure.” Napoleon Hill
  • “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” Theodore Roosevelt
  • “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Eleanor Roosevelt
  • “There is no failure except in no longer trying.” Elbert Hubbard
  • “Experience teaches slowly, and at the cost of mistakes.” James A. Froude
  • “I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.” George Burns
  • “I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.” Tony Robbins
  • “You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Wayne Gretzky
  • “Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” Coco Chanel
  • “Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.” George Edward Woodberry
  • “For every failure, there’s an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour.” Mary Kay Ash
  • “Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” Napoleon Hill
  • “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” Bill Cosby
  • “One who fears failure limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again.” Henry Ford
  • “No man is a failure who is enjoying life.” William Feather
  • “Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure it just means you haven’t succeeded yet.” Robert H. Schuller
  • “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” Abraham Lincoln
  • “Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.” Benjamin Franklin
  • “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” Steve Jobs
  • “Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.” Mia Hamm
  • “One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” Andre Gide
  • “The only failure is not to try.” George Clooney
  • “Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.” Japanese Proverb
  • “If you’re doing your best, you won’t have any time to worry about failure.” H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
  • “Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” Morihei Ueshiba
  • “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” Dale Carnegie
  • “Alfred Pennyworth: Took quite a fall, didn’t we, Master Bruce? Thomas Wayne: And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” Batman Begins
  • “Take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise.” Anonymous
  • “We learn wisdom from failure much more than success. We often discover what we will do, by finding out what we will not do.” Samuel Smiles
  • “Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” Bertrand Russell
  • “Failure is success if we learn from it.” Malcolm Forbes
  • “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan
  • “He knows the water best who has waded through it.” Danish Proverb
  • “Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titanic.” Anonymous
  • “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone, there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” Frank Herbert
  • “The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.” Buddha
  • “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill
  • “Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” Dale Carnegie
  • “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one.” Elbert Hubbard
  • “A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms against himself. He makes his failure certain by himself being the first person to be convinced of it.” Ambrose Bierce


Focus on becoming a little better every day. Slight changes can mount up to significant results. Know that everything takes time.

Welcome new challenges with open arms. Try to get comfortable with not being comfortable. Step out of your comfort zone whenever you get the chance. And last, remember that failures are influential teachers. Learn from them, and you will win big!

Follow the above tips and implement them in your daily life. They will surely help you eliminate the fear of failure from your life.

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