Fear of failure: when anticipating defeat immobilizes us

No one doubts that life is full of setbacks and times of discomfort or pain, but it is also true that much of our harm is caused by our own imaginations. The fear of failure is a perfect example..

And it is that, although we tend to believe that we are fundamentally rational beings and that we act according to logic when we make transcendent decisions which will affect us a lot, the truth is that we do not; just overthinking failure can act as a trap it limits our freedom.

The fear of failure as a mental trap

Much of what we do is born out of the fear of failure. Acting in a certain way and performing actions in a certain way is not the same as maintaining a proactive attitude; although it sounds strange, there are things we do precisely because they keep us in a passive state, that is, in our comfort zone.

Thus, we can draw very complicated plans and strive very simply to create a compelling excuse (for others) that allows us not to have to start this project what excites us.

The fear of failure is something that paralyzes us but at the same time pushes us to devote time and effort not to step out of our comfort zone and not to run the risk of failing.

The paralysis of analysis

The funny thing about the fear of failure is that it can be covered up in a number of ways. For example, this can sometimes take the form of analysis paralysis. It is a concept used to refer to the times when having one or more decisions causes us to run out of choice without any of the options available.

Analysis paralysis can be understood as a failure in the way decisions are made rationally when none of the options are sufficient, but it can also be the fear of failure disguised as rationality. These moments of looping thought where decisions are poorly made and when they disappear to bring us back to where we started is one of the most frustrating experiences there is, but they also have another negative consequence: they keep us in place without being able to move, with all the consequences that this entails.

Fight the fear of failure

Theoretically, the fear of failure is not inherently bad, as it is simply an unpleasant feeling based on rational ideas: what would mean failing in our goals cannot be as positive as what succeeding would mean, and if that was the case it would mean that the project or the decision does not matter to us.

However, in practice, when we stop to think about the fear of failure, it is usually because it has become a problem, an obstacle.

I how can we prevent the fear of failure from harming us? To do this, you can follow these guidelines.

1. Write a decision tree

Write down on a piece of paper the possibilities that await you, with their different ramifications in which the possible consequences of each are represented. Next to each of the options, write down the likelihood that you think they must happen knowing that you have made all of the previous decisions that lead to that point. To make this estimate as reasonable as possible, you can ask for a second opinion.

Then write next to each possible scenario how much you would like or dislike that option. By combining these two types of information for each of the options, you can create another “decision tree” in which the branches are arranged from left to right according to the possibilities that pass, And you can paint each one with a color palette ranging from red to green and expressing the degree to which you want everything to go.

This colorful decision tree can help you a lot in overlapping rational decision making with fear of failure.

2. Set short-term goals

Once you know which option is rationally the best for you and all you have besides the simple fear of failure, setting short-term goals is the perfect way to commit to that decision. . Also, it will make it harder to fall into the “I will do it tomorrow”, it can be a form of camouflaged fear of failure.

3. Make a commitment to do it in front of others.

Another way to keep the fear of failure from crippling you is to commit to doing what scares you in front of others. This way you can use yourself against the logic of fear of failure because you start to fear the possibility of breaking your word.

One way or another, to combat this state of psychological paralysis it’s good to find ways to force yourself to do the right thing, And this option is effective (except in the case of pathological addictions, in which case it is essential to go to a specialist).

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