How to Not Fear Failure
Table of Contents
I wonder if you heard Ed Harris say the famous phrase in the movie Apollo 13 – “Failure is not an option.” What did he mean by saying that phrase? Do you think he wanted to convey to his crew how to not fear failure, and find ways to succeed with the mission?
What do you see failure as? Do you know how to not fear failure? Do you feel it is alright to fail? As parents, are you alright if your kids fail in school? Should you be alright if you fail at your job or career?
It’s alright because the more you fail the more you learn, and better you become. Haven’t you heard of the phrase – “Failure is the path to success”? But then, why do you feel sorry or depressed if you fail?
Generally, people think and feel sorry for their failures and make their lives burdensome or painful. They are unable to think either positively or feel contended with their successful activities. They are needlessly ridden with shame and guilt.
The key to convert failure into success lies in your attitude. You need to think positively about your failures by learning how to not fear failure.
Every failure should be analyzed or studied constructively, and the cause of failure should be realized. Once you understand the cause of failure, you can make a decision to correct it, and once it is corrected, then you progress towards success.
To overcome the feeling of failure, you’ve to learn to forget the failure.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” ~ Winston Churchill
What is Failure?
‘Failure’ is a very common word that you come across often in your daily life. But what do you mean by failure?
Failure is a negative state of mind, where you see no good, or no progress, or no learning. It is the opposite of positive thinking and motivation.
Whenever you think about failures, there are two possible contradictory thoughts that come to mind:
- You forget your achievements and always think about the failures.
- You forget your failures and always think about the achievements.
The former reminds you about the human tendency to always think about the failures, which is a negative way of thinking and creates depression within you.
However, the second option reminds you that failure is not an option. You acknowledge and credit yourself for the past successes and build a strong belief that if you’ve done it in the past, you can do it now too. This state of mind reminds you that failure is not failure, and asks you to think positively.
It is a positive way of thinking and helps you to receive positive energy and enthusiasm to think about the future. It reminds you how to not fear failure and instead, understand from the failures and asks you to do something about it.
“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” ~ Henry Ford
Failure is Not an Option
I would like to share a beautiful example along with a video that I had recently seen about why failure is not failure, and how to not fear failure and proceed ahead.
I wonder if you heard about the memorable Olympic Athlete of the 1968 Mexico City Games, and about one of the participants John Stephen Akhwari – the marathon runner from Tanzania.
Half way through the race John fell, badly cutting his knee and dislocating his joint. Most runners at that point of time would have given up. But after a few minutes John picked himself up, strapped up his leg, and kept running.
With just a few spectators left and after an hour had passed with the winner finishing the race, into the stadium came John Akhwari with his bleeding and bandaged leg.
He was wincing in pain with every step he took, yet he pressed on and his courageous heart never stopped running.
After a few minutes of silence, began a slow, steady clapping as he made his painful way around the track till he hobbled across the finish. The crowd cheered and roared as if he was the winner, though he finished last among the 74 competitors!
John learnt how to not fear failure because he knew failure is something temporary, which is not going to define him but his efforts.
He was asked why he endured the pain as there was no chance of his winning, and why he didn’t think about retiring from the race as he had an option of leaving because of his injury.
Akhwari seemed puzzled at the question, and simply said these spirited lines:
“My country did not send me 7,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 7,000 miles to finish the race.” ~ John Stephen Akhwari.
There is no mention of this courageous man in the record books, but that’s not the point. It’s the people who remember John more than the man who won gold, even though he came in last!
They saw him as the man who knew how not to fear failure, as failure is not an option he had because his thoughts were focused on finishing the race.
Spare a few minutes and watch his personal story of courage:
[youtube id=”Hq3rOMnLGBk” width=”620″ height=”360″]
Finish the Race ~ personal story of courage – John Stephen Akhwari You Tube video
How to Not Fear Failure to be Successful?
Failures help you sharpen your skills better than success, because when you fail and take time to learn from your failures, you find out what you need to improve.
Just as the saying goes, the largest room in the world is the room for improvement.
“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end street.” ~ William A. Ward.
Successful people don’t avoid failures, they learn to handle it successfully and learn from it. Don’t spend much time worrying about failure, as you increase your chances of failing.
Take the example of Abraham Lincoln who said:
“Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”
He was born into poverty, and knew defeat. The only education that he received was self-acquired, and he failed in business and was defeated many times for public office.
However, each failure taught him to learn from his mistakes, and rather than being a failure at success, he experienced successful failures. These failed experiences didn’t stop him; they taught him.
Failures are Stepping Stones
To make you life joyful and successful, you need to transform your failures into achievements. You can learn how to not fear failure by trying out the following:
1- Analyze the Failures
If you make a proper analysis, you will be able to understand that every failure is a stepping stone towards success.
Every failure reminds you that to fail does not really mean a failure, or that you are a failure, or that you have failed. Failure is not failure in the real sense.
Everyone faces failure, but you need to remember that every person reaches success after a number of failed attempts only.
The failure tells you that you have tried your level best to achieve a goal, and that effort itself is a positive step, a stepping stone to success.
2- Forget the Failures
Once you have analyzed the failures, you should try to forget them. You need to remember that no man is perfect, and everyone is on the road towards perfection.
Thus, on this road to perfection, you will have to face failures, which is natural. You should have a mind to learn from these failures, and such an attitude will lead you to success.
3- Overcome the Failures
If you try constantly, you will realize that failure is not failure for you. You must have heard about Sir Thomas Alva Edison, who invented the electric bulb.
Before the invention of the electric bulb, he met failures nearly 200 times, but he never gave up. He considered the failures as the stepping-stones to success, and never considered the failures as a disgrace in his life.
You should develop such an attitude in your life too and understand that failure is only a temporary set-back. Knowing how to not fear failure helps you to rise and move ahead in life.
4- Failure is Not Final
You might have failed in the past, or you might be facing failures in your present life, but it is not a reason to say or think that you will face failures in your future. Remember, failure is not final in itself.
Such a wrong or pessimistic way of thinking will not take you to success. Instead, you must be optimistic in your thoughts, and have confidence in your abilities and capabilities. You need to cultivate self-knowledge within you.
You do not fail, until your inner self gives up the action or the effort to attain goals. So, remember that failure is not failure, but the greatest failure in your life is to stop trying again.
5- Trust in God
You should accept failure as an opportunity to improve your own effort, and remember that it’s not a problem that cannot be solved.
To solve problems and to find the solution, we need God’s help. It makes no sense in complaining or crying over the failures. Instead, pray to God and seek His guidance.
Remember that prayer inspires us to have faith and perseverance.
6- Get Motivated
Whenever you face failures, or fear failures, or get worried about failures, try to recollect the stories of great men who overcame failures with positive thinking. Remember them again and again, and get inspired and motivated from them.
Try to receive energy from the lives of such people who have overcome their failures, and at the same time look around at other people. Observe how the people in your neighborhood have learnt how to not fear failure by their own constant efforts.
Think about the blind woman in your neighborhood who works as a receptionist at an office, or about the handicapped man who goes to office every morning and does his job successfully.
Have you read the story of Sir John Milton who wrote “The Paradise Lost”? He was blind when he had written this world classic.
Similarly, think about the life of Helen Keller. She was blind, deaf, and dumb from her childhood. But, she did not want to accept defeat in her life. With her determination and will-power, she conquered the world of handicapped people.
Such people, whether they were successful or not, had kept the thought of failure away from their minds to find success in life. They knew that failure is not an option they had to meet their goals.
For them, failure was a challenge, an experience that had taught them a lot. Despite of all the falls and failures, they rose high in their lives because they learnt how to not fear failure.
“It is not whether you get knocked down; it is whether you get up again.” ~ Vinci Lombardi
I read somewhere that if you are not failing; you are not succeeding, which is so true! Failure IS the main ingredient in the recipe for success; its 10 parts education, 20 parts effort, and 70 parts of failure. And remember the Japanese proverb – “Fall seven times, stand up eight.”
So, don’t lower your eye, cover your mouth, hang your head in shame, or feel ashamed of facing or admitting your failures.
Remember, when your attitude is right, failures help and improve you in the real sense. They give you a chance to see where you fall short, to learn more about yourself, to change, and show how you can grow to your greatest potential.
Over to you–
Do you believe that failure is not failure? Do you also believe that failure is not an option in your life? Have you experienced failure in your life and what did you do to overcome it? Did your success teach you how to not fear failure? Share your views in the comments below.
Photo Credit: LifeSpurecharger
Lovely post, I enjoyed while reading it and learned so much from it. Ma’am, you are an admirable, inspiring blogger, web content creator; everytime you publish something it has immense value in it.
In my perception, failure can either make us or break us. It is up to us how we perceive the term failure. Only thing I want to mention in this comment that if you get failed in something, Try once again until you get success in your pathway.
Grow your learning in each failure and have some spiritual faith in your belief system. In my term, Shiva is always there in my hard times.
Let us help this world to become a better place for everyone, Wishing everyone massive success, happiness, and prosperity.
Again a marvellous post.
Rightly said, “failure is negative state of mind”. It lies only in our perception, some people treat failure as a dead end, other see it only as a mile stone in the way to success.
I think, the notion of success and failure is incorrect. In fact, there is no such thing as success or failure, they are only state of mind, stoppages in our journey, where we can stay for some time to be happy or sorrow, but we have to move on.
In this journey, failure is better than success, because failure makes us content with our existing skills, whereas failure forces us to fight, improve, and become stronger than we were before our failure.
Hello Harleena Singh,
The most common use proverb – Failure is the key to success. Failure will come in life. Without fail we never think of prosperity. We see lots of example in history. When King Bruce was living in cave after losing battle, he saw a spider failed to create its webs for 7-8 times but finally it succeeded. It motivated the King. Then he again fought another battle & this time he regained his Kingdom.
You mixed the article with lots of inspiring quotes. It will definitely motivate everyone.
Thanks for sharing such interesting post to motivate unsuccessful people. Have a happy weekend 🙂
Hi Harleena mam,
It took me hours to reach to this comment as every post of yours was attracting me to read it, as your caste is ‘singh’ you must be sikh…and I’m too from Chandigarh… Its really glad to meet you, I was going through all the comments and the replies given by you and I really like the way you talk in a humble and simple behavior… I’m lucky to meet personalities like you,…you are an inspiration to me and I will surely like to be in touch with your blog. Thanx for this great blogging experience…Happy blogging.
Welcome to the blog Akhil!
Glad you liked the post and the blog as well 🙂
Nice to know more about you, and yes the blog readers are generous and kind in their comments, which brings out the best in me too when I reply to them with a hope that my posts and comments help them in some way or the other.
It’s a pleasure to meet you too, and thanks so much for stopping by. Have a nice weekend as well 🙂
Ohh mam, your wishes mean a lot for me, I am really a great fan of you as i researched about you and came to know that you are the top 10 bloggers in India, and the pleasure is all mine to meet you..
A beautiful and comprehensive exposition on “Failiure” and how to deal with it. Your thoughts as well as the quotes do enrich the readers mind and can provide innense inspiration.
Thank you Harleena for this lovely post.
Glad you liked the post Dilip!
I guess most of us tend to fear failures, which often stops us from proceeding further. However, each failure teaches us something in return and makes us stronger to deal with life ahead, thus, they don’t really have to be feared – isn’t it?
Thanks for stopping by, and your words of appreciation. 🙂
The word failure creates a sense of fear in all of us, for sure… well.. after reading this wonderful .. wonderful article.. things are going to change for me.. the quotes, motto is apt.. don’t get demotivated when you fail, its actually a necessary steps in the making of your success… GREAT!!!
Welcome to the blog Traun!
Yes indeed, we do tend to be scared of failures and often fear them. However, we don’t realize that these very failures are our stepping stones to success. I am glad you could find something valuable to take back home from the post.
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
The fear of failure is perhaps the strongest force holding people below their potential. In a world full of uncertainty, a delicate economy, and countless misfortunes that could happen to anyone, it’s easy to see why most people are inclined to play it safe. But playing it safe has risk as well.
If you never dare to fail, your success will have a low ceiling. Most people underestimate their merit and ability to recover from failure, leading them to pass up valuable opportunities. The ability to fail big and fail often has been a mark of the spectacularly successful throughout history.
Welcome to the blog Shan!
Absolutely! It’s always the fear that we might fail, which prevents us from proceeding further. And there’s risk in everything we do, whether we like it or not. I guess taking risks is what challenges you to step forward and do something, rather than not trying at all.
People do underestimate their potential and thus prefer not trying anything new, because they have the fear of failing on their minds. But if they don’t try or fail they don’t really achieve success, nor do they learn about the process to achieve what they want.
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
I found this is really a great post 🙂 I’m inspired.
Once I thought failure as a failure. I was really shy to fail and actually in front of others. I don’t say I’m not shy now, but mostly I admit it and talk about it 🙂 I like more challenges. However there is a advantage of trying not to fail again and being afraid of failure. As I were afraid of my failures, I start to have my own back up plans or recovery plans if things go wrong for me. Not everytime, but mostly it works. Even we afraid to failure or not, having those plans is always better.
I believe every failure or success have a reason behind them. I don’t care about things happened to me. Mostly I try to imply preventative measures from them and get ready for next time. That’s where experience comes. But sometimes I miss it too. I’m not a perfect soul anyway 😉
Some days I try to re-design my blog whole day, but end up with nothing. But I never fed up of it. I always looking out for better ways to go through. I never stop trying until I satisfy with it. And some days, I do it in few moments 🙂 Same goes for when it comes to writing too.
I like your steps about transforming failures into achievements. But I have my own believes too. Your steps are pretty straight and practically for analysis we need much effort and that’s what we don’t do at most times. Right? However everytime initiation takes much effort and that’s where our will and attitude comes in.
Everyone’s fail. But everyone who fail doesn’t win always. People have their own ways of overcoming fails and factors to get motivated. They have to identify what they can and can’t do. So they can really improve themselves over failures more effectively.
Have a inspiring day dear 🙂
Welcome to the blog Mayura!
Glad that you are inspired reading the post. If we don’t take failure as failure in the real sense and find ways to overcome those failures by taking them as learning experiences, we would not fear them and they would eventually lead us to success.
Having a backup plan or taking preventive measures by being prepared for things in advance is a wonderful way to stay updated if things go wrong or fail, due to which you don’t lose out on anything.
No one’s really perfect, and ups and downs are part of all our lives – isn’t it? And yes, there is always a reason for things that happen in our lives, whether its success or failure, which if we are able to analyze leads to be well prepared and take steps accordingly. The aim should be to keep trying to proceed ahead, and even if we do fail- learn from those failures that will give results sooner or later.
Without a positive attitude, effort and giving things your best, you can really not achieve much. Often times you have to give yourself that much needed ‘push’ and make that sincere effort to move ahead without bothering about the end result. And even if you fail in your attempts, you need to take it positively.
Yes, everyone has their own way of learning to overcome their fears, but what matters most is that you take these failures as stepping stones to success and proceed further.
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
Comprehensive and very interesting post. I especially love the apt quotes which are so inspiring.
Thanks for sharing.
Welcome to the blog Dilip!
Glad you liked the post and found it interesting. Yes indeed, I love quotes and feel they add much more meaning to the post and inspire us.
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
I love reading your posts. I’ve shared your post on ‘recovering from a breakup’ with a friend, and she’s thankful. 🙂
Last day, I attended a class on personality development, and the speaker told us many things in the post. He told us how Sachin Tendulkar got bowled by a young bowler (I don’t remember his name), how Sachin analyzed the failure (by watching that ball again and again) and why the bowler couldn’t do that again.
And he showed us videos of people with disabilities, Jesica Cox and Nick Vujicic, and told their success stories. These two people are really inspiring. Jesica don’t have arms but she flies plane using her feet. Nick was born without arms or legs, but he plays golf, can surf and swim. He’s a motivational speaker too.
Nice to see you back here Anees!
Glad you enjoy the posts on the blog and thank you for sharing the post on breakup with your friend that she found useful.:)
Those are wonderful examples, and yes, Sachin learnt to overcome his failures, because he learnt from them and ensured that he didn’t repeat them again, which lead him to turn his failures into success.
Yes indeed, people like Jessica and Nick teach us that our failures are nothing as compared to what they face because they don’t fear their failures, and they turn their disabilities to abilities and have turned out to be role models for so many.
Thanks so much for stopping by sharing more about these wonderful people. 🙂
It’s an motivating and inspirational post.You have given excellent tips to overcome the fear of failure. I watched the video ‘personal story of courage’ and I can’t explain in words how I am feeling for John and his words are soo valuable for his nation and we could learn a great message from him.
Thanks for sharing this beautiful post with us.
Welcome to the blog Pete!
Glad you found the post inspirational and motivational, something that most of the readers also felt. John’s video and his inspiration that comes through his words does touch a cord in our hearts – isn’t it?
I guess what matters most is that we learn to overcome our failures and learn lessons from them, and take examples of men like John and so many others who faced failures, yet never lost hope and carried on till they were successful.
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
This is my first time visit to your blog and it is simply amazing. I am wondering that why I still had not visited your website. Well, it’s an awesome post and you very well explained what is failure and thanks for sharing the example of John Stephen Akhwari, no doubt he is courages man and I love his words that his country send him not to start race but to finish it, awesome!.
I like your suggestion that whenever we face failures we should recollect the stories of great men who overcame failures with positive thinking. Thank you soo much for this post.
Welcome to the blog Syeda!
Glad you liked the blog and it’s never late to connect – isn’t it? Oh yes – John’s video inspired me a great deal, which resulted in penning my thoughts in this post and I think it has struck a chord with most readers as well.
His words show his courage, determination, and dedication to his nation, and his will-power is what really made him complete the race. He never really thought about failure or was worried that he was last in the race. For him, completing it was more important.
Yes indeed, I think inspirational stories of great men help and motivate us to overcome and learn from our own failures and mistakes, and get better with time.
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
Found you via twitter. So thankful to have hopped over here. Love this post as it’s been something on my heart as I just wrote yesterday “goodbye fear!” Following now as I finish the race.
Welcome to the blog Alene!
Nice of you to have stopped by and am happy you liked the post. That is a wonderful coincident that you too wrote on the same topic that I would surely check out. I guess what’s most important is that you learn to overcome and fight your fears – ins’t it?
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
‘Failure’ is a state of mind. To accept that ‘What you wanted to achieve’ you could not…is generally termed as ‘Failure’.
One has to take ‘Risks’ for achieving a ‘Goal’ but then, I consider my level of risk as ‘loss’ which I can bear without reversing effects and start everything with this in mind…”If anything can go wrong, it will”, “When, how, under what conditions etc.” are only a factor of time.
The meaning of failure depends on our perception and attitude. Our state of mind decides what is failure and success. Failure and success are subjective also; what you may term as failure could mean success to me.
Yes, anything can go wrong at any time. One has to be just be prepared for it.
Thanks for your comment 🙂
“Failure is not an option.” is a beautiful saying. But it does not mean that you will win at the end of the day. It may not be an option but when you have to opposing forces, such as two basket ball teams, one will fail to win. This is true even if both teams say that: “Failure is not an option.”
Learning from our failures is important as you pointed out. Since most of us fail more often than not, we have to learn to love failing! Thanks Harleena.
Glad you could resonate with the post David!
You are quite right by saying that where two teams or two opposing forces are concerned, one of them is bound to fail for the other to win. But that happens only when there’s kind of competition where only one side wins. In such cases of course failure IS an option for others. 🙂
What matters most is that you take any kind of failure as an opportunity to learn from and get better or improve yourself.
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
Yes, true enough, both in the short term and the long term. Some would say that if we fail to break the cycle of reincarnation through enlightenment then we are doomed to return to try again. – Same idea on a grander scale. And as you probably are already aware the microcosm reflects the macrocosm!
I’m sure you know that because I just have that feeling that you understand…
Absolutely, David. Failure is an integral component of learning, even if you consider the example of rebirths that transcends life.
I do believe in reincarnations, courtsey its common reference in my culture. But this concept strikes me even logically, as you’ve pointed out drawing the analogy with the failure-success concept.
Everything in the Universe runs according to the same natural laws and principles, including the Universe itself.
When I say ‘failure is not an option’ – I mean that we’ve to try our best with a single-pointed goal of winning or success, having no element of doubt. Once we give our best, we positively accept whatever the result is: if we fail, we treat it as a stepping stone to success. Looking at the whole picture, we’re actually improving ourselves and not failing at all, if we keep learning from our mistakes and impelement the rectified solutions in the next opportunity.
Regarding the reincarnation, some people are smart enough to not wait for many lives but successfully implement all learings from failures in this life itself, improving themselves to the point of perfection and become enlightened! Once you’re this successful, you do not need to return (reborn).
It doesn’t matter if one beleives in reincarnation or not, but the concept helps one to work towards to greatly improve and transform self. I hope you agree.
Hi Harleena, I absolutely agree. I think there is no other conclusion when you spend some time thinking about it. We are being nudged along for the purpose of growth. The more we try to avoid it, the harder life becomes. The more we embrace it, the easier life gets.
That’s true for most people but I think there are a few exceptions.
There’s another line of thought, which is prevelant in my culture. It goes like this: whatever happens, had to happen; and it happens for the good, because there is a reason for everything.
But before implementing this thought, you’ve to put in your best efforts – there’s no escape from that.
Such philosophy makes it easier to live with our imperfection, and to cope with various difficulties we face in life.
You’re very right in your assessment that we gradually grow with every failure. Keeping a positive attitude and understanding the underlying reason for failure will always get you through.
Thanks for contributing your thoughts David.
Nice one Harleena.
Maybe you add “Learn From Failure” to the list to emphasize how we can prevent our mistakes and learn from why we failed.
Of course failure is scary and I always fear the outcome of any task, be it at work or personal. Where there is a risk involved, a failure can be foreseen. But without a risk, there will not be any excitement in life or work. So, you have rightly pointed out how to “avoid” failure and this is a good read.
Glad you liked the post Praveen!
Yes indeed, we commit mistakes or fail in certain things we do, which is natural for most of us. But how we overcome those failures by learning from the experiences is what matters most, because each failure or mistake teaches you something in return and make you wiser and stronger.
We have to take the risks and be prepared for the outcome, whether it’s good or bad and learn how to face it. We cannot avoid failure unless we are perfect all the time, instead, we can improve and get better with time. This is what will eventually lead us to success.
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
Good and positive tips but for failure I have my own saying ” failures are nothing but the pillars of success”
Glad you liked the post Azam!
Yes indeed, failure lead us to success and in a way they are the pillars or foundation upon which you can build your or reach success.
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
Do I believe failure is not failure you ask?
I loved how you broke it down for us here. Fear to fail is really a state of mind as you stated. I used to be afraid to fail but now even if I ONLY fail and never succeed at something or reach my goal, I take satisfaction in the journey. Cheezy I know. But the journey is the experience, it’s what makes life worth living for me.
“Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” I love this quote. i’m going to have to use it you know..
Thanks for this, it’s just what I needed since I’ve been wrestling with being more transparent in my site and sharing my goal. There’s a big chance I could fail but I’m ok with that and now I’m ready to share and motivate others too just go for it, whatever IT is.
Glad you could resonate with the post Annie!
It is all in the mind, just as I say so often, and the fear of failure is also something that arises in our mind and takes us towards thinking negatively about things. Nice to know that you have learnt to overcome the fear of failure in your life, which must have changed your outlook towards life altogether – isn’t it?
Yes indeed, it’s the path and the various ups and downs we experience during this journey that make life worthwhile. Most of us have our own kind of fears just like you, but we need to get over them and proceed further – there is no other way. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
I love reading inspirational stories like this, and I’ve never heard the story about the marathon runner, stories like this is what gets me going.
I try not to use the word failure. I always make mistakes, but I just do them in order to become better, and that’s the point. I try not to think too much about what people say about me, and I just keep going towards my goals and try to learn a lot along the way 🙂
Glad you liked the post Jens!
Yes indeed, the video about John is indeed inspiring and touches most of us in some ways. We all do make mistakes, but as they say that a wise person is the one who learns from them and tries to get better. Similarly, failures should always be taken positively as learning experiences to improve ourselves, and not something that we should fear or feel negative about – ins’t it?
Thanks so much for stopping by. It’s always a pleasure to have you over. 🙂
You really packed this post with a ton of great information on fearing failure, Harleena! Great job!
In any endeavor we decide or choose to undergo, we take the risk of failing. It’s that fear which keeps a lot of people paralyzed from doing what they want to do. I have recently gotten to the root of my procrastination on a recent WROAR episode, when Rob helped me to pin point the source. It would appear that it stemmed from fearing failure and embarrassment. When we know what the cause of our actions are, we become better able to face those things we have issues with. This is true for me, at least; since pinpointing the cause, I’ve been able to act more and fear less.
I see that fear now like you stated here, as a tool to get better at whatever I’m setting out to do. Since the beginning of my journey of becoming a writer, fear of failing has always been one of those things that sat resting in the back of my mind. It would poke it’s head every now and then, but not to the point that I just stayed still and did nothing about it. I look at most of my fears as something that I must learn to overcome. Take the fear of heights (and yes, I have a moderate fear of it), it started out a lot worse than it is now. I hate riding over bridges, looking out windows of skyscrapers and the such. So what I would do is go to those exact places, just to see what it is about it that scared me. Long story short, the fear subsided tremendously when I became a flight attendant. You would think someone who was scare of heights wouldn’t want to become a flight attendant, but I wanted to become one just to show my fear that I wasn’t afraid.
I look at the fear of failure in that same light. As you shared here, “Failure (or fear for that matter) is not an option.” However, if it happens, which it’s bound to do so, I’ll use it to work for me, rather than against me. I won’t however allow it to paralyze me, and keep me from all that’s good for me. As William A. Ward said in the quote you shared, “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end street.” I’ve come to know and accept that to be the truth for myself.
Thank you for such an insightful post! 🙂
Glad you liked the post Deeone!
You are so right about saying that failure is part and parcel of anything we do, and this fear keeps us from proceeding further. Nice to know more about WROAR and how you are liking the series and learning to overcome your fears with the help of Rob. It surely must have made you stronger as a person to face the failure you were earlier embarrassed about.
Just like you, we all do have our own fears about something or the other, but if we fear failure we can never really move ahead. I remember the time when I had started these blogs and turned a full time freelance writer, the biggest fear was about- would I be able to give my readers the things they come looking for, will I be able to connect with them, will I make it as a freelance writer. But yes, those were very initial and I learned to fight those fears with will-power and making myself understand things and going fully head with things, not by getting scared of failures. Not that I ever failed as such, but the fear keeps us down from proceeding or trying out new things.
Yes indeed, the only way to fight your fear is to face it boldly – there is truly NO other way that really works. You did the right thing in becoming a flight attendant, nothing could have been better to fight your fear of heights. 🙂
Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone, which I am sure is going to help them overcoming their fears and learning from each failure. 🙂
“Successful people don’t avoid failures, they learn to handle it successfully and learn from it. ”
I totally agree with the premise of this statement. After all, it is not in the failure that we are defined. It is on how we deal with it.
Welcome to the blog Ralph!
Glad you liked that quote, and yes if is not the failure that defines us, it is the way we deal with it. I guess being positive about failure goes a long way in dealing with it.
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
I like how you included both learn from (analyze) the failures and ignore them, too. Sometimes we need to pay attention to what didn’t work last time. Other times too much worrying over and fretting about the past gets in our way. Both can be useful techniques for struggles with failure.
Glad you could relate to the post Leora!
Yes indeed, failures do teach us a great deal – don’t they? I guess what matters most is that we learn to take each failure positively and learn from them, instead of thinking of quitting or taking them as setbacks in our lives.
The past failures do bother us and most often we have irrational fears to proceed further, when we dwell too long in the past. I think we need to rise above those thoughts and think ahead.
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
I think failure is not failure when you look at it with the big picture in mind – it is often hard when you experience it, but in hindsight it may be the best thing that could happen to you – often a big part of your most successful endeavors.
Have you heard about the book “Go for No! Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There”? It’s about the concept of failing a lot and fast, so that you get faster to succeess. It’s a good read. 🙂
Welcome to the blog Peter!
You are absolutely right about taking failure by looking at the larger picture, instead of taking them as failures in the real sense. I think we need to change our thoughts about failures and learn to think more positively about it, by taking them as stepping stones to success.
I haven’t heard to the book, though it sounds interesting- thanks for letting me know about it. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
Definitely agree with your post. Failure is not an end, it’s just what we need to go through to get to where we want.
What best example than the Thomas Edison’s one? Do you know how many people would have given up? Yet, he didn’t and that’s why he was the successful man that we know and remember.
I think that it’s interesting to point out that he was not successful because everything was delivered to him on a bed of roses, but because he didn’t see failure as lot of people see failure, but just as a stepping stone to get to success.
Thanks for this great pose, Harleena, as always
Glad you could relate to the post Sylviane!
Yes indeed, failure is not the end, instead the beginning towards achieving success – isn’t it?
I too wonder and marvel at the patience all the successful people have, because they keep trying and trying after repeated failed attempts, but never give up. They are the people to learn from, and how they take lessons from those failures, learn from them, and move towards success.
Thanks for stopping by and adding more value to the post. 🙂
Fantastic thorough, inspiring post!
That is what you are aiming to do – so job well done. How can we ever truly fail when we are not done yet?
Glad you found the post inspiring Jodi!
The term failure never should exist in our dictionaries – isn’t it? I guess to fail is like quitting and not wanting to move ahead, or closing the chapter, without really wanting to try or learn to get better.
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
The people who quit are the ones who failed to ask themselves “How can I make adjustments so that this does not happen again?.” However, the people who learn from their failures are the ones who retrace their steps and figure out what went wrong. Then they replace their mistakes by substituting the correct action steps and move forward.
Lets make adjustments and win!!
Welcome to the blog Lawrence!
You are absolutely right about saying that those who fail or quit haven’t really questioned themselves about the reasons that caused the failures. I guess they really didn’t want to learn from their failures, nor try and get better.
Failures surely do teach us so many things, and most importantly, they help us learn new ways to get better, wiser and stronger in our new path. I don’t think anyone has found success without touching failure in their lives.
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
Thank you so much for introducing me to that wonderful clip. Don’t be surprised if you see it in a future post of mine–with a link back to this post, of course. Though I had heard that story many years ago, I had completely forgotten about it so was thrilled to be reminded of it.
Harleena, I think failure is such a damaging word and people are so quick to accept that they are or something they have done is a failure.
Look at a child learning to walk. The child takes a step, falls gets back up, takes a step or two, falls downs, gets back up and the process repeats until the child learns how to walk. Does the child think it’s a failure because it fell when it first started? No, of course not. It is all part of the process and the child is going through it as it learns the skill of walking.
As the child is learning, spending more time on the floor than walking forward, we adults are cheering like mad encouraging each step of the process.
What’s a shame, Harleena, is that at some point we stopped cheering the increments and people felt they had to do everything right the first time. How ridiculous is that? As Thomas Edison said:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”
Unless you quit, you don’t fail.
For instance, professional athletes and musicians are always working on themselves to improve their performance. As they practice consistently to get better, they do not consider themselves failures because they are not yet where they want to be.
Yet, once-a-week or infrequent golfers somehow think they are “failures” if they cannot make the ball do want they want. This holds true for other sports, musicians, dancers, etc.
You were right when you said attitude makes the difference. If you look at “failure’ as part of the process, you are much more apt to have the mindset to keep going. Edison further said:
“Many of life’s failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
This is so true. People need to know what they want, what to expect, follow your tips above and then “failure” will not be a word that describes either them or their accomplishments.
Harleena, what a wonderful job you did covering this oh-so-important topic. Thank you.
Best wishes for a wonderful week ahead. Aloha. Janet
Glad you could resonate so well with the post Janet!
I loved the clip too the moment I saw it and just knew it had to be shared here. I think it was very inspirational and conveyed a lot. And you are most welcome to share it in your future post, I think the more the people see it the better it is. 🙂
You are absolutely right about how people take failure in the wrong or negative way, instead of taking it as a continuous learning process. I was about to write this example of a child learning to walk and how the child falls down each time, yet makes that effort to get up and walk again. The child does face failure each time, but eventually does learn to walk. (I didn’t write about it as I was worried about the post length!) But I am so glad you shared it here 🙂
I am glad you noticed that quote of Thomas Edison in the picture above. I loved it the moment I saw it, as it really conveyed a lot – didn’t it? He took the failures so positively! I wish we were able to do the same, though I feel successful people rise to where they are due to the trials and failures they must have made when they started.
Yes indeed, musicians, sportsmen, athletes, dancers, and even those who want to get better will always keep trying out ways to improve themselves, till they are near perfection. I think it is all in the mind, as a positive attitude and approach of looking at failures as stepping stones in your life, will eventually lead you to success.
All that matter is that people understand that failure is not the end or it doesn’t mean you give up or quit, instead learn from those failures to improve yourself, and soon you will find your success.
Thanks so much for stopping by and adding more value to the post. It’s always a pleasure to have you over 🙂
Have a wonderful weekend as well 🙂
Thanks for this post. I believe that if you don’t believe in failure then there isn’t any way that it can find you! Keep it positive!
Glad you feel that ways Harriet!
Failures should always be taken positively, and thought of as the stepping stones to success. Take them as learning experiences and soon you will find they have taught you so much.
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
With ‘no offence meant’, in my personal view, it appears that you too are one of the failed persons.
Those who do not find anything worthwhile in their own rich culture and take shelter of other cultures for narrating everything borrowed from other’s culture, are failed persons only in my personal view but quite likely, I may be wrong also.
I agree that quotes are helpful in many ways but using quotes only from the authors or great persons of other cultures, who learn’t everything from our culture, indicates that you either did not study about your own culture which is the oldest in the world or there are some other compulsions.
With due regards….
Sorry Rajendranath, I didn’t quite follow what you meant by ‘failed person’ here!
For me, failure and success are the two sides of the same coin, and if I have failed in some places, it has only made me better, stronger, and wiser as a person, and I prefer taking failures positively.
I respect your right to have different opinions and for not liking my choice of quotes in the posts. But for me, if I’m able to help my readers with my content, then I’ve been successful, no matter what I use to create it.
It’s sad that you’ve made some preassumptions that are not true. I never discriminate cultures and people, and neither have I ever favoured any particular culture. I personally do not think that if I’m an Indian, I should use only Indian quotes.
My motive is always to impart knowledge and information in a way that the readers can quickly understand and easily relate or associate with it. And if I used any reference that is coincidently a part of any other culture, that doesn’t make me a failed person.
I never before thought of the fact that I’ve not used any Indian quotes, as I always search by the content of the quote rather than searching by the nationality of who made the quote! In the end, what I see is if the quote is appropriate to the post and helpful to the reader. And most of them are really good quotes if you read them without a prejudiced mind…. most of my readers like them – Indians and not-Indians alike. However, I’m sorry if you feel offended, and please know that it is not intentional at all.
Just because I may not have used quotes by any Indian doesn’t mean that I do not value or respect fellow Indians or Indian culture. The whole world knows the greatness of our ancient culture, and I do not feel it is something that we have to brag about.
Having said that, I also do not feel that we should not undermine or belittle any other culture of the world. All cultures of the world have helped and are working towards human evolution; they’ve all contributed in some or the other way, and less or more doesn’t matter – what matters is we rise above prejudiced thinking.
The ancient Indian scriptures emphasize that the whole world is a family. As family members, the people of different cultures shouldn’t let ego and pride create differences or complexes. On the contrary, they should selflessly help each other, and not fall for the vices of controversy of what is ours or who is great etc.
My culture teaches me to know thyself and also to appreciate and value others, look for the best in other cultures also beside my own, and imbibe what is good. I believe we’re living in such modern times that we should broaden our horizon and nurture human values irrespective of caste, creed, color, country, community, or culture.
I hope now that you know my view point, you might feel like changing your opinion, but even if you do not, you’re most welcome here, except that I may continue to use quotes and references to different cultures of the world and that shouldn’t offend you.
Thanks for sharing your views. 🙂
Oldest culture is easily debatable on multiple levels but that is not really the point. The reason that I like Harleena and her blog isn’t because of where she finds her quotes but because of who she is and what she tries to do.
I appreciate that she tries to help others. That speaks volumes about her.
Hi, I saw your comment on Tess’s blog and popped over.
What a wonderful blog you have! I look forward to reading more.
This post is a treasure trove of inspiration. I especially like the quote by the runner. What humble pride and loyalty that represented. He has the heart of a champion. Really, after reading these inspiring stories, any excuses I might come up with for not succeeding seem pretty thin! Anyway, nice to meet you and thanks for a lovely post.
Welcome to the blog Galen!
I guess we need to thank Tess for helping us meet, though that was my first visit to her blog as well. 🙂
Thank you so much for appreciating my blog, which I feel still needs to get better and I am trying to work for that now. But yes, whatever I know I like to share to the best of my abilities with my readers so that it may help them in some ways.
Yes indeed, John’s video inspired me to write this post, more so his words at the end of race, which were truly humbling – yet so simple and straight forward. His focus was not to win but just to end what he was sent for – the race. That spoke a great deal about true sportsmanship – isn’t it?
You are absolutely right about saying that such motivational stories about so many people are a source of inspiration to us. And after reading and learning more about their lives, their failures, their journey and their final success, our excuses seem so petty.
Thanks for stopping by & it is sure is wonderful to connect. 🙂
I wanted to be sure to have the time to read through your post because I knew it was an important message. I so enjoyed it and the video as well, very inspirational.
I know I throw the word failure around a lot but I guess what it really means to me is quitting. So if you are working towards something and either it those roadblocks or just decide this isn’t the right thing for you and you quit then I view that as having failed. But sometimes that’s not all bad.
We have to do what’s right for us at that given time and maybe our direction changes or we decide we aren’t as passionate about things. Although at times we stumble, fall, hit those brick walls and are not sure how to take that next step, as long as we continue, that’s all that really matters.
I tell myself that I’m failing forward a lot of times. I have quit from time to time something I was passionate about only because I didn’t know how to take that next step. I needed help and guidance and I wasn’t able to locate it at that time. That doesn’t necessarily mean my passion died so I failed forward until I could locate that I needed to help me continue on.
Thank you again for this wonderful message Harleena and I do hope you’re looking forward to this wonderful weekend. Happy Easter!
Nice to see you Adrienne!
Glad you took out your precious time to go through the post and found it, as well as the video inspirational. I loved it too the moment I saw it, and thought of putting it up and that actually inspired me to write this post as well. 🙂
I have read some of your posts where you did mention quitting that was in a way failure, and such thoughts come to all of us – sometime or the other. I think when we come across hindrances in our progress, or are not able to find ways to make things work, or don’t understand things in the right way, or feel that this isn’t right for us, we think we have failed and that feeling leads us to thoughts about quitting.
You are absolutely right in saying that quitting sometimes isn’t bad, especially if what you have joined isn’t right or working for you even after you have given it enough time and tried it over and over again, because sometimes something better awaits you on the other side. And this you can only know when you quit what you are trying to do and look the other way.
But yes, if we feel that we are passionate about somethings and are repeatedly failing in it, then there is no harm to keep trying to get better, which happens when you fail repeatedly as that teaches you something new each time. And you keep getting better, wiser, and stronger with each failure – isn’t it?
I can well relate to the times when most of us feel like quitting because we have nowhere to go, due to lack of guidance or help as you mentioned. I think the lack of resources or knowing the right way to go about things is something that comes with experience or about knowing the right people to contact, being persistent and patient, and takes a lot of time, which is something that we really never consider.
At the end of the day, those people succeed who overcome their fears of such failures or roadblocks, and keep trying to find ways to make things work. They may face failure after failure, but they take those failures as learning experiences or stepping stones and eventually do succeed.
The same things must have happened with you as well Adrienne, which is the reason you have learnt and achieved so much in your life. I guess you kept learning from each failure or the thoughts about quitting, and the self-affirmations that ” I will not fail/quit and find ways to overcome this problem” – help a great deal -don’ they?
Thanks so much for stopping by and adding more value to the post. It’s always a pleasure to have you over. 🙂
Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Easter as well. 🙂
I never really thought about failure in the way you’ve presented it, but I like it. The quote from Abraham Lincoln resonated with me because I recently learned how he failed so many times in life.
When we think about successful people, we just assume that they’re naturally gifted and hardly ever fail, but this post challenges that assumption. Thank you!
Have a great weekend.
Welcome to the blog Damond!
Glad you could resonate with the post and liked the quote as well. I think when we learn more about people who have failed many times over, and then succeeded, it motivates and inspires us to keep trying to get better and face failures confidently – isn’t it?
You are right about saying that we often assume successful people to be gifted, not actually realizing that they too must have faced many hardships and failures before reaching where they are today, or before success touched their feet. It’s their journey that was a learning experience for them, which made all the difference in their lives I think.
Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend as well 🙂
Your title really says a lot. When we are no longer afraid to make mistakes and fail, then we know that success is just beyond the other side of disappointment. Like Little Nemo, we just have to keep swimming. Just as in this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmyUkm2qlhA
Yes indeed, Damond! I wanted the title to say it all.
I liked your example of Nemo, as well as the video. That movie did say a lot and is still an all time favorite with my kids. Thanks for sharing the link. 🙂
Another wonderful post, I really liked the quote “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end street.” ~ William A. Ward.
We learn and grow through failure and we must embrace it. It is better to try and fail than to never have tried at all. We must then fix the mistake and that’s when we have learned something new. I think the more we try, make mistakes, and then learn from the whole experience, the easier it will be to succeed. Through success comes confidence and that is how you can reach for the stars.
Great sharing Harleena! Thank you.
Glad you liked the post Bashir!
I liked that quote too the moment I saw it, and knew it had a place in this post. I think it conveys a great deal about taking failure as a teacher and learning from it.
Yes indeed, it is better to have tried than not tried at all. We really don’t have to bother about the end result or that fact that we have failed earlier or aren’t doing well presently. What matters most is that you keep striving to get better, and learn from each failure, which eventually leads you to success.
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
Oh what a wonderful post, Harleena! And I absolutely loved the video! Very inspiring!
Personally I don’t believe there is success with out failure. You have to have failed along the way. It’s just not possible to be perfect!
The way I see it…”Failure is the stepping stones to success.” Each time you fail you learn how to do it better. There’s another quote I love, (and I can’t remember who said it) but it goes something like this…“You haven’t failed unless you quit.” That’s why I loved the video above. You never quit, no matter what!
Thank you so much for sharing this!
P.S. By the way, you included some of my favorite quotes about failure. Thanks! 🙂
Glad you liked the post and inspiring video Ilka!
You are so right in saying that there is no success without failure, or even if there is, it’s not going to be a perfect one! Failures sure are stepping stones to success, as each failure teaches us something new and helps us learn from those failures, which eventually lead us to success.
I did read that quote too, though really can’t remember from who, and it’s so true! And I too love quotes, so just hunting for the apt ones takes a great deal of time- doesn’t it? But I think they add so much more meaning to the post.
The video is truly inspirational about this simple man who just had one aim, to finish the race. For him there was no fear of failure, nor was he bothered about who won the race. I guess it did convey a great deal to keep on trying and moving ahead, as the journey matters most than the end result. And you do so till you succeed.
Thanks so much for stopping by and adding more value to the post. 🙂
This is the fifth post on “Failure” I am reading this week and I love it. The examples really shine through and are so inspiring, Harleena. (Now, I am afraid to say “epic” because you might apologize for the length! ). I just love the effort you put into each of your posts – makes them such a joy to come back and read.
I always wonder what we would have possibly done had any of these great men given up for fear of failure. 🙂 That alone is such a motivation to not allow failure, or even the fear of it to come in the way. Requires a lot of practice though, because a majority of people choose the easy route and give up. Persistence is the secret to success.
Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂
Glad you liked the post Vidya!
Wonderful co-incidence I think to find so many posts related to the same topic, though I think each of them must be related to different aspects of failure. Aha…the length- well I am trying to lessen that slowly, but yes, I really don’t stop till I end what I want to convey. 🙂
I loved John’s inspiring video the moment I saw it and that’s what resulted in this post, and the other examples just came in one after another.
I do try giving my readers the best I can, so that they really don’t have to go looking for anything more related to the subject. And yes, your posts are also as wonderful as the awesome pictures you share on your blog. I am happy if you find my efforts worth the while Vidya, which makes me believe that I am making some difference in the lives of people – somehow. 🙂
You are quite right about saying that people prefer taking the easy way out to achieve success, which often doesn’t work out or they suffer in the end. What matters most is the learning process that you experience with each attempt or failure, which lead you towards success. And yes, the will power, determination, and persistence as you mentioned are all required to succeed.
Thanks so much for stopping by, it’s always a pleasure to have you over.
Have a nice weekend as well. 🙂
Wow, what a powerful message Harleena!
I really enjoyed the video as well. I think that with each small failure we grow stronger and become wiser. I think that the word failure has taken a bad rap and it’s more about a learning process than it is the end of the road.
Thanks for the beautiful post and have a wonderful weekend Harleena!
Nice to see you Ileane!
Glad you liked the powerful message conveyed through the post! I guess I myself was inspired and just knew I had to write this post the moment I saw the video.
You are absolutely right by saying that each failure makes us stronger and wiser, and helps us learn and become better. It is indeed the learning process or the journey that matters more than the end result, as that teaches you much more. I think most of us experience failures sometime or the other in our lives, but we stand up again, learn from them, fight through them, and keep trying till we find success.
Thanks so much for stopping by. It’s always a pleasure to have you over and have a nice weekend as well. 🙂
This was a most brilliant post and very inspirational!
The stories you included on the various people including John Akhwari, which highly motivational!
I agree when we are feeling like we are failing, finding examples of all those people who never saw failure as ‘failure’, and what they went onto achieve can help greatly in getting us feeling resourceful again.
When it comes to dealing with ‘failure’ I like to use the NLP presupposition – “There is no failure, only feedback’.
However, I believe that what you have included in your post – “Failure is not an option” is equally, if not even more powerful. I love this.
I’m going to use this as personal affirmation!
Thank you for writing such an excellent post. 🙂
Glad you found the post inspirational Hiten!
I loved the video about John Akhwari the minute I saw it and just knew the title of this post, I think he moved me as well. 🙂
You are absolutely right about taking the example of those people or get inspired by such people who never really took failure as failure in the real sense, instead for them failure was always a way to become better and better, till they succeeded. They learnt from their failures and always took them in a positive way, which made all the difference. I like your NLP presupposition that’s so true!
When I had written this post, I remembered that famous phrase of “Apollo 13” and thought it would fit in just right as well, and which is so right that failure is never an option for those who want to succeed – isn’t it? They keep trying or find ways to fight those failures and defeats till they succeed.
Thanks so much for stopping by and appreciating the post. It’s always a pleasure to have you over. 🙂
I like the idea that failure is not something to fear. Even when we are in the process of doing something we believe we can fail or did fail in the past and now trying again to succeed, it is still best to just beat it. Beat failure. Because, like you stated, once you succeed just forget the failure that was there before. It makes no sense to dwell on it. Well, maybe don’t forget it, sometimes it can help to give you that extra push when needed. But definitely focus on the success that came after.
Glad you could resonate with the post Allie!
Absolutely right! I think the best way to overcome failure is to face it and not fear it, and that’s how you overcome your failures – isn’t it? It is always our state of mind and how we take failure as that leads us to success in our future, and the best way is to learn to overcome your past failures and look ahead.
If we think of failure in the negative way due to our past experiences or the present, then you can’t really look ahead or succeed. I guess it works best when you take your past or present failures as stepping stones to success and learn from them.
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
Super post Harleena and I’m sure it will inspire anyone who reads it.
I could have picked out so many things to quote back, but you know me, I look for the humour in most things.
So, I’ve picked…
“Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”
Which makes me a very very successful person.
Have a great Easter break and I’ll see you over on the big blue bird.
Glad you felt inspired Keith!
That was indeed a wonderful quote, one of my favorites because this is what happens with most people- they keep failing and learning in the process and that eventually makes them successful. So, you are a successful person then. 🙂
Happy Easter to you as well and thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂