Fear. It’s a common denominator in all that we do. Or rather, it is a stop-gap measure in all that we want to do. Too often, we let our fears get the better of us, preventing us from getting what we really want out of life.
Why Does This Happen
From an evolutionary standpoint, fear was beneficial to our continued survival. In prehistoric times, it was actually more beneficial to stay close to the clan, taking as few risks as possible, in order to guarantee our own survival. The humanoid that wondered out of his cave into the next valley was never seen again. Maybe he got lost. Maybe he fell, injured himself, and was eaten. Maybe he was attacked by another two-legged predator. At any rate, whatever the reason you can see why the gift of fear was advantageous to our survival.
We live in modern times where much of this danger is of little relevance. Yet, the gift of fear is so embedded in our subconscious that it requires an epic battle to vanquish it.
Instead of fighting fear, I suggest embracing it. After all, the simplest definition of stress is not getting what we want. So, if we try to banish fear, that most primal of human evolutionary emotions, we would be stressing ourselves out trying to fight our inherent programming.
So embrace the fear. Know that you will fail. But what’s the worse that can happen from failure? Will you be eaten or killed? At worse, your ego could be a little bruised and your heart a little broken from failing. But you know what’s the best thing about failing? You learn from your mistakes and know what to do next time so that you increase your chances at success. Reframe your thinking to embrace the fear of failure. Here are some examples:
If you have a true fear of rejection, go into a situation expecting to fail. That’s right. Expect to fail. What you are going after is to feel the sting of failure but to also know that it’s just that—at sting. You will still live after that, and you will grow into a stronger, wiser person from learning those mistakes.
Failure is a good thing. Too often, we are told clichés, such as “Failure is not an option.” Well, I’m telling you it is. After all, think about it this way: We learn from our mistakes. If you work for a company or organization that is very risk-adverse, then maybe it’s time to look for a new job. Fear of failing only limits your abilities and capabilities. The most growth comes from being hurt and failing. It’s the same reason that learning a martial arts such as judo is good for you. You will fall many times from grappling, but those lessons will last you a lifetime. For example, the most common cause of death for seniors is falling. So, if you learn how to fall correctly now, when you become that senior that is one less thing to worry about!
Resiliency From Failure
From all outward appearances, we tend to think that successful people just have talent or somehow got lucky. Success is like an iceberg: What we miss seeing is the other 9/10ths of what the person did to get to success. We never see the mountains of failures, rejections, heartbreaks, and heartaches the person went through. We never see just how close he or she was to giving up and throwing in the towel.
So, the next time you fail, first embrace that failure and then ask yourself what you can learn from it. Now, pick yourself up by the bootstraps and try, try again.
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How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.