Removing your biggest obstacle towards success: fear of failure

Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life–think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.

              ~Swami Vivekananda

We’ve all been there and done that. Fear of failure. It’s a cold, paralyzing emotion that simply stops you from being what you want to be, do what you want to do – simply live your life openly, freely, without judgment and regret. So what can we do about it?

Well the truth is, WE ARE the only ones who can do something about it. Nobody can do it for us, as well as nobody can succeed except us. It’s our hard work, devotion and commitment.

And I would say that we all have to invest time and work when we want to get rid of that fear: an obstacle that can make our life miserable, sometimes making us feel even sorry for ourselves while watching other people having fun and enjoying life.

Illustration of a cloud and a ladder

It’s interesting that only one change in my daily routine gave me so many different perspectives on various aspects of my life – including success and fear of failure. When I started regularly writing poetry it opened my mind to so many possibilities and different ways of thinking that every part of my life improved for the better. At the beginning I was so happy that I just, you know, began to write. With time, somehow, doubt began to creep in and  I started to look for flaws: Could I’ve written something better? Could I’ve express myself more precise? Why didn’t I come up with that word (while reading the work of other aspiring authors)? But then, I tried to cheer myself: “I can write another poem, and another poem. The previous one is nor bad nor good. It’s just a reflection of one moment of my life, my thoughts…it doesn’t define me. Tomorrow I can do it better”.

And these thoughts made me look more deeply at the essence of our fear of failure. The truth is: you cannot fail. These are also the words of my favorite teacher dr Wayne Dyer, that passed away recently. You cannot fail. You can only produce certain result. In one particular moment of time it reflects your efforts, mistakes, fears and joys. But it is not who you are. There is always another try, another poem to write, another story to tell, another project to start, another person to meet, another vacation to travel. You are never late. It’s just one moment in time, not a failure.

In this whole process I would also suggest that we should revisit our beliefs about success and failure. When I look back 20 years ago, I was very ambitious, eager. I had a lot of energy and motivation – simply I could “conquer” the world. And my notion of success in that time and now differ a lot. Now, I would do many things differently. In the first place, take care more of my health. And sometimes I wonder: “Did I really follow my goals under my terms, or somebody else’s? Because, many times society implies what is success. Yet, is that success for me? What’s expected from me – is that what I really want”?

So next time you hesitate to try something new, look at things from different perspective and ask yourself: “What is my definition of success? Am I living under my terms? Am I giving my best? What would’ve happen if I only try – without getting attached to the outcome”?

Success is counted sweetest by Emily Dickinson

Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

Not one of all the purple Host
Who took the Flag today
Can tell the definition
So clear of Victory

As he defeated-dying
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Burst agonized and clear!