Fear and failure: The winning combo to generate success
When I was six, I experienced a deep fear - a fear which I still vividly remember today.
It was early morning; I was playing football in our garden and sent my ball into our neighbours’ backyard. On the way to collect my ball, I noticed a huge dog, lying in their garden. I was terrified. I calmly picked up the ball and started walking back. I then looked at the dog to check he was still at ease. Simultaneously, I accelerated my pace. The dog, sensing I was not confident, started to bark, and even worse, started to chase after me and my ball. I threw the ball in the air and started to run as fast I as could. My fear level was so high, it felt like I was running an Olympic 100 meters in seven seconds! The dog ended up catching me and did bite me a few times. Luckily, I recovered quickly from this encounter.
This simple story tells us two things - my initial fear is what created this dramatic situation, and that same fear took my body to a high performance I could not have imagined.
Fear, who are you?
In any situation, whether it is a triumph or a defeat, you first create an outcome in your mind. If I did not express fear, the dog would not have moved. I created this reality from my uncontrolled mind.
Fear often starts as a deep déjà vu - a call back to an old memory. Your entire body feels it, as a call to survival. Fear has an excellent memory and comes up as soon as there is danger. Fear is extremely good at painting the worst future possible. It can entirely derail a simple project, or even totally prevent you from living the life you want. Fear plays by its own rules without asking for your permission; it overrides your system, and fear exists to protect you. Fear is like a worried parent who wants you to be safe. How do you manage this relationship?
Fear, hey partner!
How do I know when fear is present? Your brain becomes hyper-alert, pupils dilate, breathing accelerates, heart rate and blood pressure rise.
Slow down when fear signals are coming; breathe deeply Send oxygen to your brain, then you can more clearly decide what to do. This simple tip may help to change how you deal with key decisions and get your year back on track.
A winning relationship with fear
Elite athletes, stage artists, soldiers and surgeons deal with fear constantly, and have learned its power; higher focus, full awareness, faster decision making, higher physical capabilities, acute creativity, and so on. Fear is not to be feared - fear is to become a close ally to be partnered with. The world's top performers achieve top performance whilst they are afraid. Get ready for a ride!
Failure, out of my sight!
Here are a few effects of perceived failure: it paralyses you, demotivates you, makes you believe you are helpless, fundamentally distorts your perceptions of your own abilities, and limits your success potential. The fear of failure often leads to unconscious self-sabotage, performance anxiety, and stops you from achieving what you want.
Why then would we want to experience this?
Failure, who are you?
Here is the definition - "lack of success in doing something". Failure exists as an opposite of success; it actually does not have its own existence or meaning. Failure exists because there is an expectation. How can you fail when there is no expectation? Failure can destroy you or build you - it's your perception that dictates the path you take. When you believe failure is negative, you invite fear as well. Fear and failure is the most powerful combo to stop developing yourself. Failure is a ghost and a great teacher. Two faces, which one do you pick?
“You don’t fail because you aim too high and miss, you fail because you aim too low and hit” - Les brown.
Change of perception
When they learn how to walk, babies fall, again and again and again - hundreds of times. Then they walk, and then they run. So, what makes babies run while adults want to avoid falling at all costs?
High performers embrace the above definition of failure. Failure is their best ally to develop themselves and create a new reality. The temporary discomfort is nothing compared to achieving what you want. We learn from failure not from success. Failure is an investment you make to buy success - nothing more.
In the end, your perceived weaknesses are your strengths.