Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Do you have a fear of failure?

The fear of failure can understandably be very debilitating.  With the patients in my clinical practice, it is often due to a combination of the beliefs that one is "not good enough", "that things have to be done perfectly or don't do it at all", "I am insignificant when I fail", "I am only loveable if I achieve", and "I am significant when I achieve."

In order to challenge this, I often use the analogy of playing a computer game.  The "game" of life is like playing a computer game where there are many challenges along the way.  If it is not challenging enough, then it is too boring.  If it is too challenging, then it can be overwhelming. 

So if we ask ourself this question. "What happens when you get towards the end of Stage1, make a mistake, and have to start again?"

Do you throw the joystick away and ruminate on what you have done wrong?
Or do you start again, remember what you have done wrong, put yourself back in the "flow", and then start again and again until you get to stage 2, and then keep going until you get to the end of the game.  And if you are truly in the "flow", then despite the challenges along the way, you will still enjoy the game.

Most of us have the ability to do this.  So next time when we have "a fear of failure", embrace it, acknowledge it, accept it as it is normal to "fear failure", but then challenge it with the above analogy.

Like the "great" Michael Jordan said in his Nike Commercial, "I failed over and over and over again in my life, and this is why I succeed."

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