Get over your fear of failure
Nothing stings quite like failing. This is especially true when it happens in front of people we like and admire. Our ears go red, our face feels hot, and we swear "I'll never do that again".
When most people look at the successful among us, they see someone who supposedly rarely fails. Success, after all, is the opposite of failure.
The world is full of people who love to call those who are trying but failing "losers", "jerks" and "stuff-ups". After venting a little anger such people then go home to their own often unremarkable lives.
Yet if you look back on the past of most successful people, you find it littered with failure. The successful usually don't just have more triumphs than most, but also more falls. Because the path to victory is almost always paved with failure. They fail because they try harder. And they get up again after falling down.
Let me give you an example from my own life.
When I decided I wanted to move into an IT career, because it seemed more satisfying and better paying than what I'd previously been doing, I had all sorts of failures along the way. Some of these were quite emotionally difficult, and would probably have caused many to give up.
When I first started looking for a job, I sent out hundreds of applications. Most of these I never heard about again, but occasionally I got invited along to do an interview. Often, these interviews were quite humiliating. People who were much smarter about computers than me seemed to enjoy making me look small and insignificant.
"How dare you come here and waste my time with your lack of skills and experience," they seemed to be saying to me. "Don't you know that we are experts and you're just a useless amateur?"
Despite feeling horrible about these failures, I kept sending out applications and going to interviews. Eventually, I managed to impress someone enough to be given a job in IT.
But almost immediately that I started, my manager felt as if I was a bit of a burden. I was still learning the ropes, and he thought I might do something that would get him in trouble. So he organized some meetings with other people in the department to see if he could pass me off to someone else.
"What are we going to do with Paul, who has no skills and experience and will probably always be that way?" was the underlying message.
At night, I'd read up on programming languages and IT infrastructure. I sat vendor exams and looked through other people's code. I was learning quickly, although the only person who realized that was me.
Within a few months, I'd done some good work and my manager forgot that he'd wanted to dump me. He started singing my praises to others in the team. He once saw me as a failure, but now I was on my way to being a success.
Since then I've never looked back. I've had well-paid IT jobs in a number of cities around the world, and never have trouble finding this kind of work when I want it.
The early humiliations are a distant memory. But at the time they were horrible. I had no idea that eventually I'd succeed, and sometimes I used to wonder why I was bothering at all. But I kept plugging away and eventually the failures turned to victory.
This is one of the key determinants of success in almost any field. When people see someone who's a winner, they tend to just assume he was born that way. One day he popped into the world and simply started beating everybody.
But usually, winners start off as losers just like everyone else. The difference is that they're strong enough to look past the early disgraces towards the possibility of a brighter future. They can grin in the face of defeat, because they know that each failure brings them one step closer to success.
You should take steps to get over your fear of failure, if you have it. The best way is simply to go out and face it. Don't love to lose, but accept it as a step on the way to winning.
Be determined to overcome the humiliation of failure, and you'll go further down the path of success than most.
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