According to PR Newswire, 84% of all people have some irrational fear. Though many common fears are tangible, like spiders🕷, heights🎢, and blood🩸, certain intangible fears, especially fears of failure, judgment, and unworthiness, are the most common. These fears disrupt your journey to success as they stick to your every thought and control your every move. I am Deepa Chari, a 15-year-old student, and these are my irrational fears. I am sure many of you fear these as well. Let me explain the source of these fears and some powerful ways to overcome these fears to achieve the success you truly desire.
What is Fear❓😱
Fear is an unpleasant emotion in the presence or anticipation of danger. Paul Ekman, an American psychologist, states that fear, one of the seven universal emotions, “arises with the threat of harm, either physical, emotional, or psychological, real or imagined.” Most of our fears are irrational, and Fear of Failure is the most common amongst young people.
What is Fear of Failure❓
Fear of Failure is an extreme feeling of self-doubt that one’s efforts to succeed will fail. This fear arises when we are uncertain about the obstacles and the outcome or dwell upon past failures.
Signs and Symptoms of the Fear:
📌 We begin to feel unintelligent and incapable.
📌 We begin to think that if we fail, we will disappoint others.
📌 We begin to lack confidence and motivation to start, continue or complete a task.
Fear of failure ultimately prevents us from taking risks and achieving the success we desire.
Fear of failure can happen to anybody. Recently, my friend was rejected by a medical academy for a program she applied for. She was disappointed and dejected😔, therefore she felt unconfident in her abilities to become a doctor. She feared she would fail if she tried again, and gave up on pursuing her dream. So, her fear of failure prevented her from trying again.
What my friend failed to realize is that rejection doesn’t define one’s ability to succeed in the future. Even the most intelligent people with excellent grades get rejected.
The key🔑 to being successful is how we respond to our failure or rejection.
❌ - scared, ashamed, or doubtful
✅ - accept, reflect, and learn
If we continue to focus on what could go wrong, we will only focus on obstacles rather than opportunities that make us successful. Imagine if a skier⛷ only focused on the obstacles🏔, like trees🌲, they would crash💥. But if they focus on the path, they are more likely to reach their goal.
Now you know one of the main reasons only 8 percent of people achieve their goals, according to the University of Scranton. Let’s become part of that 8%:
✔ Believe in yourself by reflecting upon past successes
✔ Use rejection and failure to learn and grow
✔ Never lower or give up your goals
✔ Visualize a successful outcome
🎯You need to face your fear.
What is one of the first thoughts we get after failing? “What will everyone think of me?” This is known as the fear of judgment.
What is Fear of Judgment❓
Fear of judgment is the fear of others’ negative perception of our personality, intelligence, or behavior. We tend to trust others’ opinion of ourselves rather than trusting our own talents and abilities. This reflects a lack of self-confidence because we value others over ourselves. Therefore, fear of judgment can result in us giving up our desired future.
For example, when I receive a bad grade on a test, I fear that my teachers, friends, and even my family will think that I am not intelligent or I cannot be successful. I constantly compare myself to those around me who are doing better in school. As a result, I don’t try harder because I believe that no matter what, I can’t improve.
However, one’s intelligence or ability to succeed isn’t based upon their grades📕 or innate talent, it is a product of one’s passion, determination, and hard work. Although it is impossible to escape judgment, we can avoid getting discouraged by it.
✔ Focus on your strengths
✔ Learn and strengthen your skills.
✔ Be open to constructive criticism
✔ Find a mentor
When people judge us, we feel unappreciated and undeserving. This is called fear of unworthiness.
What is Fear of Unworthiness❓
Fear of unworthiness means fearing that we lack in importance and value— fearing that we aren’t good enough or cannot create success and value. This typically stems from a lack of appreciation for our hard work or continuous criticism for our efforts. As a result, we assume we will fail and don’t work as hard. We feel that whatever we do won’t be recognized.
For example, J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter⚡️ series, was shut down and criticised by multiple publishers for her first Harry Potter book📕. She even mentioned that she pinned her first rejection letter to her fridge and didn’t believe that she would ever find a publisher who thought her book was good. Her book went on to be rejected by 12 other publishers. This criticism and rejection led to self-doubt and feeling insignificant. However, Rowling blocked out the harmful criticism and kept looking for a publisher, despite her fears. Finally she found a publisher who liked her book. Due to her persistence and belief in her abilities, the Harry Potter series was published and has sold over 450 million copies since.
Everyone is criticised at one point or another. Everyone has different perceptions, but we cannot let criticism bring down our self-worth. We have to ignore hurtful criticism and focus on our goals and the success we want in the future.
✔ Be confident in your abilities
✔ Don’t compare yourself to others
✔ Don’t let others’ judgments disturb your reality
✔ Don’t let others define your value or worth
🎯You are worthy.
We cannot avoid fears of failure, judgment, and unworthiness, but we can avoid our response to these fears. We fail more than we succeed, we are criticised more than we feel appreciated, and we feel more incapable than we feel confident. We can change this! Imagine walking away with confidence after every rejection, imagine approaching an audience with courage, and imagine a life filled with great health, relationships🫂, and prosperity📈. I am ready to fight🥊 my fears, how about you?