What prevents people from doing great things?
Public speaking is anxiety-inducing because we don't want to look bad. A business idea remains untapped because there's a chance it might not succeed.
It is the thought of defeat that holds us back.
Kakorrhaphiophobia is the irrational fear of failure. It's debilitating. It results in inaction and prevents people from experiencing new things. It hinders growth.
But we must overcome the fear of failure if we are to achieve full potential. As FDR put it, "there is nothing to fear but fear itself."
Understand: failure is not bad. It is normal and expected. Mastery takes time.
Indeed, success demands errors, and failure is necessary:
- James Patterson's first novel was turned down 31 times.
- Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin after mold was accidentally exposed to a culture of Staphylococcus.
- A good baseball batting average is .300 which means batters fail 70% of the time.
- MySpace came before Facebook, and Napster before iTunes.
- Human life was made possible by evolutionary failures over millions of years.
Just as the spelling of kakorrhaphiophobia is challenging to remember, it can be easy to forget that "fear does us more harm than the things of which we're afraid."
The more I practice public speaking, the better I get at it. The more business ideas I attempt, the more experienced I get.
Remember: defeat is just education in disguise. Don't let errors, failure, and perfectionism deter you.
In the end, what emotion feels worse than fear?
The only real mistake is the one you make twice, and the only real failure is the failure to try.
What kind of risk will you take this week?