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  5. How to Overcome All Your Fears Without Being Brave

In this article, we'll examine fear of failure: what it means, what causes it, and how to overcome it to enjoy true success in work, and in life.

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To find the causes of fear of failure, we first need to understand what "failure" actually means. We all have different definitions of failure, simply because we all have different benchmarks, values, and belief systems. A failure to one person might simply be a great learning experience for someone else. Many of us are afraid of failing, at least some of the time.

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But fear of failure also called "atychiphobia" is when we allow that fear to stop us doing the things that can move us forward to achieve our goals. Fear of failure can be linked to many causes.

Reprogramming your brain to overcome fear: Olympia LePoint at TEDxPCC

For instance, having critical or unsupportive parents is a cause for some people. Because they were routinely undermined or humiliated in childhood, they carry those negative feelings into adulthood. Experiencing a traumatic event at some point in your life can also be a cause.

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For example, say that several years ago you gave an important presentation in front of a large group, and you did very poorly. The experience might have been so terrible that you became afraid of failing in other things. And you carry that fear even now, years later. It's almost impossible to go through life without experiencing some kind of failure. People who do so probably live so cautiously that they go nowhere. Put simply, they're not really living at all. Receive new career skills every week, plus get our latest offers and a free downloadable Personal Development Plan workbook.

But, the wonderful thing about failure is that it's entirely up to us to decide how to look at it. We can choose to see failure as "the end of the world," or as proof of just how inadequate we are. Or, we can look at failure as the incredible learning experience that it often is.

Overcoming a Fear

Every time we fail at something, we can choose to look for the lesson we're meant to learn. These lessons are very important; they're how we grow, and how we keep from making that same mistake again. Failures stop us only if we let them. Most of us will stumble and fall in life. Doors will get slammed in our faces, and we might make some bad decisions.

But imagine if Michael Jordan had given up on his dream to play basketball when he was cut from that team. Imagine if Richard Branson had listened to the people who told him he'd never do anything worthwhile without a high-school diploma. Failure can also teach us things about ourselves that we would never have learned otherwise.

For instance, failure can help you discover how strong a person you are. Failing at something can help you discover your truest friends, or help you find unexpected motivation to succeed. So what the hell is going on here? Why are we afraid of safe things, and cheerfully cavalier about things that are actually dangerous?

Research has provided an answer, and if we use it to our advantage, we can use science to overcome our fear of… well, anything. In other words, when something is too unfamiliar, we find it scary. When I think about talking to a stranger, I feel a surge of fear.

What makes you afraid?

Asking someone for a favor, or — worse — trying to introduce myself to someone who I hope will be a new friend, fills me with an abstract kind of terror. My fear is irrational. Upon arriving in Koh Samui, Marisa and I rented a scooter. It was the rainy season, so the roads were wet and we were being pelted by raindrops. About 20 minutes into our first ride — which we were both enjoying — I misjudged a turn, panicked, and crashed the scooter in a parking lot. A half-dozen Thai kids swarmed out to help, and after a quick run through the survival checklist , Marisa and I climbed back on the bike and headed off again, sporting matching bloody elbows and knees.

And that made us both far more reluctant to get back on the scooter again. But — out of necessity 5 — we got back on the bike.

Overcoming Fear of Failure - Don't Be Afraid of Failure From

And our familiarity with riding improved. I felt more confident after three or four rides, and had a better idea of how the bike would move underneath me. Is the scooter less dangerous today than it was three weeks ago? But are we scared to ride it? Not at all. Part of being incredibly adaptable is that humans get bored. Thrill seekers need a bigger risk each time to get the same rush. How can I overcome my fear of public speaking? Answer From Craig N.

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  6. Sawchuk, Ph. With Craig N. References Social anxiety disorder social phobia. Arlington, Va. Accessed April 18, Toastmasters International. Stein MB, et al. Approach to treating social anxiety disorder in adults. How to keep fear of public speaking at bay. American Psychological Association. Jackson B, et al. Re-thinking anxiety: Using inoculation messages to reduce and reinterpret public speaking fears. PLOS One.

    How to Overcome All Your Fears Without Being Brave

    Sawchuk CN expert opinion. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 24,