How to push through fear of failure

How to push through fear of failure

Fear of failure is a common hurdle when it comes to goal-setting. Instead of letting this fear prevent you from moving forward, why not grab that feeling by the horns and let it drive you? Tim Ferriss, creator of the four-hour work week (, has created a three-step exercise to help overcome fears…

To begin, divide a piece of paper into three columns. Then think of a goal that is important to you but you’ve kept yourself from attempting.

  1. In the first column, write down all the things that could go wrong should your attempt fail. Think of the most terrible things possible.
  2. In the second column, determine ways you can mitigate the possibility of each of those bad consequences from happening.
  3. In the third column, think of how you would recover from each of the scenarios you imagined and wrote in the first column.

As Ferriss told Business Insider:
“You come away from that exercise realising, ‘Wow, I was getting extremely anxious and all worked up over something that is completely preventable, reversible, or just not a very big deal.’”

Remember that your failures can be stepping stones to your success. Inventor James Dyson said, “I made 5,127 prototypes of my vacuum before I got it right. There were 5,126 failures. But I learned from each one. That’s how I came up with a solution. So I don’t mind failure.”

Watch and learn

Need some inspiration from others who’ve done it? These videos from will get you in the zone:

  1. J.K. Rowling’s Harvard University commencement speech, “The fringe benefits of failure”
  2. Tim Ferriss’ TED talk “Why you should define your fears instead of your goals”
  3. Jia Jiang’s TEDxMtHood talk, “What I learned from 100 days of rejection”
  4. Steve Jobs’ Stanford University commencement speech, “How to live before you die”
  5. Derek Sivers’ TED talk “Keep your goals to yourself”

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