The Fear of Failure: Combating One of the Greatest Roadblocks to Success

How many times have we thought of something ambitious and big to achieve but gave up because you were afraid of failing? Yet some months or years later you look back with regrets upon the chances you failed to take. When asked why you couldn’t use past opportunities you always give every excuse under the sun except the real one; You were simply afraid of failing so you didn’t act.

Show me a successful person who has not failed at least once in any endeavour he embarked upon and I will tell you that such a person has not tasted true success. The day such person fails he may find it difficult to accept and may quit.

Once while resting and listening to the radio a song came on air. It was an Igbo song on FEAR. The singer told a fascinating story of a village that paid a visit to Mr. Death on account of the number of deaths occurring in the village. They pleaded with Mr. Death to spare them more deaths. Mr. Death agreed but on a condition.
What condition? Everybody wondered.

“I will only kill three persons tonight and then no more,” said Mr. Death.
Everybody went home in palpable fear. It could be me, each person thought as he walked home. That night was terrible for the villagers. Lightning came and somebody died. A thunderstorm and two were dead. Another lightning and another dead villager. And so they died in their numbers that night.

The next day the survivors were shocked at the number of the dead. Didn’t that evil Mr. Death promise to kill only three? Why so many then? Everybody agreed to pay Mr. Death one more visit and to Mr. Death’s house they went. Mr. Death welcomed them and sought to know the reason for the visit. With disappointment and anger they accused Mr. Death of killing far more than the three he promised to kill. Mr. Death smiled and shook his head.

“I only killed the three I promised you,” he replied,” I think I know the cause of your problems. There is another deadly powerful man living in the next village. You can enquire from him. He should know what is happening. His name is Mr. Fear.”

There the story ended but it made my rest worthwhile. When we fear failure we live within our comfort zone. We don’t try to make life better for ourselves and others.

A worker may be unhappy with his working conditions and wants to start his own company but fear of failing will stop him from reaching out to his dream. Fast forward a decade later, he is getting close to retirement and is full of regrets for having worked for somebody all his life with nothing to show for it.

Man naturally was not created to be afraid of failure. Man is naturally daring and tries something until he succeeds. A typical example of a real man is a child. A crawling child will keep on trying to stand and walk even after several failures. He may fall and hit his head on something but after wailing the next few minutes he is seen struggling to get hold of the table to stand. Why for God’s sake can’t we think of ourselves when we were young, small and innocently brave? We have lots of lessons to learn from infants. Ever watched a crawling baby pursue a ball on the floor? When it seems he is getting hold of it the mother shifts it further, up the child goes after the ball until he gets it.

Naturally we weren’t created to be so afraid for it is through failing that we come to succeed. But as we grew up, our teachers flogged us for making mistakes. Slowly we came to learn that anyone who fails is to be punished and ridiculed so we began to dread failing. That is why many men and women including youths who should be daring are afraid to pursue their ideas.

The boy that wants to learn to ride a bicycle must be prepared for one or two falls. If eventually he learns without falling, good but nevertheless he must be ready to fall off the bicycle. If you don’t try out your ideas now you might regret years later. Time is short. The worst penalty for failing is that you will have to start again. Live your live to the full and don’t be a prisoner to fear, that’s what we preach at NairaBrains.

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Don Pagli

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