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The Elephant In My Mind: Fear of Failure

Anything related to matters of the mind

Awoken

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I've become very self aware recently about what's going on in my mind. And I've finally realised the root cause of my problems.

Fear of failure. This is immense for me. I've always known I feared failure throughout my formal education, but as I began my first product venture after graduating uni I thought I could brush it off.

Well I've hit my first major hurdle in the process and fear of failure has completely overwhelmed me. It's making me question everything and has created a lot of self doubt.

I've spent weeks trying to improve myself more and more so I could get past this hurdle. But it all comes down to fear of failure.

I feel like I know all the right things. I understand the producer mindset of providing value, I have the motivation & discipline, I understand the necessity of process involving failure again and again. But my mind keeps cycling round and round and making little real progress. And it all comes down to this fear.

And I realise this fear has been with me throughout my product venture. I've been so obsessive about getting things as perfect as possible. I've been obsessing over reading as much as I can. It's simply fear of failure. Whilst this may have worked in my formal education because it fuelled my drive to study hard to avoid failing, it doesn't work that way with entrepreneurship.

I feel pretty lost now. I'm seeking ways to address this fear because I know it will hinder my progress not just throughout entrepreneurship but through life. I can't keep doing the same cycling. It's making me chronically stressed and is damaging my relationships & self.

One path I'm considering is pursuing a job where I will provide value to society. As this would provide me with a foundation I can build on with my FL pursuits. I'm working part time now in a shit job and I feel worthless. I think this has sapped my self belief in combo with my recent hurdle.

I know this path goes against the gung ho 'FL or I die' approach but this might be best for me. I understand and accept now that my mind is my own. For too long I've been trying to emulate others who have achieved success, and this just doesn't compute.

I need to figure out how to get through this for me. There's no point in trying to do what worked for others if it's going to destroy my sanity and relationships in the process. And if that means going against the mainstream preachings of the FL community then I need to accept that. Maybe my process will take longer than others. That's OK.
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Look into the spotlight effect... no one really cares that you fail.

This is all in your head and it isn't something that should kill your dreams.

There's real fear, like facing a tiger, and faux fear, like placing a Facebook ad and losing $100 on a product that doesn't sell.

Also, you made a 45 posts here, none were failures. You're 45-0.

Expressing your fear of failure here was a nice start as well.

You can conquer this, much like you conquered walking and talking.

Good luck my friend.
 

NervesOfSteel

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I've become very self aware recently about what's going on in my mind. And I've finally realised the root cause of my problems.

Fear of failure. This is immense for me. I've always known I feared failure throughout my formal education, but as I began my first product venture after graduating uni I thought I could brush it off.

Well I've hit my first major hurdle in the process and fear of failure has completely overwhelmed me. It's making me question everything and has created a lot of self doubt.

I've spent weeks trying to improve myself more and more so I could get past this hurdle. But it all comes down to fear of failure.

I feel like I know all the right things. I understand the producer mindset of providing value, I have the motivation & discipline, I understand the necessity of process involving failure again and again. But my mind keeps cycling round and round and making little real progress. And it all comes down to this fear.

And I realise this fear has been with me throughout my product venture. I've been so obsessive about getting things as perfect as possible. I've been obsessing over reading as much as I can. It's simply fear of failure. Whilst this may have worked in my formal education because it fuelled my drive to study hard to avoid failing, it doesn't work that way with entrepreneurship.

I feel pretty lost now. I'm seeking ways to address this fear because I know it will hinder my progress not just throughout entrepreneurship but through life. I can't keep doing the same cycling. It's making me chronically stressed and is damaging my relationships & self.

One path I'm considering is pursuing a job where I will provide value to society. As this would provide me with a foundation I can build on with my FL pursuits. I'm working part time now in a shit job and I feel worthless. I think this has sapped my self belief in combo with my recent hurdle.

I know this path goes against the gung ho 'FL or I die' approach but this might be best for me. I understand and accept now that my mind is my own. For too long I've been trying to emulate others who have achieved success, and this just doesn't compute.

I need to figure out how to get through this for me. There's no point in trying to do what worked for others if it's going to destroy my sanity and relationships in the process. And if that means going against the mainstream preachings of the FL community then I need to accept that. Maybe my process will take longer than others. That's OK.

What's the maximum damage that will happen if you fail?
 

Kevin88660

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I've become very self aware recently about what's going on in my mind. And I've finally realised the root cause of my problems.

Fear of failure. This is immense for me. I've always known I feared failure throughout my formal education, but as I began my first product venture after graduating uni I thought I could brush it off.

Well I've hit my first major hurdle in the process and fear of failure has completely overwhelmed me. It's making me question everything and has created a lot of self doubt.

I've spent weeks trying to improve myself more and more so I could get past this hurdle. But it all comes down to fear of failure.

I feel like I know all the right things. I understand the producer mindset of providing value, I have the motivation & discipline, I understand the necessity of process involving failure again and again. But my mind keeps cycling round and round and making little real progress. And it all comes down to this fear.

And I realise this fear has been with me throughout my product venture. I've been so obsessive about getting things as perfect as possible. I've been obsessing over reading as much as I can. It's simply fear of failure. Whilst this may have worked in my formal education because it fuelled my drive to study hard to avoid failing, it doesn't work that way with entrepreneurship.

I feel pretty lost now. I'm seeking ways to address this fear because I know it will hinder my progress not just throughout entrepreneurship but through life. I can't keep doing the same cycling. It's making me chronically stressed and is damaging my relationships & self.

One path I'm considering is pursuing a job where I will provide value to society. As this would provide me with a foundation I can build on with my FL pursuits. I'm working part time now in a shit job and I feel worthless. I think this has sapped my self belief in combo with my recent hurdle.

I know this path goes against the gung ho 'FL or I die' approach but this might be best for me. I understand and accept now that my mind is my own. For too long I've been trying to emulate others who have achieved success, and this just doesn't compute.

I need to figure out how to get through this for me. There's no point in trying to do what worked for others if it's going to destroy my sanity and relationships in the process. And if that means going against the mainstream preachings of the FL community then I need to accept that. Maybe my process will take longer than others. That's OK.
I never get the idea of “shit-job”.

There is a pay difference but every job teaches you something if you observe.

People love mocking people working in fast food but it’s amazing work productivity and industrial discipline.

Macdonald is the most successful business role model.

If you are running your own hustle the next best thing you can do is work and learn within a successful business.

If you need a full time job to support yourself financially then go for it, other than that a part-time job actually gives you more time to explore your own business options.

You have to be explicit about your exact fear to have a better thought process, for instance: the need to have a presentable job title in a big company to avoid embarrassment in social relationship.
 
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JamesAce

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Here are a few things that have helped me out when I've felt fear of failure.

Keep a small journal on your person at all times
I have a small pocket sized journal with 50 pages in it. I have my vision for my life written on the first page as well as my reasons why I work for them.
Anytime I feel self doubt or begin to focus on BS activities and thinking I open that journal and I get a small jolt of motivation. Enough to pull my focus back into what's important: fulfilling my own personal legend.

Be Act Have
You've read Unscripted so you know MJs idea of identifying first with who you want to be then acting to become this person everyday. In that same journal I mentioned write down who it is you identify as and work daily to become that person. No matter how small those actions are as long as you are persistent something will happen for you.

Remove distractions and demotivators
You said you have a shit job but what do you do after working that shit job? If you watch tv, use social media, jerk off and watch porn, drink too much, smoke too much weed, or any other passive mind numbing activity you need to seriously cut back or completely cut them out of your life. Removing these will cause tension (especially the porn) and you'll feel like you need to do something. Use that energy to better your life. You'll start thinking of how to better your life in other aspects. Fitness, health, sleep, hobbies, etc.

Keep moving
Moving creates energy. Moving make you feel good. Moving creates momentum. Moving strokes creativity.
Motivation + movement = Momentum
You sound like you are at an in-between moment. A place where you are working but cant see progress. A lot of doubt creeps up during this time. Sometimes you got to deviate from your original plans and figure out what's the most productive thing you can do to get you to the next step. Focus on action. Don't compare yourself to anyone else.

Hopefully that helped you or anyone else reading this. We are in this together. Keep the hustle alive.

To your success.
 

Awoken

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Thank you everybody for your supportive messages, it really means a lot to me.

I’m working on ways to reframe my mind’s view of failure, and your advice has helped a lot. Some specific ways that are helping me are simply viewing ‘failure’ as learning xp that I’m banking. And just making most things simpler because I overthink a lot. And I’m seeking coaching.

Also reassessing my current situation. My thoughts:

I’ve been working on a fairly ambitious product launch which involves a custom version of an underexposed product that I believe has potential as a mainstream success.

Because of my FoF, I’ve been approaching this as a perfectionist and envisioning a big success. But I’ve since realised there’s much more to learn in this field, so I need to be fully prepared for learning experiences.

So I’m unsure whether to continue with my current custom product or step back and start smaller with importing generic products I can find a need for. To build some tiny wins and learning xp.

I think the higher investment (higher order quantity needed) for custom products has heightened my fear a lot here as my part time job isn’t sufficient for funding multiple custom product launches. So I’ve felt desperately I have to get this to work. I also feel my fear rising now when I think about simple things like sorting out documents for my company & taxes etc. This is frustrating because I know I’m capable of doing all this, but my mind is fighting me.

This is why I’m considering a full time job. As this would provide me with financial & mental stability so I’m not fully dependent on a product success. Right now I genuinely think focusing on my FL process less will allow me to progress more by stopping this paralysing fear.

The WCCA right now is total flop of the product which would be a fairly significant financial loss for me. Saying that, I’m confident in the product design, just not if there’s a need my premium positioning strategy & price. So I know I could drop sell price to get rid of stock and make some capital back at least. Knowing this is reassuring.

I’m still questioning everything. I look at the world and see producers and consumers. I want to produce value but feel lost and fearful. This creates thoughts saying I should maybe try xyz instead. But I know this is just my mind looking for an easier path.

TLDR: Reset my overthinking. Going to start by going back to very basics, and once confident I’ll move up from there to the next step. Also going to search for a job for mental stability & funding for ventures. And I’m going to prioritise my family & friends & life. I’ve stopped living these past months and it’s destroying my mind. For me, I need to remove the self imposed pressure. As this stops me rushing and removed the immense fear.
 
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Awoken

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I’ve been trying to run before I can walk. And I need to learn to crawl before walking.
 

Awoken

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Spoke to someone in my life that is like a mentor to me. Has really helped bring me clarity.

Here's my current understanding:
  • You only have so much time. 168 hours/week.
  • The first step is deciding what YOU prioritise in YOUR life. This allows you to systematically remove things from your life that don't align with your priorities so you best utilise your weekly 168 hours (e.g social media, porn, sleeping in late, watching too much TV, bad relationships, etc.)
  • There are 2 general approaches to pursuing Process (of a FL road, a hobby, a skill, anything). These are:
    • (1) Relentless shorter term time prioritisation involving major sacrifice of your other time consuming life priorities.
    • (2) Less relentless longer term time prioritisation involving less major sacrifice of your other time consuming life priorities.
  • I chose to approach my Process with method (1) as it accelerates Process progression more than (2), enabling faster success.
  • BUT my self imposed desperation to succeed immediately (caused by external resistance of my status quo & internal Fear of Failure) has corrupted my Process, causing self-sabotage through perfectionism & indecisiveness.
  • This meant I was not respecting the nature of Process. I was trying to run before I could even crawl, let alone walk.
  • Because I didn't recognise these issues & self-sabotaging, I thought becoming even more relentless with my FL road prioritisation was the solution. I did this by isolating myself off from family & friends, stopping doing everything I enjoyed, not sleeping enough, etc.
  • Since I did not address the underlying problems causing my ineffective Process, this resulted in me making minimal Process progression whilst simultaneously degrading my mental health and leading me to where I am now.

What I'm doing to prevent this from happening again + to ensure I approach my FL road Process effectively:
  1. Seeking counselling to address my fear of failure & self imposed pressure (internally/externally sourced).
  2. Searching for job career that will be compatible with pursuing my FL road Process (doesn't consume all my time, funds FL ventures, doesn't drain my soul and make me feel desperate to escape status quo, enables me to reduce external resistance).
  3. Reset my mind with my FL road. Review different road options and unequivocally commit to one, eliminating Shiny Idea Syndrome. Then start from the beginning and build up gradually over time. Commit to daily Process progression. Build up tiny wins to build self confidence & cement identity change.
  4. Incorporate my other life priorities into each week's 168 hours the best I can whilst ensuring daily FL Process progress. Ruthlessly eliminate time liabilities that don't align with my priorities to minimise wasted time and maximise FL road time.

I recognise that this strategy will offer less time than my status quo for my FL Process (working part time in hated job and living at family home). But I believe this is necessary for ME to combat my current mindset deficiencies (Fear of Failure, self imposed pressure, desperation to escape status quo) RIGHT NOW. As if I don't address these, my FL Process will continue to be errant.

Once I have strengthened my mind and addressed my deficiencies, I can reassess my strategy.

Thanks again to all who have offered advice, especially @MJ DeMarco & @The-J as I found yours most valuable!
 

Awoken

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I've always known I felt Fear of Failure, but it never paralysed me like it is now. I've realised that my current problems are due to my Fear of Failure working in combo with my new appreciation for the limited & precious nature of my Time (Life) & a lack of belief in what I'm doing.
  • This is why I hate the idea of wasting my time.
  • This is why my mind is endlessly going in circles to find the 'best' things for me to spend my time on, and then having to repeatedly convince myself when I choose something that it is the 'best'.
  • This is why I'm afraid to fail more than ever before, as my mind views failure as wasted time.
  • This is why I have been so indecisive and perfectionist.
  • This is why I feel fear when I look at the calendar and realise another week has passed without me having achieved success.
  • This is why I feel paralysed to do nothing right now after hitting a hurdle as to avoid doing the 'wrong thing'.
  • This is why I keep returning to thoughts of pursuing a 'good job'.

I need to majorly reframe my mind. Or I'll remain paralysed and not progress at all, which ironically is the real cause of wasting time. I'm confident the counselling I'm arranging will help as I suspect there are underlying things I need to address to get through this.

I see now that I must:
  1. Fully commit to one road that I know will eventually yield the success I want in my life through Process
  2. Cement an unbreakable confidence in this chosen road
  3. Overcome my Fear of Failure to enable me to progress my road Process
  4. Reframe viewing 'failures' as learning in my road Process

Once I have done the above, everything else should fall into place. I won't care about finding a secure & stable 'good job' that is regarded as the most socially prestigious, I'd find the best job for me that enables me to fund & pursue my living expenses & ventures. I'd automatically remove time liabilities from my life. I'd take no notice of my family's resistance to my unconventional road. I'd willingly make sacrifices as I'd have unbreakable confidence that my chosen road Process will provide delayed gratification. I wouldn't fear the passage of time as I'd know success necessitates Process.

So I know where my mind needs to be. I'm not there yet. I'll get there eventually.
 
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Awoken

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Made major mental progress past few days. Won't cover it all as a lot of it is sorting out my own head; not a worthwhile read for you behind this screen. You're time is more valuable than that!

Recap:
Basically I've been working on launching my first physical (custom) product whilst working part time, but my beliefs were deficient. I'd envisioned achieving a big success with my first product that would allow me to detach myself from any job and fully pursue more product ventures. This was combined with a desperation to escape my depressing status quo & my immense underlying Fear of Failure, resulting in self-sabotage & perfectionism. Ultimately, I hit a wall by realising there was way more I needed to learn about sourcing & importing etc., causing a massive Fear of Failure meltdown. This lasted several weeks where I desperately looked to 'fix' what I was doing by reading more and more & digging into my own mind. Finally, I became aware of the core belief deficiencies & Fear of Failure.

Since then:
1) I've cemented my understanding of what devotion to 'the FL' requires:
  • I've been researching possible job paths with my degree so I can make a fully informed decision. The aim was to find a job that enables simultaneous FL road pursuit (doesn't consume all time), is not soul destroying (prevent desperation to escape status quo), offers longevity (resistant against coming AI advancements), and pays as much as possible (best time trade for VVs).
  • My research has found that every job that is conventionally regarded as a 'good job' necessitates higher time & energy & focus commitment than a 'generic job' like working in a store. Also, many would require me to pursue further formal education.
  • This has helped me understand why successful entrepreneurs like DeMarco & Stallone (TMF ref) avoided these 'good jobs'. As it was necessary for them to simultaneously pursue their FL ventures!
  • This presents a major obstacle to overcome for devoting yourself to a FL road, at least for me. I've become aware that my insatiable desire to succeed that I've always had is actually an insatiable craving for feeling important (read about human psychology).
  • I think this is what others refer to as getting past your ego. Or accepting the need for delayed gratification. By accepting that you must avoid a 'good job' in order to optimally pursue your FL road, you are delaying satisfying your feeling important craving until you achieve FL road success (delayed gratification). Whereas if you pursue a 'good job', you are instantly satisfying that craving (instant gratification).
  • The trap seems to be justifying to yourself that you could pursue a 'good job' and still simultaneously pursue your FL road. My mind still produces this thought now. But I'm sure it's a trap. My mind doesn't want the pain of delayed gratification, it wants to satisfy my feeling important craving now.
  • Pursuing a 'good job' will increase your job time & effort beyond that of being able to effectively pursue a FL road. Whilst it will be possible, it will slow down the FL road Process & require greater sacrifices from other aspects of life. And it seems likely 'life will get in the way' here.
2) Process = Long Haul:
  • As mentioned in my recap, I'd erroneously been pursuing my venture with an event-based mindset.
  • Process is being in this for the long haul.
  • Whilst you COULD achieve a big success with your first venture, relying on doing so is a plan of HOPE. Which is akin to relying on the stock market to get rich!
  • From almost all success stories I've studied, they have achieved success through a long Process involving many years. There are very few successes that happen with a quick Process = they are exceptions to the rule.
  • Yes the event of success occurs quickly. But getting there necessitates a long Process involving years of commitment & repeated action.
  • So I've completely eliminated my event-based view of achieving success. And I understand fully the need for devoting myself to the long haul of Process.
3) Growth Mindset & Self Confidence:
  • Before this point, I now see that I had let my self confidence dwindle. This was due to my event-based focus + the fact I hadn't achieved success instantly.
  • Also, I had slipped into a very negative fixed mindset. I had been telling myself things like 'I'm not a people person' and 'I do better in non-social situations'. This was mainly due to my increasing self isolation motivated by desperation to succeed immediately.
  • This is not the case anymore. I began reading about improving my HR skills and it's been amazing. Already I've noticed massive improvements to my relationships with my family, which had become very negative as I had let myself believe I was just bad at socialising.
  • This has regenerated self confidence in myself and has reignited my growth mindset of old.

Collectively, I feel a lot happier now. By accepting all these things, especially the necessity of long haul Process for success, I feel much better with myself and my current absence of success.

My next steps involve:
  1. Fully addressing my underlying Fear of Failure. I've always suffered from this since I was a child, but I know I can overcome it. I'm seeking counselling to help me with this. Must deal with it to prevent further self-sabotage of my Process (prevent event-based mindset).
  2. Accepting the sacrifices of FL devotion. There are many sacrifices here like long & hard work, frugal minimalistic lifestyle, strong financial & lifestyle discipline, not doing things I enjoy as much, etc. But these are all totally fine for me. I've possessed the mindset for 'good job' devotion all my young life, so this essentially translates over to the FL the same. The real obstacles for me are the delayed satisfaction of feeling important + the resistance/friction from family. Right now I think addressing my Fear of Failure will imbue an intense self confidence in myself that will allow me to push past these obstacles. And improving my HR so I can defuse family (lol). And reminding myself that it'll be worth it once I achieve the event of success!
  3. First steps of my Process. My part time work isn't sufficient to support me during my long haul Process (I need to move out my family home), and I can't rely on HOPING that my first product will be a big win. So I've been looking at jobs I could do whilst launching products and gaining xp. But I'm now going to research physical service needs in my local area. A great way to get my Process going would be to grow a physical service biz. Whether I do this or find a compatible job for my product ventures is yet to be seen.
 
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Awoken

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Saw this in another thread. So relatable for me this past week (I'm climbing out the VoD).
Dunning-Kruger-Graph-2-004.jpg
 

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Failure is a failure if you feel that you are a failure. Not if what you did failed. Do you get it?
 

Awoken

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I've realised that besides my Fear of Failure (working on it), my biggest resistor is my family.

I'm very close to my family and they are the most important thing to me in the world. But they are total Sidewalkers.

They have zero understanding of entrepreneurship and just view it as 'risky', they don't understand the limited nature & preciousness of time, they don't understand that you gain VVs by providing value to the world, etc. So everything I'm doing causes conflict with them.

It makes me sad thinking about this. And that's because I know what I need to do, which is basically move out and do my thing and reject everything they're saying.

This is so difficult for me because the main driver for me to succeed is to take care of my family. We've always been poor relative to others. It's just my Mam and my siblings. My Mam had to go without meals when I was a kid and all the other money related issues. I was quite oblivious to this as a kid because my Mam hid it from me and my siblings.

I learnt about it more as I got older, and so did my burning craving to do well so I could take care of her. This drove me to aim for a high paying job, as I thought that was the way to get rich. I've always worked harder than others around me, and I'm only just realising the core reason for it. And I suspect this relates to my deep rooted Fear of Failure.

But in the last couple years, I discovered entrepreneurship and my whole worldview has transformed. I see the glaring weaknesses of the high paying job route, and the vast superiority of the entrepreneurial route. Also, it made me look at my own life and what I actually want from it. I'd been so focused on doing well in a high paying job that I'd never even cared about what I actually wanted. And it turns out the 'high paying' job I'd been pursuing is one I'd totally hate!

Obviously, my transition from SL mindset to FL mindset makes my family think I've gone totally insane and has aroused MUCH friction. Which in turn has heightened my Fear of Failure and has ultimately led to my present mental chaos.

So I know I must escape my family to succeed in entrepreneurship, to escape the immense friction. But taking care of my family is the main reason I crave success. Got me feeling like Kylo Ren lol. Best thing I can think to do is improve my persuasion skills so I can pacify them as best as possible. Ultimately I know achieving wins will be the only way to convince them, and that I'll have to make peace with the fact things might be rocky with them until that point.
i-dont-know-kylo-ren.png
 

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