The Entrepreneur Forum | Startups | Entrepreneurship | Starting a Business | Motivation | Success

RANT You're Not Afraid Of Failure... This Is What You're Really Afraid Of!

Remove ads while supporting the Unscripted philosophy...become an INSIDER.

The-J

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Aug 28, 2011
3,593
8,512
1,966
Ontario
What I’m afraid of isn’t failure. I don’t fear failure. I’ve failed lots, ever since I was a baby. The failure itself is almost never fatal, and if it were, you wouldn't know it anyway.

What I fear is an emotional state of insufficiency. It’s a painful state. It's pain that I fear.

I'm afraid of the pain of failure.

I have a feeling that this is the same for everyone.

When I asked my parents for something and got told ‘no’ (which was the case a lot of the time), I’d feel bad. I’d feel a combination of things. I’d feel like I overstepped some line and was now being punished for it. I’d feel sad that I didn’t get what I wanted. I’d feel like I failed at achieving something.

And I hated that feeling. Eventually I stopped asking. Had nothing to do with my parents: they always had a good reason for saying ‘no’. I wanted an electric skateboard. Of course that’s gonna be a no!

It had everything to do with the negative affect that came after hearing ‘no’. (Affect = emotion, by the way; it’s a psychological term. Pronounced “AFF-ect” like “AFF-leck”.)

Nobody likes to lose. When I competed in most things, I would typically lose. When I was on a sports team, that sports team lost more often than they won. I had little interest in sports and little physical ability at the time. So, my team typically lost. And it was ME that they’d get mad at, because it was ME that would make the mistake.

Of course I’d feel bad. So, I learned to avoid sports and all physical activity. It wasn’t until I got into combat sports (a non-team sport where the objective was simple: hit the other guy more than he hits you) that physical activity started to become part of my world again. And even so, I hated getting my a$$ kicked.

So I wouldn’t compete in anything, because competition meant losing and losing meant negative affect.

I’m not afraid to compete. I enjoy the thrill of competition. Who doesn’t? And I enjoy winning. But man, do I hate losing. Even though I became steeled to the reality of losing doesn’t mean that it hurt any less.

Fear is the anticipation of negative affect, and the actions that are taken are one of three: fight, flight, or freeze. Honestly, for me, it should be reordered: freeze, flight, or fight; because that’s how I would prioritize. If I can’t freeze, I run. If I can’t run, I fight. But fighting is the last resort, because that’s where the greatest perceived risk is. (This isn’t grounded in reality, by the way)

I learned to associate asking for things, and competition, with pain. And when you associate anything with pain, you avoid it in order to prevent being afraid.

So I wouldn’t ask for anything. I wouldn’t ask people for favors. I wouldn’t ask girls out on dates. I wouldn’t ask my parents to borrow the car. I wouldn’t ask for job applications. I wouldn’t ask for extensions on my homework.

I also would avoid competition, even if it was friendly. I would agree to play so long as we didn’t keep score. I would play games I was good at, and ideally only with people who were evenly matched so I won some percentage of the time.

It turns out, though, that asking for things and competing against others is part of life. Not just business success, but life.

Here’s the reality. To get what you want, you either have to ask for it, or win it. Nobody is just going to give it to you… not unless you ask for it, or earn it.

For me, though, I just got used to not getting what I wanted because not having and accepting it was better than feeling bad for not getting.


It turns out that this is actually a normal phenomenon that presents itself in everyone somehow.

Prospect theory (Tversky and Kahneman) essentially states that the prospect of loss is more painful than the prospect of gain of an equal amount. It’s more painful to lose $10 than it is positive to gain $10.

Similarly, people are less joyed by getting $10 that they feel they’re owed than they are from getting an unexpected $10. The real situations are the same: they had $0 and now they have $10. But the feeling is very different.

For me, I had associated negative affect with asking for stuff, since my memory remembers the “nos” more than the “yeses”. This too, is normal, as our memories highlight experiences that are either particularly painful or particularly pleasant. Getting a “yes” was not particularly pleasant, whereas getting a “no” was particularly painful.

What’s funny is that I probably wouldn’t be much different if I always got what I wanted. I’d probably be worse off. However, if I knew why I got a “no” and could do something to turn the “no” into a “yes”, asking for things would be less painful.

Similarly for competition. I had no idea why I was bad at sports. I just assumed that it was because I was small and weak compared to the other kids. This might even be true. I just knew that competing was a painful experience. But, if I knew that I could train to get better and possibly win next time, competition would be less painful.

For some reason, I didn’t learn those lessons until late in life.

As a result, I have had to unlearn both of those associations. I’ve done this by simply asking for things and engaging in competition, primarily in college. I would focus on the positives, on purpose. By focusing my attention on the joy of competing and the challenge of the ask, I have been unlearning these associations slowly over time.

But man, is it hard.

Here’s the thing though… it’s POSSIBLE. Like, wow. I do a LOT of sales in my line of work. I have to sit on the phone and convince people to give me thousands of dollars even though they don’t know me.

If 16 year old me knew that 26 year old me was SUCCESSFUL at asking people to give up money in exchange for something that I have in abundance, he probably wouldn’t believe me. He feared sales, because sales was about the ask. Shit, 22 year old me feared sales.

What’s more is that I have to compete against other people, smarter people, people with more successes than me, who are asking the same people to do the exact same thing. And I have to win. Like, wow. Competition is part of my reality.

And sometimes I forget that… until it’s time for me to try something new.

If I have to ask for a different sale, or compete against a different type of person, it becomes scary again and I start to retreat.

But, it’s up to me to focus my attention on the positive affect. To get joy out of playing the game. Because it’s better to play than to not play. It really is. Trust me.

I just wrote this out of a random thought and I hope people find it valuable.
 

Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe.

Primeperiwinkle

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Nov 30, 2018
1,164
3,430
758
I was JUST talking about this with a bunch of my friends over the last few days.

The Ask is extremely difficult because it puts one in a vulnerable state, waiting. But if your self-esteem is not dependent on the answer then asking isn’t painful. That’s why it’s so important to have a self-esteem that is solidly based on multiple truths not just whether someone accepts or rejects you.

If your ego isn’t over inflated then there’s less potential to be hurt and deflated by someone’s response to your vulnerability - your question.

This is as true in sales as it is in getting a date or in getting advice. Asking is the first step.

This is incredibly poignant to me. I rarely ask for things. I assume the sale or walk away. I bring up topics and hope people will share their wisdom. I don’t like asking for much.

But if we don’t humble ourselves enough to ask for help, for a sale, for permission, for possibility - we limit ourselves.
 

Blackman

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Dec 28, 2018
60
71
115
London, UK
That feeling of asking and not getting it is definitely discouraging...

Can relate to this myself, as I recently started cold-calling businesses for securing client work and being regularly rejected, even if it's over the phone, can demotivate a lot.

Especially, if you are not a salesy/marketing type of guy and not into talking, it can be quite hard to learn to accept rejection and keep trying until it clicks.

I guess it all comes down to how bad you really want it, so if you know that it needs to be done, then just grow a thicker skin and plough on.

Snowflakes can't run businesses.
 
OP
OP
The-J

The-J

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Aug 28, 2011
3,593
8,512
1,966
Ontario
I was JUST talking about this with a bunch of my friends over the last few days.

The Ask is extremely difficult because it puts one in a vulnerable state, waiting. But if your self-esteem is not dependent on the answer then asking isn’t painful. That’s why it’s so important to have a self-esteem that is solidly based on multiple truths not just whether someone accepts or rejects you.

If your ego isn’t over inflated then there’s less potential to be hurt and deflated by someone’s response to your vulnerability - your question.

This is as true in sales as it is in getting a date or in getting advice. Asking is the first step.

This is incredibly poignant to me. I rarely ask for things. I assume the sale or walk away. I bring up topics and hope people will share their wisdom. I don’t like asking for much.

But if we don’t humble ourselves enough to ask for help, for a sale, for permission, for possibility - we limit ourselves.
Yup. The pain came from an ego being kicked in the teeth. I literally felt less.

Now, I hear no quite a lot and even though it doesn't hurt any less, that's not where my attention is. My attention is on the present moment: what I am doing now to move forward. Hearing no still sucks and it's still enough to churn my stomach despite having racked up an impressive number of no's. But I'm not thinking about the churned stomach, I'm thinking about what I'm doing to get the next one.

The key point is that successful people don't focus on the pain, or the FOMO, or the disintegrated ego. They focus on what they need to do to move forward.
 

Primeperiwinkle

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Nov 30, 2018
1,164
3,430
758
The key point is that successful people don't focus on the pain, or the FOMO, or the disintegrated ego. They focus on what they need to do to move forward.
Yea, leaders go from A to B. I would argue that individuals who haven’t learned how to process their pain in healthy ways are setting themselves up for failure though. Also ppl who don’t have any concept of principles to base their identity on are 95% ego and 5% solid. They have a lot more to “disintegrate” when they’re zapped.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Roz

Einfamilienhaus

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Feb 8, 2019
98
237
150
If you compete with others you have to choose the battlefield you can win and know the battlefield you have to avoid. This is what makes a great leader all about or in business life: This is what makes a competition successful.

Maybe team sports weren't yours because the success depends on the skill of the whole team and you also didn't like combat sports because others were stronger. Now after a few years, you can maybe afford your own football team and you can also hire bodyguards who get their hands dirty. Life can be pretty simple if you understand your weaknesses.

A leader who knows about himself and the strengths of his competitors will succeed in every battle.
A leader who knows about himself but doesn't know anything about the strengths of his competitors can win the battle.

A leader who doesn't know about himself and about the strengths of his competitors is lost in every battle.
 

Create an account or login to comment

You must be a member in order to leave a comment

Create account

Create an account on our community. It's easy!

Log in

Already have an account? Log in here.

Sponsored Offers

  • Sticky
MARKETPLACE Lex DeVille's - Advanced Freelance Udemy Courses!
APRIL IS LETHAL AND HERE'S YOUR COURSE PROMOS! Get any of my Udemy courses on sale at Udemy's...
  • Sticky
MARKETPLACE You Are One Call Away From Living Your Dream Life - LightHouse’s Accountability Program ⚡
Here is where you eliminate uncertainty from the future! I wanted to post this image as I...
  • Sticky
MARKETPLACE KAK’s “Kill Bigger” Incubation Program- With DAILY personal attention.
Hey Guys! I wanted to give a quick update on what this program has become. In its infancy, we...


Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe to become an INSIDER.

Fastlane Insiders

View the forum AD FREE.
Private, unindexed content
Detailed process/execution threads
Monthly conference calls with doers
Ideas needing execution, more!

Join Fastlane Insiders.

Top Bottom
AdBlock Detected - Please Disable

Yes, ads can be annoying. But please...

...to support the Unscripted/Fastlane mission (and to respect the immense amount of time needed to manage this forum) please DISABLE your ad-block. Thank you.

I've Disabled AdBlock