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Personal growth and the fear of failure paradigm May 6, 2014

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Concept of personal development, Fear and Anxiety.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Paradoxically, one of the main reasons we may feel the need to start a program of personal growth and development can also be a factor in why we find it difficult to make progress.

Namely, fear of failure.

We are afraid or anxious about trying new approaches to solving life-situation problems because we fear that we might not be as successful as we need to be in our efforts. And so, we may turn to the concept of personal growth for help.

And yet, even though we intellectually see the need in our lives for a systematic approach to self-improvement, on an emotional level we avoid making the full commitment to our program in the fear that it might not turn out well.

Much has been written about how we can reduce or eliminate fear of failure in our lives.

However, it’s difficult to “will” a strong emotion, such as anxiety or fear out of our minds.

Perhaps what we need to do is recognize our anxiety, understand the fear of failure motivating it, and then do what we need to do regardless of, or in spite of, our anxiety.

At the same time, it could also be productive to make an effort to anticipate positive outcomes in our minds with the challenges we are facing.

Seth Godin succinctly describes the paradigm of fear and success in relation to completing or shipping personal projects:

“I define non-clinical anxiety as, ‘experiencing failure in advance.’ If you’re busy enacting a future that hasn’t happened yet, and amplifying the worst possible outcomes, it’s no wonder it’s difficult to ship that work.” (1)

As we continue to work on our program, and start to accomplish goals in spite of our fears, we may well become more confident in our ability to make continued progress in our overall personal growth.

(1) You can read more from Seth Godin on his blog at the following URL:



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