Why do we fear failure?

Outside of my working life I am on a long and continuing journey to better health and fitness. As part of this I have had a personal trainer. In one of our sessions he asked me why I was afraid to fail. This made me start to think about my working life as well as training and whether there were differences.

Firstly I wanted to describe my attitude to failure.

Where there is something that I am capable of doing, and there is no reason I should not be able to do it then I am loathe to fail. In my head that is not failure that is not being able to complete something of which I am able and competent to.

Where it is something new, or a slightly different take on something I am comfortable and competent with then I am happy to fail. Failure in this context is part of learning. It is a rare person who can take to something new and complete it successfully first attempt.

This then led me to think what actually is the difference between the two?

Is it my attitude to it, or my perception of other peoples interpretation of my failure. Herein lays the root of my issues with failure.

I value the lessons that are gained by failure, and how that leads me to improve my skills, attitude and approach. However I do not wish for this to be overly public and noticeable.

In taking this approach am I then not just perpetuating the fear of failure in others?

If I were to fail, learn the lessons, move on and let this been seen by colleagues and other contacts then the fear of failing will be lessened and the successes that follow more widely attributed to the failures that caused the changes in behaviour or new approaches.

A second valuable reminder was that questions come to us at all time and from different aspects of life and we should be open to them and apply them to all aspects of our personal and work lives to gain the most value and benefit from them.

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