What is Fear of Failure?

There are “real” fears, and there are imagined fears that manifest themselves in reality. To be able to distinguish the two is what I’m about to explain. So are you ready to jump in, or are you fearful of failure?

Power Tends to Corrupt and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

The above is a quote from Lord Acton and means the more power that is gained, the more immoral the person becomes. Implying that once power has been won, the seed of immorality has been born.

What is the Fear of Failure?

It brings to mind a film I watched back in 2000 called “Gladiator”. Written by David Franzoni and Directed by Ridley Scott. In a scene with Russel Crowe (Maximus) and Joaquin Phoenix (Commodus). Commodus says to Maximus (just before they fight in the Arena) “Do you think I’m afraid”, and Maximus replies: “You’ve been afraid all your life.”


Keep in mind that Commodus is the Caesar of the Roman empire, and has been “afraid all his life”. It paints a whole new perspective on power and morality, and fear mixed with immorality.

The quote should read: Fear Tends to Corrupt and Absolute Fear Corrupts Absolutely

People who know no fear are powerful compared to the weak, who fear and despise what they aspire to and believe they can never “BE.” (Commodus “being” a vulnerable person in a commanding position)


False Evidence Appearing Real

Some folk say fear is an innate human condition. I beg to differ and would say to them, “survival” is the name of the game. Fear is a reaction to a “real” threat to one’s life. The “idea” of fear comes from many sources during the process of living your life. The fear of being uncomfortable is quite a useful “generalisation” to encompass most of life’s limiting behaviour.

What is Failure?

Failure is an idea introduced to us through our culture. And it encapsulates many forms, all of them being uncomfortable. If you keep in mind that fear (in today’s world) is just a representation of a past “anchor“.

EG; Imagine being in a situation where something happens that causes immense emotional trauma. The trauma will act as an anchor to “RE-present” a similar re-action in the future. It’s why you cry when you watch a “sad” film. Your brain will find similarities to the event in the past and bring it forward to the “pre-sent”. And because it happens so fast, you’ll think it’s because it’s a sad film. You’ll discuss it with your friends, who will all agree. Which, in turn, creates a group of people who feel more in tune with one another, and deepens their friendship.

Imagine these events carrying on for decades of your life. It’s no wonder we think we know “who” we are.

Lightbulb Moment

Many people (including yours truly) have faced their fears and afterwards, wondered why they feared the situations in the first place. The actual “event” and the imagined event are very far apart. But you’ll only ever realise this if you take action.


The fear of a situation is never how it will unfold. And all the planning in the world will never go as planned. Life and its journey are multi-faceted, so it’s always best to keep doing and learning (repeat and rinse).

Before you know it a year has gone by, and you will have reached your goals, or your inaction has taken you “nowhere”. Reminds me of a song by John Lennon and Paul McCartney  “Nowhere Man“.

Meaning Making Machines

The main distinction between animals and humans is your ability to think about your thinking (philosophise). This speciality enables you to conceptualise an idea and then manifest it into reality. For instance, when you write out your thoughts on paper. The thoughts are at first in the ether, and then you make them visible with symbology, (letters and words).

These meanings aren’t innately truth nor fiction. But as a society, we make them so with our acceptance and agreement.

You have the choice whether to accept someone else’s “meanings“, or make them up for yourself.

When you understand what I’m explaining here (and it will take time and patience), you’ll realise that most of your fears are imagined, and because you “believe” them, they become real.

If you search the internet and look at all the different cultures that have existed, and exist at present. You’ll know there are many meanings and traditions. And most of the people in those cultures “believe” their world views. So, in essence, if you were born into any of the multitudes of cultures around the world. Your “meanings” would coincide depending on the particular traditions of that tribe of people.

No Fear

And the same applies to learnt fears. The fear of bubblegum seems silly to most. But to the person involved, it is authentic. I’m using this as an example to show you that if most people all had the same fear. It would no longer be silly. And this is the same thing we learn as a society when we’re asked to stand up in front of ten thousand of our peers. We’ve all agreed that it’s f”$king daunting to even think about that scenario.

Research the great orators of our time and wonder how they became so good. I can guarantee they didn’t fall out of their mother’s womb being that good. It took patience and practise.

Now for the “RUB”

What is failure? Here’s the best meaning for that idea: The refusal to keep moving forward. (That’s my definition BTW).

So to have failure fears is to be afraid of advancement. The best way to overcome old patterns of behaviour is to replace them with new ones, over and over again.

Inaction is the ability to stand still, and most people have practised this habit for years. And if you’re still reading this article, you now know how to redefine your meanings. You’ve been doing it anyway (but unconsciously). Now is the time to take control and keep moving forward!

And don’t forget to leave your thoughts, take action and make them real.


All the Best


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6 thoughts on “What is Fear of Failure?”

  1. Fear can be frustrating, and fear is only in the mind. A lot of people are subjugated with fear. They live in a world of torment because they believe something which is not real, and they suffer even more because they could not help themselves from thinking about something that is non-existent. Many cases like these if not resolved, may end up in extreme manic depression even psychotic episodes. Fear is a lack of peace, overacting stress, and worries. Breathe, smile, pray or meditate, exercise, take time to slow down, get a support system, a friend or family member/s. Nurturing oneself is important. Learn to destroy fear by facing it and knowing that it is not valid; most of the time, they are just in the mind.

  2. Hello Dedo,

    Thanks for treating this sensitive topic in an exact and more comfortable to comprehend manner. I love this post and will share it out to my social platforms.

    Fear is terrible, and fear of failure is worst because it keeps one from taking that bold step that may lead to success but out of the preconceived mindset towards failure, one will find it very difficult to attempt because all that showcases spells doom. It is just a trick played on our heart by the fear. This post is great. 

    • Hi Darrick,

      Nice to see you again, and I’m so happy you found some value in this post (especially on “as you state”, such a sensitive subject). And of course, I’m always grateful when people share my ideas,(word of mouth is “IMO”, the best form of advertising).

      I agree with your sentiments, that fear in all its guises limits people from all walks of life. And it’s so special to be able to show folk a different way forward. Thanks again for your comments.



  3. I have had my battles with fear, and the information that you have presented is fantastic. I think that Caesar was an amazing person, and the quote you used is true. What is Fear? “False Evidence Appearing Real“. It is so true, and It is truly amazing what we as humans fear. After we face our fears, we do what you say. We say why did we fear it in the first place. So True Thank you

    • Hi Trevor,

      Thanks so much for stopping by. 

      One of the reasons I wrote this post is to help people who struggle with “ideas” that are detrimental to their success…

      And the most damaging concept is that of “FEAR”. It’s an idea that is rife through society and limits peoples true potential.

      Learned helplessness is another big one, which I will address in a future article. So make sure you come back and build on your already extensive knowledge.

      “Knowledge is Power”




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