Atychiphobia – Fear of Failure: How to Overcome It?

Atychiphobia, also known as ‘fear of failure’ refers to when you’re unsatisfied with your existing situation, but you’re too scared of the alternatives to make a big change. You are more comfortable with the way things are than with the uncertainty of what could happen or what might go wrong.

woman experiencing fear - Atychiphobia
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Why is it that our lives rarely change, even when we’re miserable?

Many people have their first experience of feeling lost in life when they are in their mid/late 20s and early 30s. But the thing is that few of them actually do something about it.

We’re great at procrastinating and making up excuses for why we can’t get things done, but the fact is that procrastination is a manifestation of our fears.

Read more: How To Find Your Way When You’re Feeling Lost In Life

Atychiphobia meaning

Verywellmind.com describes Atychiphobia, as an irrational and persistent fear of failing. It is a phobia that causes people to avoid attempting any task that isn’t certain to succeed. While your comfort zone may feel safe and comfortable, the dread of failure may be paralyzing.

While it’s natural to be afraid of any situation that forces you out of your comfort zone, if you have extreme fear, such as being so afraid of failing at something that you can’t bring yourself to do it in the first place, you may have Atychiphobia.

Atychiphobia symptoms

According to Healthline, some physical symptoms could be like:

  • difficulty breathing
  • unusually fast heart rate
  • tightness or pain in your chest
  • trembling or shaking sensations
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • digestive distress
  • hot or cold flashes
  • sweating.

Whilst the following are examples of emotional symptoms:

  • Anxiety or panic attack
  • a strong desire to get out of the situation that causes the fear
  • disconnection from oneself
  • having the feeling that you’ve lost control of a situation
  • You’re afraid you’re going to die or pass out
  • Feeling helpless in the face of your fears.

Any ‘failure’ has external contributors that are beyond your direct control.

Is Atychiphobia serious?

Fear of failure could hold you back and prevent you from growing as a person. You may fail to advance in life if you do nothing and resist going forward out of fear of failing. This means you might lose out on incredible chances and experiences in business, life, and love as a result. 

In some extreme cases, seeking medical advice or engaging in therapy with someone who specializes in dealing with phobias, particularly anxiety treatment, may be beneficial in order to avoid further mental health issues. 

How to deal with Atychiphobia – How to Overcome It?

Fear of failure can be caused by a variety of factors. As it was in my case it might be a fear of being judged or criticized. It might also be a fear of disappointing your loved ones.

Unfortunately, if it reaches an extreme level, fear may prevent you from reaching your full potential.

afraid of failing
Photo by Alex Green from Pexels

These are some of the concepts I keep in mind when I’m trying to accomplish something and my fear of failure kicks in. Try to keep them in mind; they may set you free:

1. Failure isn’t always about you

The first thing you should realize is that ‘failure’ isn’t always due to your own fault. You can’t absorb all of your unpleasant experiences and blame them completely on yourself. Consider what you’ve actually contributed to the issue. There are many external factors that are beyond your control, and blaming yourself is both silly and unhelpful.

For example, if your new business has not yet generated a profit, ignoring the impact that the economy may have on your new business is not realistic. If you were in a long-distance relationship that ended, you should not dismiss the impact distance had on your relationship. Any failure has external contributors that are beyond your direct control.

2. It’s nothing more than a mental construct

Is there a fear of failure in a young child? Obviously not. This concept is completely foreign to babies, toddlers, and even children. That is a good thing because if we had been instilled with the fear of failure at a young age, none of us would have learned to walk, talk, or do anything else!

So, this means that during our childhood and life, things happened that made us fear failure. This could have been because of our parents punishing us if we failed an exam or maybe by witnessing others being punished for failing to do a task. 

In any case, the important thing to remember moving forward is that fear of failure (or any other fear) is only an idea or belief that we hold.

What you can do is instead of seeing it as a ‘failure’, learn to appreciate the process of learning. What can you learn from it? How can you do it better? Make learning your priority rather than completing a specific task.

3. There are only results

Finding out what works is one of the best ways to figure out what doesn’t.

We can learn what works and what doesn’t by putting new ideas to the test.

Every attempt teaches you something, regardless of whether it is successful or not. It’s only a matter of using what you’ve learned and come up with a better solution on your next attempt.

It’s important to understand that regardless of what happens, how you respond (your attitude) and perceive a situation is ALWAYS your decision. How you deal with life’s situations ultimately determines the quality of your life. 

every failure is a step to success
Every Failure is a Step to Success

4. Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve

What does it mean to you to be successful? Fear of failure can sometimes be confused with a fear of failing to meet other people’s expectations. However, their idea of success may differ from yours.

So, forget about what others might think and concentrate on what you want to achieve. It’s your life, after all. Select your own definition of success.

5. Consider how you’ll feel if you never give it a go

The agony of remaining on the sidelines can sometimes outweigh the fear of failure.

  • What will you feel like in the future if you don’t give it your all right now?
  • What would your life be like if you never took a chance on achieving your goal?
  • Would you wish you could go back in time and change something?

The things that most elders regret are the things they never tried, rather than the things they failed at.

you need to plan ahead to avoid failure

6. Consider the worst-case scenario

What do you think the worst-case scenario would be if you fail? Could you handle it? What type of backup plans can you make?

If you’re prepared for the worst, there’s no need to be frightened of failing.

7. Break it down

It is easy to become overwhelmed when we focus on the entire task or goal. We’re also more likely to give up. So try to break it down into smaller tasks.

Breaking down challenging activities into manageable parts might help you feel more in control. Focusing on areas of success that you have control over can also assist you in making wise decisions and taking effective activities to position yourself for success.

8. Focus on what you can control

Rather than stressing about aspects of the circumstance over which you have no control, concentrate your efforts on the things you can control. A lot of our anxiety comes from things we can’t control. But why worry about something you have no control over?

In actual fact when we’re putting our focus and attention on what we have no control over, what we are really doing is deflecting our energy and attention away from what we can actually control.

That’s where the problem arises. Focusing on what we can’t change makes us less productive and may lead to the results we most dread.

So, the more time and energy we spend on things we don’t have control over, the less time and energy we have to spend on things we can actually change.

9. Talk to a health professional

If necessary speak to someone. You’d be surprised how much it will help you to share your fears. As an outsider with expertise and experience, they would be able to guide you to overcome your fears. 

Quotes about fear of failure 

  1. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison
  2. “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
  3. “You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky
  4. “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy
  5. “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.” – Henry Ford
  6. “I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustrations were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.” – Tony Robbins
  7. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison
  8. “Forget about the consequences of failure. Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success.” – Denis Waitley
  9. “Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” – Coco Chanel
  10. “No man ever achieved worth-while success who did not, at one time or other, find himself with at least one foot hanging well over the brink of failure.” – Napoleon Hill
No more fear
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Final thoughts

To maximize the chance of success, you must reduce your fear of failure – Atychiphobia. At some point, you must make the decision to take the risk despite your fears. Even if you’re still a little frightened, you must persevere.

Dealing with discomfort is a necessary part of success. 

You’ll never feel ready.

I’ll leave you with this. Try to remember this the next time you want to do something but are held back by fear:

Consider all of the failures and bad experiences you’ve had in your life. If you think hard enough, you will realize that they all enlightened you and gave you more strength in some way.

You may not have realized it at the time, but they did make you stronger in some ways.

Life will throw you difficult and frightening challenges, but it is only through these experiences that you will learn who you are, what your values are, and how you want to grow.

So, from now on, try to understand that even if it appears to be a failure at the time, it is actually assisting you in progressing. Just keep going, and you’ll realize how far you’ve come one day.

The above-mentioned suggestions will assist you in overcoming your fear of failure. I can guarantee you that your life will be enriched in many positive ways.

Read more: Accepting challenges will make you stronger and successful in life

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