How to Fail (Take Your Pick from 45 Great Options)

Fear is sneaky. Fear will do just about anything to keep you from risking and stepping out into the vulnerable places where your best work can be done.

One of the many tricks that fear will use is to tell you that you are going fail, no matter what. Your imagination will go wild with possible ways to fail:

  • No one will care.
  • You’ll go broke.
  • Everyone will leave you.
  • Your family will stop talking to you.
  • Your friends will replace you.
  • People will laugh.
  • No one will understand.
  • What will people think?
  • They’ll say, "Who does she think she is?"
  • Or "He’s not allowed to do that!"
  • Or dismiss you with a "What a ___________"
  • You’ll get fired.
  • You’ll be criticized.
  • You won’t say it right.
  • You’ll have too many typos.
  • You’ll use the wrong words.
  • You’ll sound silly.
  • You’ll be out of tune.
  • You’ll be out of touch.
  • You’ll make so-and-so feel ashamed.
  • No one will buy it.
  • No one will fund it.
  • No one will listen to it.
  • No one will watch it.
  • No one will use it.
  • No one will look at it.
  • No one will read it.
  • No one will hear it.
  • No one will believe in it.
  • No one will support it.
  • No one will stand for it.
  • No one will like it.
  • No one will let you.
  • No one will join you.
  • No one will stay.
  • You don’t have enough education.
  • You don’t have enough clout.
  • You don’t know the right people.
  • You won’t get in.
  • It won’t be good enough.
  • It won’t be creative enough.
  • It won’t be thorough enough.
  • It won’t be complete enough.
  • You can’t do it.
  • It won’t work.

Some of these may happen. Most of them would never would. And even if many of them came about, you’re more resilient than you’d expect.

In the face of these difficult and fantastical stories, it’s easy to do nothing and let fear win. It’s easy to choose not to act.

You choose to doubt yourself, your desires, your creative vision, your work, and give yourself lots of good reasons not to risk.

Or you can face the fear, take the risk, and make something truly remarkable.

It’s up to you.

In the comments, add your own versions of these stories. What are the fears you hear the most?

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3 Comments

  1. Falicia May 12, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    I am a young nurse, 22 years old, when I first started I first started I was 20. I had a really difficult time dealing with depression and anxiety that was really brought out by starting my career and working 3rd shift didn’t help things. I always second and triple guessed myself, it was miserable during that point. I finally began to get used to my work and grew in confidence. I recently applied for a different position within the hospital as a post-partum and nursery nurse. And that fear welled up again, what if I wasn’t qualified? What if, what if, what if… finally I made the decision to let go and let God. It’s been a relief! And I got the job despite myself and my thoughts. I have truly learned that I can be my own worst enemy just as much as I can be my own cheerleader…it’s just about deciding whether or not I want to be happy. I’m going with happy

    Reply
    1. Dan Cumberland May 12, 2015 at 2:06 pm

      Wow. What a big change and bold move! Well done. Thanks for sharing, Falicia!

      Reply
  2. Pingback: Dan Cumberland: Something Is Better Than Nothing | GenYAlive

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