Fear of Failure Origins

PsycholoGenie Staff Nov 23, 2018
The fear of failure can mushroom from many sources but it is usually an enemy we have to fight at one point or another in our lives. Know what experts have to say about it.
Some psychology experts, in their explanations regarding the phenomenon of neurosis, made reference to Kafka's "The Trial". In this novel, Kafka introduces the theme of existence's absurdity. In short, in this novel we are presented with a character who asks the guardian of the law to let him enter.
The guardian tells him that this thing was possible, but not at that moment. He also said to the protagonist that if he really wanted to go in, he should go in without caring for his presence inside, to ignore him. But that he should also remember that he is strong. So the man sat down on a chair and began waiting for permission to go in.
Tens of years thus went by. On his death bed, he asked the guardian why no one else wanted to go in apart from him. So the guardian replied that the man was the only one expected to come in, and that he could now shut the gate.
Many of us can recognize ourselves in this character that condemns himself to stay with his own life. Desire supposes confronting ourselves with the risk of being refused. For some people, the very first life experiences are so painful that they go for a passive attitude waiting for someone else to give them the possibility to exist.
There is nothing more damaging to one's self-esteem and self-trust than infantilizing parents, who are incapable of giving to the child the illusion of the power to control something. Martin Seligman, one of the founders of positive psychology, elaborated the theory of the so-called learned incapacity.
What these parents had in common, the psychologist noticed, was that they all believed they had practically no power to act on their own destiny, and nothing could get them out of this mentality.
The American psychiatrist named Irvin Yalom said that in order for us to decide on something, we have to give up on something else. And we also need to realize that we are the only ones who can act on our own life, we are the ones to decide and have to take up this hard responsibility.
In this respect, neurotic people sort of refuse to take up this responsibility, that of assuming their own life and remain some dependent kids deep down inside.
The psychoanalyst Jacques Arènes concludes after having listened to his patients that the foremost powerful obstacle for someone's self-accomplishment is the fear of failure. And this fear usually manifests itself in negative judgments such as: "I am not good enough, I'm too stupid, it's futile, it's not my style or type", and other such assertions.
In order to get rid of the fear of failure we must also rid ourselves of any fixed idea for instance, considering that we would only be happy when we meet the perfect partner or when we get the perfect job, when we have the perfect house and become perfect parents and friends, so on and so forth.
The thought that we will one day achieve these perfect things makes us inactive, especially if they are fed by those close to us.
Arènes stresses the idea that even if we are the makers of our own destiny, that we choose our path in life, there is heavy load put on us by the entourage. It's very hard to keep on trusting yourself when no one else around trusts you, or when you come from a family of anxious people.
And among the most frequent causes of fear of being a failure and lack of self-accomplishment we can include the difficulty in finding out what we were born for. In this respect, Jacques Lacan says that we were programmed to mistake our own desires with other people's desires.
We tend to absorb our parents' expectations who want to live through us what they couldn't live themselves. Because of that, many children take on these desires and ignore their very own and end up complaining about a never-leaving sensation of inner void.
The inner void is however present in all people who do not truly know God personally, even if they are doing what they've always dreamed to do. The Christian perspective puts it this way, actually Jesus Christ the Son of God said that knowing God equals eternal life; life from abundance can only exist at its fullest capacity through its Creator.
The psychologist Abraham Maslow states that before getting into a self-development process we must first try to see how we can get rid of the negativity in ourselves.
Making the parallel to God's words that say that we are to renew our mind and thinking with His live giving principles it is obvious that we have to give up the old patterns, however, God provides the power and motivation enabling us to live at maximum parameters.