Guest Post By: Brian Tracy
The Greatest Obstacle to Success
The fear of failure is the single greatest obstacle to success in adult life. Taken to its extreme, we become totally pre-occupied with not making a mistake, with seeking for security above all other considerations. The experience of the fear of failure is in the words of “I can’t”, “I can’t.” We feel it in the front of the body, starting at the solar plexus and moving up to the rapid beating of the heart, rapid breathing and a tight throat. We also experience this fear in the bladder and in the irresistible need to run to the bathroom.
The Fear of Rejection Holds You Back
The second major fear that interferes with performance and inhibits expression, is the fear of rejection. We learn this when our parents make their love conditional upon our behavior. If we do what pleases them, they give us love and approval. If we do something they don’t like, they withdraw their love and approval — which we interpret as rejection.
The Roots of Type A Behavior
As adults, people raised with conditional love become preoccupied with the opinions of others. Many men develop Type A behavior which is characterized by hostility, suspicion and an obsession with performance to some undetermined high standard. This is expressed in the attitude of “I have to,” I have to,” and is associated with the feeling that “I have to work harder and accomplish more in order to please the boss” who has become a surrogate parent.
The Most Common Trap
More than 99 percent of adults experience both these fears of failure and rejection. They are caught in the trap of feeling, “I can’t,” but “I have to,” “I have to,” but “I can’t.”
The Key to Peak Performance
The antidote to these fears is the development of courage, character and self-esteem. The opposite of fear is actually love, self-love and self-respect. Acting with courage in a fearful situation is simply a technique that boosts our regard for ourselves to such a degree that our fears subside and lose their ability to effect our behavior and our decisions.
Here are two things you can do to increase your self-esteem and self-confidence and overcome your fears.
First, realize and accept that you can do anything you put your mind to. Repeat the words, “I can do it! I can do it!” whenever you feel afraid for any reason.
Second, continually think of yourself as a valuable and important person and remember that temporary failure is the way you learn how to succeed.