Stop Letting the Fear of Failure Keep You from Achieving Success

fear of failure

Many people have overcome the fear of failure – So can you!

“Forget about the consequences of failure. Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success.” Denis Waitley

If you’re like most people you have memories of failure, on a test, in a competition, in a relationship, whatever. Sometimes those memories are so strong that they still hurt. If they do, those feelings can make the thought of failing again frightening, leading to a fear of failure.

Failure is a Mindset not an Event

Some people are so afraid of failing that they refuse to try. That’s the real definition of failure, failing to try. Without trying, your chances of success are 0%.

A basic tenet of Nuero Linguistic Programming is “There is no failure, only feedback”.  If you try something and fail, make an adjustment and try again. Eventually you’ll succeed.

Some of the people we consider huge successes were began with big failures. What made then great is they refused to accept their failures. See what you can learn from the following people’s stories:

1. The Great Bambino

When Babe Ruth retired from baseball in 1935 he had 714 home runs. That record stood 39 years until Hank Aaron hit his 715th career home run in 1974.

• You may not know that the Great Bambino was also the one of greatest strikeout kings ever, striking out 1330 times. However, he didn’t let the strikeouts bother him. The Big Fellow once said, “Every strikeout brings me closer to the next home run.”

2. Colonel Sanders

Harlan Sanders is famous for his “finger licking good” Kentucky Fried Chicken but his famous fried chicken recipe was far from an instant success.

• When he initially went out on the road to market his chicken recipe to restaurants he was rejected 1,009 times. That was until, in 1952, he finally persuaded a Utah restaurant owner to partner with him. That was the first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.

• By 1964, Colonel Sanders had more than 600 franchised outlets for his “finger licking good” chicken in the United States and Canada. That year, he sold his interest in the U.S. Company for $2 million.

3. Albert Einstein

The name Albert Einstein is one and the same with genius. He’s one of the most brilliant scientists who ever walked the earth.  But for all his brilliance Einstein didn’t speak until he was four years old. He didn’t learn to read until he was seven. In fact, one of his teachers described him as “mentally slow.”

• Einstein went on to win the Nobel Prize in physics. He is best known for his theory of relativity and the most famous formula in history, E=mc2.

4. Henry Ford

Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, once said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently”. While knows for his innovations and the invention of the assembly line, Henry ford didn’t just fall into success.

• Early in his career Ford had several businesses early on that didn’t make it. In fact, his previously failed businesses left Henry Ford completely broke five times before he found success with manufacturing cars.

5. John Grisham

John Grisham is a wildly successful author who has sold millions of books, many of which have been turned into blockbuster movies. This wasn’t always the case.

• Today, John Grisham doesn’t have to worry about getting his books published, but it wasn’t always that easy. His first book, A Time to Kill, was rejected by 28 different publishers before one publisher finally took a chance on him and printed 5,000 copies.

• Despite his rocky start, as of 2012, Grisham has sold his books over 275 million copies of his books worldwide.

6. Sylvester Stallone

Today, Sylvester Stallone is a famous movie star, most famous for his Rocky series. For all his success, most people are unaware of the struggles he went through to break into the business.

• Early in his career, Stallone was so strapped for cash that he had to sell his dog for $25 in order to pay his electric bill. Two weeks later, he finished writing the script for Rocky and began trying to secure a movie deal.

• After being rejected 1,500 times, United Artists finally offered him $125,000 for the Rocky script. The only problem was the studio didn’t want Stallone to star in the movie.

• In the early 1970s, $125,000 was a huge amount of money, but Stallone was convinced he should be the star of his movie and he wouldn’t sell. United Artists upped their offer to $250,000 and then to $325,000. Stallone continued to reject the deal unless he was allowed to star in his movie.

• Eventually Stallone accepted a different deal that paid him only $35,000 and a percentage of the profits. Rocky went on to gross $225 million and received ten 1976 Academy Awards nominations in nine categories, including best actor and best original screenplay for Stallone.

• To date, the Rocky franchise, with all of its sequels, has grossed over $1 billion. This success has also allowed Stallone to star in 64 movies, produce 9 movies and write 26 titles.

Stop Letting the Fear of Failure Hold You Back

The next time the fear of failure begins to hold you back from accomplishing your dreams, think of these examples. What would the world be like today if Einstein or Ford would have quit? How different would the entertainment world be without the input of Sylvester Stallone or John Grisham? What would have baseball been like without Babe Ruth or the chicken business without Harlan Sanders?

If these individuals hadn’t gotten over their fear of failure they wouldn’t have gone on to achieve the incredible success they later enjoyed. Instead of fearing failure, successful people embrace it because they understand that there is no such thing as success without it.


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