The pure mental toughness definition from Clough and Strycharzcyk is that it is a “trait which determines in large part how people deal with challenge, stressors and pressure irrespective of prevailing circumstances”. One of those stressors could be an internal fear of failure, which we have all experienced at some time in our life.
Recently, I had an irrational fear about failing at a particular task when I read the following post, reproduced below, from the amazing Donald Latumahina and his Life Optimizer blog which helped me prepare my mindset to overcome the challenge ahead.
Do you want to live your life to the fullest? If you do, then there is a big obstacle that you need to overcome. That obstacle is fear, and among the different kinds of fear, a major one is a fear of failure.
Imagine putting a lot of effort into something but it doesn’t work. What you get in return is nowhere near your expectations. It wouldn’t feel good, would it?
The problem is, the fear of scenario could prevent you from taking any action at all. And taking no action means making no progress. It means that your life will just stay the same. This, of course, is not the way to live your life to the fullest.
What should we do then? How can we overcome a fear of failure?
I found an answer when I read Originals by Adam Grant. The book is about people who dare to be different. There is a statement there that caught my attention:
“They know in their hearts that failing would yield less regret than failing to try.”
Failing would yield less regret than failing to try. You need to keep this in mind. The mindset that you need to have is this:
The regret of failing is less than the regret of not trying.
Yes, you might have regret when you fail. But guess what? The regret will be less than the regret of not trying!
When people are on their deathbeds, their regrets center around things that they didn’t do. They regret not taking risks. They regret not taking the actions to realize their dreams.
Don’t let this happen to you. Aim to have the least possible regret in your life. Yes, you might fail when you try. But the regret will be less than the regret of not trying.