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Effects Of The Fear Of Failure


The fear of failure can affect our lives in many ways. Recognizing and confronting teh fear of failure in each of these experiences could result in dramatic changes in your life.

  • Perfectionism. One of the most common symptoms of the fear of failure is perfectionism, an unwillingness to fail. This tendency suffocates joy and creativity. Often our motivations come from a desperate attempt to avoid teh low self-esteem we experience when we fail.
  • Avoidance of risks. Fear of failure is a willingness to be involved in only those activities that can be done well. New, challenging activities are avoided because the risk of failure is too great. Although it may seem comfortable, avoiding risks limits the scope of our creativity, self-expression, and service to God.
  • Anger and resentment. When we fail, when others contribute to our failure, or when we are injured or insulted in some way, anger is a normal response. What is the common first thing we do when we realized we have failed? We look for someone to blame. Belieivng ourselves to be dimished because of failure, we try to shift that responsibility to someone else.
  • Pride. When we base our self-worth on our performance and are successful, we often develop an inflated view of ourselves that leads to pride. Some of us may persist in this self-exaltation through any and all circumstances; for must of us, however, this sense of self-esteem lasts only until our next failure (or risk of failure).
  • Depression. Depression is usually a result of anger turned inward and/or a deep sense of loss. Experiencing failure and fearing subsequent failure can lead to deep depression. Once depressed, many become emotionally numb and passive in their actions, believing there is no hope for change.
  • Low motivation. Much of what is known as low motivation or laziness is better understood as hopelessness. If people believe they will fail, they have no reason to exert an effort. The pain of passivity seems minor and acceptable compared to the agony of actually trying and failing.
  • Sexual dysfunction. The emotional trauma caused by failure can cause disturbances in sexual activity. Then, rather than experience the pain of failing sexually, many tend to avoid sex altogether, and often turn to sexual fantasy in the form of lust, or even pornography.
  • Chemical dependency. Many people attempt to ease their pain and fear of failure by using drugs or alcohol. What may have begun as a pleasurable means of temporary escape or an effort to remove pressures to perform ends with the despair of realizing an inability to cope without the substance.
  • Addiction to success. Only a little bit more is the motto of many people driven to succeed Success can be a wonderful experience unless you are driven to it. Today’s success never lasts much past the end of the day. Tomorrow you’ll have to do it all over again.
  • Identity entangled with success. What good is success if other people don’t know about it? There are two extremews when it comes to success. Some people make sure everyone knows about their success by the things and the lifestyle they possess. Others make sure they never enjoy the fruits of their success and believe that anyone who does is simply wrong, boastful, and full of themselves.
  • Sense of hopelessness. After several failures you can easily begin to doubt y. our ability to make a good decision. There are few who have ever succeeded at anything who have not had to deal with the reality of their own failures and mistakes. When a person chooses to never make a mistake, it will literally paralyze them.
  • Anger at ourselves and God. There is nothing quite as miserable as being angry at yourself, or even having self-hatred. Unfortunately, your anger is not limited to yourself but many times is also directed toward God. We must realize that as Christians we have teh power provided by the Holy Spirit to lay aside deceptive ways of thinking and be renewed in our minds by the truth of God’s word.

Although we all will continue to experience the fear of failure to some degree, we must realize that as Christians we have the power provided by the Holy Spirit to lay aside deceptive ways of thinking and be renewed in our minds by the truth of God’s Word (see Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:21-23).

For our benefit, God often allows us to experience circumstances that will enable us to recognize our blind adherence to Satan’s deceptions. Many times these circumstances seem very negative, but through them we can learn valuable, life-changing truths.

In His great love, God leads us through experiences that are difficult but essential to our growth and development. The more aware we become to the fear of failiure and problems it may cause, the more we will understand our own behavior as well as that of others.


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