Too Scared to Fail - Fear of Failure and OCPD

Being afraid to fail can cause paralysis if the standards for success are so high, or the inner critics are too harsh. This happens to me a lot - I run down all the possible failures, and risking new choices starts to look scary. Or, I internally berate myself a tiny messed up moment.

I found this great article in Psychology Today Blogs on Fear of Failure. It shows a list of internal dialog that can be used to replace the harsh critic that so often shows up when I do something "wrong" or even when I am taking a risk that could lead to failure. Check it out:

Let's see if any of the following twenty coping statements could help you.

1. I didn't fail, my behavior failed
2. I can learn from my failure
3. I can be challenged by my failure
4. I can try harder
5. Maybe it wasn't a failure
6. I can focus on other behaviors that will succeed
7. I can focus on what I can control
8. It wasn't essential to succeed at that
9. There were some behaviors that did pay off
10. Everyone fails at something
11. Maybe no one noticed
12. Did I have the right goal?
13. Failure is not fatal
14. Were my standards too high?
15. Did I do better than before?
16. I can still do everything I always did, even though this failed
17. Failing at something means I tried. Not trying is worse.
18. I've just begun
19. Tomorrow is another success
20. Tomorrow is today

Think about something you are worried about. Perhaps you are worried that you won't do well on a test, or that someone might not like you, or that you might lose some money, or...whatever. Then go through the coping ideas listed above and think about how you could use these.

Remember, Ralph Waldo Emerson said ""Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little course, and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice. Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble."

438FK6B4SGEK - This is a code to get me listed in Technorati :)


  1. Fear of failure is what keeps us stuck.
    Letting go of the fear is hard. We can
    just keep trying.
    Thinking of the pros more than cons just
    seems to be an unfamilar way of thinking-
    but we can rewire our brains!

  2. Being afraid to make a failure makes us miss a lot of great things to do. Even before leaving this comment I was a little afraid that I may say smth. wrong. But then I realised that sometimes we just should do things, not to think over and over before doing anything.P.S. English's not my native language, so sorry for all grammar mistakes I might make.