Fear of failure and fear of success

It's football season again and within the past couple of weeks, two of the arguably best players of all time spoke about how the fear of failure has affected them.

Jerry Rice (website link) said in his Hall of Fame speech, "I was afraid to fail. I'm here to tell you that the fear of failure is the engine that has driven me throughout my entire life. ... Not wanting to disappoint my parents and later my coaches, is what pushed me to be successful." (sfgate.com link of full interview)

Brett Favre (website link) identified the fear of failure as the thing that held him up from about returning to play this year. He stated on national TV during last weeks preseason game, "I can only control what I do, but I don't want to fail." (NBC Sports)

So Jerry Rice spoke of this fear as his ally. Brett Favre spoke of it as something he had to overcome. But what about the rest of us? How does fear of failure affect us?

Fear of failure is often prevents us from even trying (like it almost did for Brett). This of course becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for our "I will fail" belief system. It often comes from the fear of disapointing someone that we wanted to be proud of us (like it was for Jerry).

Bart Anderson, spiritual teacher, was listening to his students speak about the fear of failure one day. He wasn't buying it. He said, "People who are afraid of failure are usually really successful." (Hmm... like Jerry Rice or Brett Favre?) He continued, "You (referring to the students) have created an awful lot of failure for people that are afraid of it. It seems more like a comfort zone for you. You are afraid of success."

The fear of success is the fear of having to challenge your belief systems about yourself and subsequently having to reevaluate everything.

Whichever it is for you, what matters is that you overcome it. Both football greats did. After all, it is only fear and not real- no need to have it control your life.

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