Fear of Failure


How to deal with fear of failure when you have failed in almost every goal which you had, particularly childhood dreams,and too afraid to do anything that you are stuck at one place?

—Sean Kernan, India


Dear Sean,

Fear of failure is common and natural. To build up confidence, place your trust in God and gurus first. Ask for guidance and start with goals that are within your reach or just a little past it. Sometimes in life we simply have developed a habit or tendency to imagine too far ahead of our own progress.

Other times our goals are only a reflection of what we’ve been grown up to imagine by the desires and influences of other people.

There is no substitute for the results of daily meditation to develop self-awareness, intuition, and a higher form of confidence than just the ego or our past experiences.

It might also be that defining our goals in terms of the outer form of status, job, career, money, or success is simply not satisfying to our soul and our soul’s natural progress towards ego transcendence.

Instead of a goal to become, say, a doctor, maybe the real goal is to find ways to help people; to serve the needs of others; to serve a divine cause. The more we fix our goals in outer form, the more likely we will either fail or, if successful, we find the results unsatisfying. Why? Because we are Spirit, not a body; not an ego.

So take small steps and take from inner guidance. Taking steps is more important than thinking of what steps to take. “Action is clarifying,” Swami Kriyananda (the founder of Ananda) once said. Any action is almost better than no action at all. To do something is better than to do nothing!

And finally, as Krishna states in the Bhagavad Gita, “Better to fail in pursuit of our dharma (duty) than succeed in someone else’s dharma.” We can also learn from failure. We can plant the seeds of success by analyzing our failure and pushing forward with willpower and grace to accomplish worthwhile goals.

The greatest of scientists, inventors, composers, writers, and saints have met with frequent failures. The only difference from others is that they didn’t give up!

Joy and blessings to you!
Nayaswami Hriman