There is nothing to fear but fear itself. —FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT 

THE FEAR OF failure is the greatest single obstacle to success in adult life. Note that it is not failure itself. Failure makes you stronger and more resilient and more determined. It is the fear of failure or the anticipation of failure that can paralyze your thoughts and your activities and hold you back from even trying to do the things that you need to do to be a big success. A young journalist once asked Thomas J. Watson Sr., the founder of IBM, how he could be more successful faster. 

Watson replied with these wonderful words: “If you want to be successful faster, you must double your rate of failure. Success lies on the far side of failure.” Dare to go forward. Self-made millionaires are not gamblers, but they are always willing to take calculated risks in the direction of their goals to achieve greater rewards. In fact, your attitude toward risk taking is probably the most important indicator of your readiness to become wealthy. Whenever you are faced with a risky situation, ask yourself this question, What is the worst possible thing that could happen if I go ahead? 

Then, as J. Paul Getty, the self-made oil billionaire, said, you should make sure that, whatever it is, it doesn’t happen. The fact is that everyone is afraid of failure. Everyone is afraid of loss and poverty. Everyone is afraid of making a mistake and being set back. But self-made millionaires are those who consciously and deliberately face this fear and take action anyway. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Make a habit throughout your life of doing the things you fear. If you do the thing you fear, the death of fear is certain.” When you act boldly, unseen forces will come to your aid. 

And every act of courage increases your courage and capacity for courage in the future. Whenever you take action in a forward direction with no guarantees of success, your fears diminish and your courage and self-confidence increase. You eventually reach the point where you are not afraid of anything. Perhaps the best line from the movie Apollo 13 came from Eugene Krantz, head of mission control at NASA. 

When the people around him were starting to think about the possibility of losing the spacecraft and the astronauts, he pulled them all together by announcing in a loud voice, “Failure is not an option!” Your job is to commit yourself to becoming a selfmade millionaire. Your job is to set specific goals for yourself, write them down, and work toward them every day. And especially, you must continue to remind yourself, in the face of all the problems and difficulties that you will experience, that “Failure is not an option!” This is the attitude that, more than anything else, will guarantee your long-term success. 

ACTION EXERCISE Identify one major fear in your life— for example, failure, criticism, or disapproval—and resolve to act as if the fear did not exist. Imagine that you were guaranteed success if you would only take action in the direction of your goals and dreams. Then, just do it!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s