How Fear of Failure will ruin your Dreams and everything.

How Fear of Failure will ruin your Dreams and everything.

Shriram Garde

Dreams Are The Most Powerful Energy.

But lot of us don’t know what Dreams mean.

So I’m going to take you a little tangent.

Most of us we go to school, go to college, get married and have children.

We look after something known as –

I, ME, MY.

My needs, my children’s needs, we send them to school, we look after extended families.

Our Parents want to go on holidays; we buy them the tickets, our Aunt falls ill; we look after her. We look after something known as –


As we get older and enter in to a middle age, we want to turn in to Godfathers. We feel like doing something more. May be for the Society!  Ravi’s School for the blind! Shetty’s home for Orthopaedic Children!  We look after something known as –


But most of us we don’t reach the third stage.

This is an Elephant. It’s tied to a peg with a little chain.

12There was a man who was passing by the elephants, suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small chain tied to their leg. It was obvious that the elephants could, at any time, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they didn’t.

He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away.

“Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size chain to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they can’t break away. They believe the chain can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

When the elephant was young, the trainer had put a chain around its leg and restrained it from moving far, the young elephant initially must have tried to escape.

After trying for a while, the elephant realises that escaping is futile and gives in to the restraint, enabling the trainer to control the elephant for the rest of its life.

In fact the giant elephant can easily break the chain and walk away.

But it doesn’t.

From then on, all that is required is a chain around its leg and a wooden peg in the ground that you or I could pull out, but the elephant doesn’t.


Because it doesn’t think that it can.

Most of us are like that elephant who doesn’t want to break the chain and walk away.

We become restricted by the chain that we have around our leg.  If we think we can easily break the chain.

But we are stuck with something known as the “Fear of Failure”.

Just like the elephant, many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we can’t do something, simply because we failed at it once before. When it comes to chasing our goals and dreams we’re often too scared to take the leap.


Fear holds us back. It destroys dreams, kills productivity and in all honesty, ruins the fun out of life.

Before I left my 10 year old job in a MNC in 1997, I had a huge fear of leaving my 9–5 job. Whenever a chance to follow my dream would present itself, I wouldn’t take it.

You can’t overcome the fear by simply working harder or by spending money. You can’t avoid it by delegating either. So, let’s understand why we let fear hold us back.

Fear of failure –

Not failing itself strikes fear into us. A lack of income or potential embarrassment is other negative.

Whenever I used to think of leaving the safety of my 9-5 job, I’d instantly make excuses and think, why I shouldn’t. When a chance would come along, I’d always ask myself what if this won’t work out? and my mind would flood with all the potential negatives that could arise. But I was sure that I wanted to leave and one fine day I resigned from my day job.

We humans are unfortunately designed to focus on the negatives of situations called the ‘negativity bias’.

“If you were in the jungle and you saw a lion to your right and an apple tree to your left, you would best ignore the apple tree and run as fast as possible away from the lion.”

As a short-cut to survival, this type of behaviour originated in our ancestors and we no longer need it now. Also, negative information weighs more heavily on the brain. Our attitudes are more heavily influenced by downbeat or negative news or images. May be that’s why newspapers and news shows report so heavily on negative stories and that’s what we all want to hear. So ironic!

Fear affects decision making –

The way we make our decisions on a daily basis is heavily affected by negative thoughts brought by the fear. The decisions we make are all affected by fear of failure, fear of our own inadequacy, fear of making the wrong decisions etc.

‘Reptilian brain’ is the oldest part of our brain which has its roots in our evolutionary desire to stay alive. This determines whether to fight, flight, or freeze in stressful or dangerous situations.

Fear prompts retreat. Exploratory activity and risk-taking are turned off when the fear system of the brain is active. On a daily basis we might not be faced with life-threatening situations, but we still view the potential outcomes of our decisions on our basic fear instincts.

You might focus on costs if you are planning a travelling adventure or not having a job to come home to or maybe homesickness.


The same applies to most dreams and goals. It can be hard to see beyond the negatives and commit to the decisions you really want to. Fear will shut you down before you even have a chance to start, although the positives may outweigh the negatives in the end.

How to overcome fear –

When faced with tough decisions, you might be designed to react rather than think, but you can trick the brain.

  1. Changing failure perception –

‘A life of failure’, Sir James Dyson refers his life as, though he is one of the world’s most successful inventors.

While building the prototype for the first Dyson Hoover there were 5126 failures until he got the one that worked.

Failure isn’t an ending — it’s a part of your story. It’s a natural part of growing. And should, at times, be looked at as positive, not negative. You can learn to stop fearing by changing your perception of failure.

One of the greatest sportsmen of all time was prone to failure, too…

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

Look for a Mentor –

The amazingly valuable people to have in your life can be Mentors.

From starting a business, to giving you the courage to write your first movie script, to encourage you to travel the world there’s a person out there who can guide you and help you get started. And that’s the Mentor.

Mentors have all likely struggled with fear at some point and can relate to the position you’re in and help you get past it.

  1. Breaking down the dreams in smaller parts –

Imagine if you couldn’t fail. Who would you be? Where would you go? And what would you do?

If you want to know what you exactly want from life, remove the thoughts of failure. Think about the bigger picture; take out some time to think: What dream do you want to chase? And if you couldn’t fail, what would you do?

Suddenly you’ll see there’s less to fear once you know the answers to these questions.

Then break your dreams down into smaller, more achievable chunks. By breaking down dreams, there’s less to fear each step along the way.”


4. What’s the root-cause of your fear -?

Ask yourself: ‘What am I really afraid of?’

The root cause of someone’s fear of failure is often something more tangible. ‘Failure’ is a pretty vague term. e.g.

  • I fear, I won’t make enough money
  • I fear, I’m not confident enough to sell my idea
  • I fear of starting something new

The above seem more concrete challenges.

I was worried about money when I analysed my fear before leaving my job. I was comfortable on my salary. I just wanted to have enough money to enjoy my life as well as just covering my monthly expenses.

I could figure out the problem and found the solution once I identified why I was afraid. Identifying the root-cause of your fear will allow you to do the same rather than continuing to suffer from the fear.

Whether it’s travelling the world, quitting your job to start a business, chasing your wildest of dreams or doing anything big in your life you have to overcome something equally big: THE FEAR.



About The Author: Shriram Garde

My mission is just to share the events in my life sincerely with you; as I have experienced them, not necessarily in that order. I write on various topics. Whether that means - advice, tips, tools, scriptures, or instructions on budgeting, getting out of debt, making some extra cash, investing or anything else, I intend to provide it. I was 18 years old when I started working as a labourer. I had no savings. I had no money left in my bank accounts. I know life through lot of unpleasant incidences occurring day in and day out. But what I realised is that it doesn't have to be always like that. We are not doomed to how we are currently living – we all can change! I know, because over last couple of years my family and me have paid off a huge amount of debt. I have a passion to help people come to this realisation and get started on their own journey to financial freedom. I had owned 2 Companies before moving to Finance Sector about 9 years back. Spending more than 30 years in various capacities taught me quite a lot. I have a diploma in Engineering completed in part time while I was working. I have learned a good chunk from my working background in various fields. But, like most people who are eager to learn, the bulk of what I have learned thus far is from reading magazines, books, blogs, pod cast or whatever else I can get my hands on about Personal Finance, investing, business, personal development, and time management.


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