Fear of Failure

Discussion in 'Psychology' started by facultus, Sep 16, 2003.

  1. In the middle of reading "Moneyball" by Michael Lewis. He told an interesting story of a baseball player who had it all, but when he was bumped up to the "Big Leagues" one factor in his poor performance was the fear of failure. It got me thinking of these questions:

    1. How would one get over the fear of failure of wanting something so much the failure of not getting it freezes one's actions?

    2. When fear enters the psyche and inhabits the actions or thoughts which made a person succesful at other ventures, how do you get it back?
  2. For me fear has always accompanied a lack of understanding. So, the first problem you have posed is also the solution. Why? If one has 'x' chance of success without fear but zero chance with fear, then one might as well approach the problem without fear. Fuck it - what have you got to lose. Also, for me there is no value for anything save what value I attribute to the thing. If fear were to arise as a result of my desire for some thing, then I need only alter my perception of its value for the fear to dissipate.

    The second problem is seemingly more difficult. Personal experience has shown, in my case, that the answer is largely personal. One thing I will offer is that if the need for outside assistance is felt, then it should be pursued. One should not hesitate to seek help whence one feels the desire to have help.

  3. damir00

    damir00 Guest

    from the YMMV fiile: find a way to put yourself in a situation where you *have* to make a choice between the thing that scares you and something that scares you even more.

    works for me, don't know that it will work for others.
  4. You could probably spend the rest of you're life exploring these
    questions, so I'll just make it short and sweet...

    To be a successful trader, you "Must Learn To Lose"

    And to be a successful baseball player, you must accept
    the fact you're going to strike out or be tagged out, six or seven
    times, for every ten times at bat. (if you're good)

    And if you get into a boxing match, you must accept that you're opponent is going to hit you in the jaw, the ribs and in the head.

    So, if you can accept this, and expect it, then you can still make money
    trading... and the last I heard their paying pretty good money for
    a player that bats 300... and you can still win the boxing match and take
    home the winners check, even though you got your face pounded...hehe

    But, if you can't accept a loss, or striking out, or getting hit square
    in the jaw, you're going to have problems.

  5. Yes, there are a lot more as you suggest.

    To use another sports analogy, golf, you notice that your game is always changing, at least I do. But in trading it is much worse. More like a one way street that you can't use to return.

    People have difficulty understanding that their path is a sequence of events and that they continually are spending energy to get to the next place.

    As things deteriorate, the energy that you tie up increases and, thus, there is less energy available for anything else but maintaining the drama you have created and it's corresponding pictures.

    Once you are consuming nearly all your energy on failure, you lock into a mind set that is permanent for all practical reasons.

    Here, you see that many people have a "survival" modus that is based on the "safety" of "knowing" how to do survival. Unfortunately, they are definitely in a failure mode and are deepening their entrenchment in this safe survival place called failure. Years of it as you often see.

    Golf shows you all of this. Most people continue to play lousy golf all their lives. They do vary the poorness of their games in a range of performance but there are always a bunch of holes they blow every round. I don't believe anyone's attitude every changes under these circumstances. It is simply a one way street because they do not know the way out nor are they willing to risk stepping out of the "safety" of the skills they have built practicing "failure" as their survival modus.

    This is just a verification of your big league sports story.

    Beginning of a great thread. It will be neat to see if and how different people finally did get out of their safe failure places.
  6. Think about the alternative and understand that the alternative is not so bad after all.
  7. A father was waiting for his daughter to go off the high dive for the first time and watched her walk back and forth, back and forth, up and down the ladder a couple of times in terror of jumping off.
    Finally, she walked with confidence to the edge and jumped in. He asked her what was the final thought she had to make her go off with such confidence.
    She replied that she was going to be scared both ways, whether or not she jumped and decided to be scared and at least do it.

    I know in psychology there are alot of motivational cliche stories like this, but wanted to toss it out.

    Is having a fear of failure a healthy thing if taken in moderation?
  8. Fear is not necessarily a bad thing.

    Fear is one of our driving forces of overcoming our flaws.

    Fear of death keeps us motivated in an instinctive level to live.

    Fear of losing helps us strive not to lose which leads to winning.

    Simple stuff, but one of the importance of fear is it allows us and gives us an opportunity to understand what we need to focus on. Without fear, we wouldn't know what to focus on.

    Fear shouldn't be feared but embraced.
  9. sprstpd


    In terms of athletics, if you fear to lose, you won't achieve optimal results. You must desire to win. No great athlete fears to lose. Not sure if this translates to trading, but it might.
  10. I just started reading a NLP (Neuro-Linguistics Programming) book.

    It talks about Motivation Direction. Basically we are either moving toward what we want or away from what we don't want.

    People who move toward what they want are goal oriented.

    People who move away from what they don't want are passive, they tend to wait for discomfort before moving into action.

    Both have there place in certain aspects of our life.

    Since I am just getting into this book I don't feel I can intelligently offer more at this point, perhaps Mr. Grob 109 could expound upon this further.

    The minute I read this section of the book I knew what my Motivation Direction is.


    Bruce Hawkins
    #10     Sep 17, 2003