Fear of failure is the biggest killer of ideas. It is this fear which prevents most people from taking risks without which the possibility of innovating is zero.
Why the fear of failure?
The problem starts from an incredibly youthful age when the fear of failure is firmly embedded by the duo of elders and teachers in the mind of the kids. “If you do not pass you will end up like this….”is the common threat which the child repeatedly hears.
Kids who fail are made fun of by the peers and at times and even humiliated at times by the elders. From that early age one thing which the individual fears most is failure.
I do not remember if we were ever encouraged to do what we loved. There was no place for innovations. Academics was the be all and end all of the school life. Failures were just not accepted. Situation has not undergone much change even in the present day. Today kids are not given admission in kindergarten if they do not pass an entrance test.
The ‘cut off’ for admission in any good institute of higher learning are so high that students go crazy in preparations. Way back in 1981 when I was seeking admission in 11th standard no student who had scored below 89 % was granted admission in that college. Why do all talented students take admission in one or two reputed colleges only. Naturally, such institutions will always excel in academics. Why cannot the government ensure a good mix of students in every educational institute. This may help weak students to improve.
Weight of expectations…..
The young minds are weighed down with the load of expectations. Too many are competing for too few available seats of higher education. There is no counselling carried out in schools to guide the students that there is life beyond being a doctor, engineer, Chartered accountant or being a lawyer. Anyone not making it to any of these streams in after 12th standard is usually considered a failure.
Child is constantly being judged and scared of failure. Barring a negligible percentage most of these kids grow to be risk averse. They are not willing to accept failures and follow a safe path in life.
Soldiers and fear of failure….
I have never seen soldiers abandoning military operation for fear of failure. In fact, fear is not there at all. As they step out of their base they are loaded with josh and excitement. They are only thinking of success. This confidence and josh flows from the faith in their skills and trust in the God.
One common quality defining all people who have tasted success in life is that none of them feared failures.
Excitement versus fear….
Come to think of it the feelings experienced in case of both fear and excitement are same; the increase in heartbeat, the butterflies in the stomach and sweaty palms. The difference is in the mindset. The excited person is thinking of success whereas the fearful is obsessed with thoughts of failure. One got to change the way he/ she thinks, change the narrative.
The grooming of kids must start from the school stage itself to train them to take failures in their stride. In fact, before the kids their parents need to be educated to accept failures* as normal.
The organisations should encourage employees to take risks. Then only they will work with a free mind to innovate and discover new.
It is the mindset which makes the difference between success and failure. How one thinks and responds to situations will make the difference in the outcome.
- *Failures despite making all necessary preparations because of tough competition.