Atychiphobia, or the fear of failure, is a common fear that plagues many people in the world today. Atychiphobia is defined as “the abnormal, unwarranted, and persistent fear of failure.” Those afflicted with atychiphobia tend to lead a constricted lifestyle, one wrought with a constant disinterest in taking risk. If you have atychiphobia, you can probably think back to a time where you sub consciously undermined the potential success of an endeavor so as to erase the possibility of failure.
Atychiphobia, as described above turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy of self-doubt. You see, as you continue to subconsciously undermine projects, the outcome is always failure. When the outcome is ALWAYS failure, you believe that failure is the ONLY outcome. Do you see now how atychiphobia works against you?
Let’s consider an example. A person with atychiphobia decides one day that they would like to start a small business, walking dogs for example. The person starts off with a nice head of steam and gathers five customers in the first month. To the optimist, this would be a great thing. A good start to a successful business endeavor. To the person with the fear of failure however, the psychological spiral begins to take over. The fear of failure perpetuates failure and begins to undermine the success of the dog walking business.
As the business continues its life, the afflicted individual begins to make decisions that they know will anger their customers. They may show up late for dog walking appointments, or, drop the dog off earlier than expected after a walk. Does the person want to fail? Absolutely not. They want to succeed, on a conscious level, but the power of their subconscious mind and their fear of failure drives them to act irrationally. Eventually, the five customers that were acquired in month one, dwindle down to zero customers, and the business is out of business. Failure. The cycle is complete, and failure of course, is the result.
Think you might have a fear of failure, or “atychiphobia?” Look over the below list of symptoms and see if any of them apply to you:
- Irregular Heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid breathing
- Stomach irritation
- Feelings of fright
Atychiphobia symptoms arise any time a person is confronted with a task that does not carry with it a 100% guarantee of success.
Unfortunately, like many other subconscious conditions, there is no absolute cure for atychiphobia. There are however ways to reduce the effects, but are only affective to the extent that the person is willing to change. It is however possible for a person to drastically reduce the affects of atychiphobia through changes to thought processes, self-help and other motivational techniques. Another popular option for dealing with atychiphobia is counseling. Trusted counselors can help the patient understand the triggers that set off the fear associated with atychiphobia. Once the triggers are defined, the person is taught to identify them early, and cope with their existence before they become destructive. I suggest reading Paul Hauck's Overcoming Worry and Fear.
Are you dealing with the fear of failure? Have you successfully overcome this fear? Share your story below and help others who may be dealing with the same thing.