The Fear of Failure

  • Published
  • By Capt. Matthew Davis
  • 117th Air Refueling Wing Assistant Staff Judge Advocate
Fear is an emotion that evolved as a form of protection from danger.  Fear protects us by keeping us from acting in ways that could put our lives in danger.  Fear also hinders us by holding us back from achievable goals because of painful previous experiences.  Fear can hold us back and steal our dreams.  

In 1831 a 22 year old man was fired as a store clerk. 
In 1832 the man ran for the state legislature and finished eighth.
In 1843 the man failed to win his party's nomination for a congressional seat.
In 1854 the man tried to run for the state senate and lost.
In 1858 the man unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate.

In each of those circumstances the man was ridiculed and laughed at by the public.  He could have went home to lick his wounds never to try again but the man did not let fear of failure deter him.

On March 4, 1861 the man was sworn in as the 16th President of the United States.  His name was Abraham Lincoln.  He became one of history's most respected figures and is ranked as one of the greatest presidents in American history.  Most people do not know about his previous failures or that he was ridiculed with each loss.

The lesson here is do not fear failure.  Each time you fail you are taking another step closer to success.  As Thomas Edison classically stated "If I find 10,000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is often a step forward....." So keep trying and keep persevering, success may be just around the corner.