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Fear of failure – Atychiphobia: Here’s how to overcome it

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What is fear of failure?

Fear of failure is the fear of not achieving a task or goal, or of not being good enough. This fear undermines a person’s confidence and can lead to a range of negative behaviours.

It can stop a person from taking risks, from looking for new opportunities and even from getting on in life.

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Fear of failure can be triggered by many different factors. For example, negative childhood experiences, overly critical parents or teachers, social pressures or one’s own expectations can all increase the fear of failure.

To overcome the fear of failure, you should first look at the causes of these fears and develop strategies for dealing with them. These strategies may include replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, breaking goals down into small pieces, getting used to taking risks, and developing realistic expectations about failure.

It may also be helpful to seek psychological support to help you overcome your fear of failure.

Fear of failure is the fear of not achieving a particular task or goal, or of not being good enough. Symptoms of fear of failure usually reduce a person’s self-confidence and can cause a range of physical and emotional reactions.

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Where does the fear of failure come from?

Fear of failure can be caused by a combination of personal, social and psychological factors.

Childhood experiences, social pressures, societal expectations and personal expectations, such as excessive criticism from teachers or parents, can reinforce this fear. For example, failure in childhood can lead to the development of anxiety aimed at avoiding similar situations in the future.

In addition, personal goals can be a factor related to fear of failure. A person may lose self-confidence if they believe they cannot meet high expectations and therefore develop a fear of failure.

Social pressure can also increase this fear. If people around a person express negative beliefs that the person cannot achieve a certain goal or task, the person may adopt these beliefs and develop a psychology of failure.

In summary, the causes of fear of failure can be a combination of personal, social and psychological factors. In order to understand and deal with the causes of fear, it is important to identify the source of the fear and develop appropriate strategies.

Causes of Failure – What can lead to failure?

  • Inadequate preparation: inadequate research, planning or resources.
  • Wrong goals: Goals must be realistic and measurable. Otherwise, they may be difficult to achieve and the desired result may not be achieved.
  • Perfectionism: Perfectionists believe they are not good enough to achieve their goals.
  • Anxiety: Anxiety can cause people to avoid taking risks, which can prevent them from achieving their goals.
  • Lack of motivation: People are not sufficiently motivated to achieve their goals.
  • Distractions: Distractions can prevent people from focusing on their goals.
  • Negative thought patterns: Negative thoughts can undermine confidence.
  • External factors: For example, economic conditions, health problems or other personal factors can prevent people from achieving their goals.
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How does fear of failure affect people?

  • Anxiety and stress: People with fear of failure often have increased levels of anxiety and stress. They fear a particular task and this fear can affect their work performance.
  • Insecurity: Fear of failure reduces a person’s self-confidence. This fear can cause them to lose confidence and believe that they cannot succeed at work.
  • Procrastination: People with a fear of failure often tend to procrastinate. This can lead to procrastination and difficulties with time management.
  • Excessive perfectionism: People with a fear of failure tend to be overly perfectionistic. They strive for perfection in their work and measure themselves against a standard that is far above their goals.
  • Self-sabotage: People may engage in behaviours that hinder their own success. This is caused by a lack of self-confidence and can lead to self-sabotage.

These symptoms do not occur in all people with a atychiphobia, but they often reflect the emotional and physical reactions of people experiencing this fear.

Tips for dealing with failure

Failure is a fact of life and a common experience for many people. The following suggestions can help you overcome your fear of failure:

  • Give yourself time: Failure can sometimes be upsetting and a stressful experience. However, if you give yourself time and calm down, it can be easier to deal with failure.
  • Admit your mistakes: People who experience failure often feel that they have made a mistake. By admitting your mistakes, you can understand the reasons for your failure and correct those mistakes.
  • Learn from it: Failure can be an opportunity to learn. Understanding why you failed can help you avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
  • Motivate yourself: People who are faced with a particular situation of failure often lose their motivation. To keep yourself motivated, remind yourself of your goals and think about what you need to do to succeed.
  • Support yourself: Failure can undermine your confidence. You need to rebuild your confidence by supporting yourself.
  • Get help: It is important that you get help to deal with failure. Talking to a friend or therapist can help you find ways to cope.
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Is failure really bad?

What does it get us?

Failure is a fact of life and an experience that many successful people have had along the way. Failure can be a difficult experience for many people, but it can also bring many benefits. Here are some of the things that failure can bring us:

  • Opportunity to learn: When you fail, you can learn the right things as well as the wrong things. Failure can help people see what is wrong so they can do better.
  • Strong character: Failure can help people develop a stronger character. Coping skills can build self-confidence and make it easier to achieve even more difficult goals.
  • Innovation: Failure can help people break new ground and develop new ideas, encouraging them to be creative and innovative.
  • Motivation: Failure can inspire people to work harder and try harder to achieve better results. Motivation can help people achieve their goals.

Scientists have also been disappointed by failure and learned a lot from the experience. Thomas Edison, for example, invented the light bulb after thousands of attempts. Edison saw failure as a learning opportunity and learned from each attempt.

Albert Einstein failed maths at school but went on to become one of the world’s greatest scientists. When Einstein failed, he remained motivated to try again and eventually succeeded.

In summary, failure can have many benefits, helping people to develop their character, learning ability, creativity and motivation. There are many stories of successful people who have failed, and these stories show that failure is an opportunity to learn.

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Test for fear of failure

Answer the following questions to find out if you are afraid of failure:

  1. Are you afraid of making a mistake or failing at a task?
  2. Do you tend to compare your work with that of others?
  3. Do you have high expectations that you feel you cannot meet?
  4. Do you avoid trying new things?
  5. Do you give up something you are good at because you think you will fail?
  6. Are you afraid of being judged by others?
  7. Are you a perfectionist at work?
  8. Do you find it difficult to finish your work?
  9. Do you worry about what will happen if you fail?

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, you may be afraid of failure. However, it is not possible to make a definitive diagnosis based on these tests alone. We therefore recommend that you seek professional advice on how to overcome your fear of failure in order to find appropriate treatment.

How can dengem help you?

dengem is at your side with its experienced psychologists! dengem’s psychologists can help you overcome your atychiphobia,  by choosing an appropriate therapeutic approach depending on your needs and situation.

You can always make an appointment with one of our psychologists.

Take care of your soul with dengem, because you are important to us.


  • How to Overcome Your Fear of Failure, Susan Peppercorn, 2018, Harvard Business Review
  • Marcin, A. (2018, September 18). What Is Atychiphobia and How Can You Manage Fear of Failure / atychiphobia? Healthline.Angst zu versagen