Fear of Failure and the Reality behind making mistakes

 In For Photographers

The fear of failure is one of the worst fears you can have, if you wish to succeed. Fear of failure implies that failing, making mistakes, is something we should avoid at all cost. It is so worthy to succeed that every mistake is seen as the worst thing that can happen. In our opinion fear of failure itself is one of the worst things you can have.
Why? Because making mistakes, failing in what we do, is incredibly good for us.
Do you wish to read why we believe that fear of failure is much worse than the failure itself?

Why failing is important

Failing is part of the best learning process that exists. It means we have tried something, and we did it wrong. Great products, remarkable photographs are the results of great risks. Failure is a byproduct of those choices. If you aim for the moon and you fail, you will still end up in space.
Failing implies bringing yourself outside your comfort zone, playing where you do not know any more the field. The associated risk is to fail. I did it many times myself, but the result of those failures is the person I am today. I know a fair share about what I do, and I know myself much better than I used to, and this is because I had the guts (or stupidity) of jumping higher than I should.

Fear of failure is the antechamber to stasis

To me, failure is a positive thing. What I see as dangerous is stasis, immobility. One of the worst possible outcomes of the fear of failure is the immobility. We are so afraid of doing something wrong, that we stop trying. The fear of failure is such that many people rather stop doing things than failing at them.
When I look at someone else’s photographic body of work, I enjoy when I see new things. Photographs I haven’t seen before, things that went incredibly well. Truth is, I know that for those photographers, getting to those innovative works meant going through a huge number of mistakes.
The fear of failure is like ice that sends us in a cryogenic status.

Fear of failure VS risk takers

I have met a lot of people with huge potentials. Their story could easily start with “he could have done so much“, and this is a sign of what they haven’t reached. Fear of failure is failure itself, and probably the worst kind go failure. I knew a person once; he was a very knowledgeable man, who knew a lot about a lot. I never had for him the respect I should have, as all his knowledge was blocked from shining; it could have been stopped from his fear of failure, fear of not being perfect, fear of not making it. The reality was that I have never seen him doing anything close to his huge potentials.
What about the risk takers? For them, the fear of failure is minimal. They fear much more what they can lose from not trying than what they can lose by making things happen. They fail so much that sooner or later they succeed.

The Fear of Failure for a photographer

Few months ago I felt stuck. I felt that I was not looking to push my luck any longer. The images I was capturing were safe, controlled. The more I lived this, the more I felt enclosed in a box which was shrinking day after day. I was not failing enough as I was not running the risk. The fear of failure, of making something different from my usual style was prevailing my inner vision. I called it “being in a plateau“, and it was the consequence of the fear of failure.
To get myself out of this, I started experimenting again, wanting to do things that can go wrong. I want to capture images that I can be ashamed of, as in the process of failing I will be liberated once again, and I will raise the stakes.

When is the last time you failed? When is the last time you seriously screwed up? Or are you so tied by the fear of failure that you are missing the opportunities?

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