Overcome kakorrhaphiophobia - the fear of failure

Kakorrhaphiophobia 

This phobia is more common than you think, though most of us will not recognise the name. Some people appear to go through life always trying something new, sometimes succeeding and sometimes not, but failure never deters them. In fact, it makes some people more determined than ever to try again only harder next time.

Others won't even try, convinced they will fail and fall at the first hurdle. They go through life achieving little and live a life of regrets and 'if onlys'. They live a safe, mundane life often envying others who will take a risk. This state of always feeling a failure or fretting about becoming one may come hand in hand with other feelings such as self-consciousness, embarrassment and low self-esteem and these associated emotions are the first thing to spring to mind when one contemplates trying something new.

Hypnotherapy can be used to help the person get to the root cause of the problem by addressing these accompanying feelings. Perhaps as a child they were constantly criticised by their parents, teased by an older sibling for never trying hard enough or not living up to their expectations and so developed little self-worth as a result. Maybe a teacher was strict and was quicker to belittle than to praise, which left the student assuming it wasn't worth trying or too scared to have another go in case he repeated the same mistake.

With hypnosis, the hypnotherapist will guide the person into a state of relaxation reminding them that they are safe and totally in control. They will ask the person to remember past times, where they felt confident and successful which they can then use as an anchor to utilise each time they want to feel better in a positive way. Initially the person may struggle to even think of a time they ever felt confident and successful, as they will probably feel like they have always been a failure. However, the therapist can use everyday situations such as, "Were you confident you could drive here today?" or "Are you confident you can do your job well?"

The therapist can also ask them to imagine what the worst case scenario would be. They can help the person to play out the whole situation in his mind as often it is the feeling they remember, more than the actual outcome. The fear of rejection and failure can be so strong in some people that they will not even consider going for a promotion or asking someone out on a date. They constantly doubt their own ability and go through life not ever trying. The therapist can also then get them to imagine the attached feelings if they do try and are successful. Getting them to imagine what a positive feeling would be like can give them the courage to try.  

The fearful person has this notion that successful people are somehow luckier, cleverer and were in the right place at the right time. Usually this could not be further from the truth. The person who succeeds has usually done so through nothing more than persistence and the ability to pick themselves up, dust themselves down and try again and again.   

James Dyson, who invented the bagless vacuum spent 15 years and tried 5,126 versions before his design was accepted. It is now a multi-billion dollar company and yet how easy would it have been for him to give up? As he says himself, he learned more from failure than success as it enabled him to problem solve and improve on his product. Then there is Colonel Sanders, the man who created the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) recipe. At the age of 67 he travelled the country trying to persuade restaurants to buy his secret recipe. He was turned down 1,009 times but never gave up or stopped believing in his product. Failure may feel uncomfortable, it may even embarrass you but it can also enrich your skill set and help you improve on the last attempt. 

The positive feeling of being successful far outweighs any negative feelings and is longer lasting. The only person you ever need to prove yourself to, is yourself!

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill.

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Written by Biodun Ogunyemi

Biodun Ogunyemi is the founder of Optimind, one of the leading hypnotherapy practices within the UK. He has practiced on Harley Street and is an experienced hypnotherapist, trained to the highest level in Advanced Hypnotherapy and NLP and is the author of over 180 hypnosis products.… Read more

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