Fear of failure is something we all face at some point, but in trading it can be a serious obstacle. Fear of failure can be paralyzing and prevent you from making necessary decisions or taking risks that have the potential for a high profit.
Where does the fear come from? Usually, it is associated with the belief that mistakes are bad and should be always avoided. A mistake can be seen as a failure or as something that reflects on the person's competence. This attitude towards mistakes is damaging, because mistakes are ultimately unavoidable, but fear of failure can be downright paralyzing. It can make you worry constantly, make you stall when a quick decision is needed or avoid big decisions altogether.
So, what can you do if you feel afraid of failure? Here are some ideas to manage it and stay productive.
Don't try to ignore it or pretend it isn't there. Acknowledge that you feel fear and that it is affecting you.
Consider the best and worst case scenarios
What will happen if you make a mistake? What's the worst thing that can happen? How realistic and likely is it that the worst thing will happen? Consider these aspects in a rational manner.
Change the general way you think about mistakes
Mistakes are learning opportunities. They can help you move forward and improve in ways you wouldn't improve otherwise. They don't reflect on your ability or capacity. A mistake doesn't represent a complete failure or doom you to fail again.
Use the fear
You can take advantage of the fear, once it is less intense, to motivate yourself to be better prepared. You can focus more on evaluating the situation, gathering resources or doing research and, in general, preparing. This feel help you feel more secure and confident.
Make mistakes on purpose
This can help if you feel too paralyzed. Choose small, inconsequential things and make mistakes in situations that won't have serious consequences. As you find that nothing awful happens, your anxiety will decrease and you will control the process, allowing you to try this without getting too nervous.