Failure Can Become Freedom: 5 Tips for Overcoming Impulsivity
Losing your fear of failure can be very freeing. Being a failure phobic can lead to avoiding risk, which is necessary for success. The best way to get over any fear is “exposure therapy” – being exposed to failure and realizing it doesn’t have to stop you.
Lara Honos-Webb, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and author of multiple books.
Editor: Saad Shaheed
Fear of failure impairs many people, keeping them stuck in small lives because they are afraid of breaking their streak of straight A’s or a constant state of approving nods from their environment. Failure can be freed if it gives you the chance to try things outside of your comfort zone and expertise. When you lose your fear of failure, you gain the power to experiment in life and work, and experimentation leads to innovation and discovery. Thus, the capacity to take risks without undue fear of failure is directly related to creativity and discovery.
If you haven’t lived up to your own – or others’ – expectations in school, relationships, or work settings, it is important to address these failures with both positive thinking and negative thinking.
What do I mean by negative thinking? I mean examining closely what went wrong and what you could do differently in the future to get a better outcome. For example, if you observe weeds in your garden, practicing positive thinking by repeating “there are no weeds, there are no weeds” isn’t going to be helpful Rather, you need to recognize the weeds and set about uprooting them. Similarly, if you haven’t lived up to your expectations, identify any underlying problems and work on solving them. Problem areas for adults with ADD are fairly predictable.
Here’s a sample of 5 ways to uproot impulsivity
1. Decrease Impulsivity by Pausing
2. Decrease Impulsivity by Increasing Detachment
3. Decrease Impulsiveness by Asking “What Did You Mean By That?”
4. Decrease Impulsivity by Managing Anger
5. Decrease Impulsivity by Listing Consequences