Do Not Let The Fear Of Failure And The Unknown Stop You…


…From Trying New Things.

Among the top fears for most people are the fear of failure and the fear of the unknown.

I recently came across a quote (unknown source) that reads, “Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.”

I suppose that the older one gets, the more one reflects back upon life. I wonder how many people end up regretting not having done ‘this’ or ‘that’, and I’ll bet that the reasons for not having tried or done ‘that’ include the fear of failure and the fear of the unknown…

How to overcome your fear of failure and the fear of the unknown:

Don’t let ‘worry’, ‘fear’, and ‘doubt’ define who you are. These emotions may end up causing regrets such that you ‘could have’ ‘might have’ or ‘should have’ done this or that…

Many of us will ‘dream’ of or ‘wish’ of doing or accomplishing something that may seem difficult to actually do, or maybe even ridiculously difficult, however many of us will let doubt and fear of the unknown get the better of us.

It is true that these emotions are part of our ‘built-in’ survival interface, however these same emotions can really hinder us from going further in life.

So how do we get through it?

“Push forward no matter what.” Force yourself to move towards your fear.

“Get comfortable with your fear.” Action builds courage.

“This fear will pass.” (tell yourself)

“Think positive.” Don’t dwell on the fear. Dwell on the solutions.

“Opportunity may pass you by.” (if you don’t take action)

“Motivation through the successes of others.” Others have done it, so can you.

“Do not doubt your success.” Plan and be deliberate in your steps.

I post these thoughts today partly because ‘preparedness’ is a process that may begin with the fear of the unknown, however to actually become better prepared we must push through the fear of the unknown and take action.

Additionally, there are often many excuses as to why we might choose NOT to do something (sometimes because it may be way out of our comfort zone, or we’re afraid of the unknown), however if we force ourselves to just do it – we are often rewarded for the new experience or accomplishment. These things fill our lives as we look back and reflect…

Break through the fear and remove or go around any obstacles that may stand in your way.

I cannot tell you how many times that I have been apprehensive about doing something or taking on a project, task, or ‘other’ that involves stepping into the unknown. It can be a fearful thing. But I can tell you that you will be the better for it afterwards. And the more that you challenge yourself, the easier it becomes the next time…

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    1. @Nailbanger, Was there a number of years ago. An inspiring coastline – right in your backyard ;) Took the picture during a sailboat tour.

      1. It is a beautiful spot, definitely.
        This post was just what I needed today, been feeling a little overwhelmed with everything I have going on and then heap on top of it all the external stuff that we really have no say or hand in and it is a bit much.
        Hope you have a merry Christmas and the new year is a good one.

    2. @ Nailbanger

      Na Pali Cliffs in Kauai”; if I remember correctly??? Or maybe that was elsewhere??


  1. For me to start a new adventure I need to read up on what I wish to learn. Research, research, and more research. Even then, there is a moment of fear and uncertainty when I actually begin my new endeavor, and yes you are still likely to make mistakes as you go along. For me, I learn more from my mistakes than I do from reading the steps to doing something. In the beginning you are likely to make some mistakes, but that doesn’t make it a failure. It’s only a failure if you stop trying.

    For me it is learning about fermenting Kombucha, and yes I have already made several mistakes. My first mistake was made after a very successful batch of Kombucha. I had used two clementines in they secondary ferment for added flavor. Well it came out so good, I decided that I wanted to add more flavor on the next batch. So I used four clementines. Then I bottled the batch. The first half of the first bottle that I opened I wore before I ever got a taste. The yeast was sooooo happy with all the added sugar they carbonated the batch to near explosive results.

    There have been other mistakes as well, which is one of the reasons my SCOBY is now pink.

    The point is that you learn better by doing than just reading about it. Just don’t be afraid to try.

  2. “Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself”; Good old Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
    In a time when the world was in a total SHTF we (the country) were able to rise above the “fear”.

    I believe we all have the Fear, or as in an earlier article by Ken, Emotions that control a lot of what we do in life. I will add that fear will at times make us more apprehensive and cautious, not always a bad thing.

    Preparing for the unknown can and is a realization that we really don’t know what’s going to happen, so that “fear” is transformed sometimes turns into “not doing anything” to prepare for the future.
    The failure comes into play when you spend hundreds or thousands of hours and a LOT of $$$$ and nothing happens when you expect it. Basically one believes they have failed with their predictions/preps and this failure begets giving up or quitting.

    While I do encourage people to prepare and to look to the future on “Who What Where When How So-On” I just as strongly suggest looking into the “lifestyle”, there is a difference. Now please don’t get me wrong, not everyone wants to live using the skills and live “differently”, they would rather just buy a bunch of stuff, learn how to build a fire 3 ways, build a BOB, call it good, and keep on going as they are. Everyone has the choices they make.
    I also understand that for a LOT of people the fear of moving from California to a rural, very rural, area and “Homesteading” is EXTREMELY frightening considering the “Fear” of changing their life 10,000%. I also realize that not everyone wants these changes or is fearful of failure. And please do not use the reasoning of a “job” or family, I know what it’s like to make that move, I did 35 years ago, and never EVER looked back. And yes left behind Family and GREAT jobs, but was the best thing I/we could have ever done.

    Ken makes some very valid points to what you can and will miss if you let your “fear” overwhelm you and allow it to make the decisions for you.

    FYI, the photo you chose for the article…. “Been there done that”.


  3. How many times have I heard the words: “I should have done that years ago.”!

    ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step’.

  4. Fear is sometimes a warning to some of us that occasionally do dumb things.

    I will admit crazy things that could have ended me – skiing down a major glacier and having to jump crevasses and mill holes, climbing and skiing remote locations alone – just to name a very few that fear should have warned me against.

    As I get older I have become a better listener.

  5. I have done many things in life that I now regret, only because they were foolhardy or possibly life threatening. Such is youth. I used to live by the ethos “It is better regret something you have done, than to regret something you haven’t done”. So I lived in an extreme existence, and I felt a lust for life!

    Now I am older and hardly do anything anymore. Life seems diminished to me now. I have started making a yearly pilgrimage to the mountains, so I can feel something.

    When I visit with people and regale them with my life adventures and Navy sea stories people seen in awe. It sets me aback. I can’t believe others have not done a quarter of what I have done.

    I don’t have much fear of the unknown, but I do fear becoming sedentary. So I guess the message is do what you can while you can, and when you get to your limit… Go a little bit more, just because YOU CAN!

  6. My credo is:
    The only thing in life worse than taking a risk,
    Is NOT taking that risk.

    Don’t take it and you’ll always be wondering what would have happened if you had only taken it.

  7. Great post today. Trying to work on fear again now that my fog of grief seems to be lifting. I think mom’s spirit is coming through even more strongly because of the holiday season. I bought a few things that I saw on sale for the holidays like sugar and flour. I am already find that I am needing bigger containers, which kind of feels like a mini milestone. Also bought a bottle of fish antibiotics just in case it is outlawed in 2017. Even one bottle is better than none.

  8. I had many fears in my life mostly caught in a dangerous situation to chose the right path.

    Usually in active fear that came on suddenly, there was some minor parallel to relate through another experience to get me through a life or death decision. It made it less frightening having something to relate to. It also helps to react with logic because emotions with fear can make one panic and lose concentration.

    The sedentary fear I go through, there is time to think and evaluate my situations. I play it through my mind many times or actually practice with how it could turn out, good or bad.. and that prepares me better for the outcome. This came in handy while performing motorcycle stunts and racing in my younger years.

    I have learned there is nothing beyond determination, even fear.

  9. Good article Ken but it also reminds me that some of my adventures were mistakes in retrospect.

    I’ve been a government worker for most of my adult life in a variety of state and federal agencies. I had to try and a few of those jobs did not work out for the best. At least now I can say that I’ve been there and dun that. I’ve seen the bear up close and now I am older with all of my fingers and toes with a lot of stories.

    I notice a lot of younger workers ask me about different jobs I have dun these days. I’m at a good place now but it did involve packing up and moving to another state. I live life with no regrets these days. I started out as a public safety officer for the feds during the Reagan presidency because all he was hiring were cops. Along the way, I discovered I was a pretty good paramedic. I went to nursing school after I got tired of playing on the side of the freeway. The rest is history (ancient history at that)

  10. Might have, could have, should have, is usually followed by “would have” which is the excuse. There’s always a rationalization not to do something, thinking of how proud you’ll be of yourself for overcoming that rationalization is hopefully enough incentive to try.

    I never liked heights, but went Airborne in the Army. After that first jump I felt like a million dollars. Well, that and the extra $55/month. Do you know how much beer $55 will buy you at the EM Club?

  11. I started skydiving at 69. I joined a sheriff’s search and rescue team in Arizona at 71. I enjoy life way too much to sit around.

    1. @ woodchuck

      I worked for an Airline for 5 years and I have yet to figure why anyone would jump out of a perfectly good airplane… HAHAHAH

      Of course I don’t have “gills” and I hit 200-250 feet scuba diving… Hummmm I need to rethink that one :-)


  12. I have watched my grandson learning to walk. He falls. He gets up. He falls. He gets up. At no time does he say “I can’t”. He never gets discouraged. A couple of years later, it starts. He steps back from a new task. He says”I can’t”..

    I can’t figure it out. I don’t understand what happens.

    1. He’s doing what he wants to do. He wants to walk, like everybody else.

      The other task-he just doesn’t want to do it, so “I can’t”.

  13. Pieface,

    Look at the first two words of your last sentence. The seed doesn’t fall from the tree. Change that to “I will”.

    1. Guess I had better explain. This is what I call “reverse humour”. I say the exact opposite of what I believe because it is so ludicrous.

      For instance, my husband told me that my favorite and only program I watch was cancelled for a children’s Christmas special and I went on a bah, humbug rant (quite convincly). Another time I went on about how much I would like to own a slave (in a Johnathon Swift, Modest Proposal type idea. Someone actually thought I meant it.

      I will try to be more careful.

  14. Fear….of success or failure has been the driving force of so many wonderful adventures in my life. At my age of 61, I no longer have any real fears….I have jumped the crevasses so many times, that now they only seem as small ravines with an adventurous climb up or down and back again.
    I watch my lovely family (huge) struggle with their 30 and 40 something fears and simply shake my head….take your chances, live life to the fullest and keep moving forward….look back later, chances are there will be plenty of time. Since many of my relatives have lived into their 100’s, I figure I still have 40 years of adventure ahead. Yahoooo

  15. I make a decision at the moment with the best information I have at that time and don’t look back …
    if I’m wrong, I learn from it , if I’m right I learn from it

  16. “I must not fear.
    Fear is the mind-killer.
    Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

    Sorry. I couldn’t help it.

  17. “FEAR SERVES NO PURPOSE” As a young man, tried to experience life, and was bit a time or two……graduated from high school in the hospital, was severely injured after my motorcycle and I were run over by a drunk driver, a few years later I lost a hand when a full stick of 30% nitro blew up while blowing tree stumps……….. it changed my life and set on a new path…..having lived and done most things some people only dream of ….now in my late 60s and realize that incident changed my life for the better. There is no bad life only unlived lifes. You cant appreciate being on top if you have never experienced the bottom.

    1. Sorry ice but I don’t agree. fear is not a bad thing. letting fear control your life is. Fear is the minds way of saying stop. look. think and decide. people talk about courage. Courage is not a lack of fear it is knowing fear then going ahead and doing something anyway. I had an uncle that got a silver star in WW2 for going out on a bridge under fire and dragging his sergeant back under cover,he also got a purple heart that same day. he told me he was never more afraid in his life but couldn’t let that man just lay there and bleed to death. There is nothing wrong with fear.

      1. I think you miss understand my intent, it is not that fear is bad, it is however not allowing fear to rule, dictate, or keep you down like what mentioned “fall forward” so in a lot of cases people fear moving forward….thats what should be feared. lol

  18. I watched my parents live in fear their entire lives. Neither had any faith in the other partner, nor did they emotionally support each other. Seemed like a doomed relationship from the start, and as a child their “relationship” was stormy at best, downright terrible most of the time.
    I vowed to never, ever, live like that again. I haven’t. When I learned that MY fears, were the only “fear” thing that held me back, I began to excel at my chosen goals.
    Did I fall down? All the time, however, at least I fell forward! yeah, it smarts to fall flat on one’s face, but you ARE falling forward and making progress towards our end goal.

    Fear is the worst paralytic known to mankind.(in my personal rather subjective opinion)

    1. I like your description of ‘falling forward’. Perfect… We all fail at times and so long as we keep going, our intermittent failures are simply falling forward along the way.

  19. Fear is (or can be) a warning. However, if you’re doing something (or not doing something) out of fear it’s the wrong reason. Every time. If you’re afraid, work to get that fear out of the way. Once the fear is no longer an issue examine the problem or possibility with your head and heart.

    In 2011 I took a leap of faith. I quit my job to write. I knew it had to be done but I was scared stiff, unable to move either forward or back. Once I got the fear out of the way the path cleared. I jumped. I can’t say I’ve never regretted it. Living month to month on little to no income is a source of fear in itself. But I’ve never been happier. It also allowed me to be home with my parents during the last few years, which was an unexpected bonus.

    Fear may be a catalyst, but don’t allow it to become a reason.

  20. When we decided to move into our RV and travel friends either said “you can’t do that” or “I wish I could do that”. What if you don’t like it, or each other? Where will you come home to? You can’t get rid of all your stuff! Well, we haven’t sold our property, or gotten rid of much. But we did move in the RV and travel. Was it worth it? Yep! Were we sorry? Nope! Does everyone have to do it, no way nor should they if it’s not their dream. We are now trying to decide what our next step will be. Lots of planning and research and prayer to make the right decisions. We still want to travel a few more years then settle down again, plus that age thing.

    People do what you want to. Life is short and precious. It can end abruptly like we found out with our son in law this last fall. So, follow your dreams and if fear holds you back maybe you didn’t want it bad enough. But sitting around and wishing to change things is a huge waste of time and energy! Like that saying… feel the fear and do it anyway!

    1. Miss I Made it Myself,

      You’re living my dream! I love the idea of RV traveling around our beautiful USA! We’re looking at RVs, studying and planning. It’s a large expense and we’re trying to get it right the first time. I guess this would be considered being a little fearful, but I call it looking at it from all sides and trying to make the best decision.

      Also, we will have a lot of stuff to take with us! Where do I put all the freeze-dried food? Maybe haul a trailer behind the RV? :D

      love ya’ll, Beach’n

      1. You might want to look at a toyhauler. It is a fifth wheel with a garage that folks use for many different things. You can store lots of stuff in there!

  21. Perhaps fear should be interpreted as common sense – there was a time when My travel desires included historic areas of the world that now are considered dangerous – some parts of; the middle east, south seas, africa, south america … I have no plans to spend a vacation in a North Korean prison. Perhaps I am missing some adventures but that is now my more conservative (and preservative) nature.

    1. I have no desire to go those places! Lots to see in your own beautiful country!

  22. Winston Churchill: Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.

    Winston Churchill: Never, never, never, give up.

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