In our societies, a great amount of emphasis is placed on a person’s performance. And people are conditioned from a very young age to believe they have to prove their worth in order to be accepted and rewarded.
Parents often raise their children within a system of reward or punishment. The child is rewarded if they comply with the rules, and they are punished if they fail to comply.
And the vast majority of children go through an education system where their performance is under constant scrutiny. If a child fails an exam, their performance is judged to be lacking. And exam grades given to children remain relevant for the rest of their lives because most employers will ask for them.
Once into adulthood, if a person flunks their job and doesn’t find another income, their performance will be judged as lacking. Their credit rating will drop, the bank can repossess their home, and quite quickly they can end up living from scraps.
People are pressured into conformity and submission. They are conditioned to follow rules and jump through hoops — or else suffer the consequences.
As a result, people strive to perform in order to feel safe. And during this process, they often develop a deep sense of insecurity. They come to believe that if they don’t perform in a certain way — they won’t make it, they won’t be accepted, they won’t be happy, they won’t survive.
Conditioned by a fear of failure and punishment; people act in ways to protect themselves.
They seek the rewards of social approval, financial security and status. So, they spend years obtaining qualifications. And then they head for jobs and careers that are most accepted and rewarded in society. They conform, in order to feel safe.
And during this process, people will often disregard their own values, interests and beliefs. They tend to become preoccupied with egocentric desires. They get lost in the maya of comparing themselves to others. And they usually begin to identify with their qualifications, their credentials, their job title, their credit rating, and so on. And this identification becomes their claim for status and reward.
But unless a person develops a strong sense of self, they will still feel threatened. And even those who become ‘successful’ will often end up living with shame and self-doubt. They continue to be haunted by their insecurities. They continue to suffer from performance anxiety.
On one hand, their fear of failure, ridicule and uncertainty continues to stifle their progress. On the other hand, they will not feel satisfied by their performance when comparing themselves to others.
The Descent of the Ego
And things can go down hill further. Because a person can become so desperate to uphold a certain image of their performance, that they become delusional and deceptive.
So, they begin to construct a facade. They lock themselves within a delusion of grandeur — a fragile illusion of their ego. And they will not want to admit anything that could taint the self-concept they have constructed. They are too insecure to admit their failures and shortcomings. And this insecurity prevents them from accessing the humility necessary to truly understand and develop themselves.
And the fear of failure can also manifest in various other forms.
Some people will continually procrastinate and sabotage their own progress in life. And this is often a strategy to avoid the pain of failure. They do not feel confident enough to risk the possible negative consequences of failure. And so, they languish in the cosy familiarity of their comfort zone. They become another brick in the wall — too afraid to follow their own calling.
And some people are frightened of success. They are frightened of the change, of the unknown, of the potential new challenges. And this fear keeps them clinging to their comfort zone.
Other people become overly focused on perfection. They get stuck in the insecurity of not feeling good enough or worthy. They disempower themselves through self-depreciation. They judge themselves by what society deems as ‘successful’. And then they often give up on their aspirations prematurely.
And you see, all of these examples are often the sad result of the rigid conditioning and programming that people go through in life. Because people become so frightened of negative consequences; that they end up contorting themselves in a bid to protect themselves.
The System is Rigged
You have to maintain some compassion for people because this world can be very cruel. And despite our apparently ‘advanced’ civilisation; it is still customary to manipulate, harass, and punish people for entirely non-criminal offences, such as simply not performing to certain standards.
And it’s a shame because the conditioning of people via fear has resulted in the restriction and suppression of individuality, creativity, spontaneity and natural ability. And these are the qualities needed for advancement and evolution.
We live in a system that prioritises mindless economic productivity over creativity, happiness, and health. A system that treats people as commodities, whilst playing them against each other.
And it only carries on this way because the majority of people are broken by fear, and function from insecurity. And are therefore, much more likely to conform and tick-tock along, and to act in ways to exploit and restrict others, in a bid to protect themselves.
Everyone is expected to have a business mindset. But many people lose their way trying to function in this mentality. And many people cannot adapt well to a culture dominated by economic servitude and survival.
The real qualities in this world are kindness, respect, generosity, truth, wisdom, creativity, compassion, humility and honour. However, performance measures in our societies rarely account for these qualities.
Beyond the Fear of Failure
Most of us have to jump through some hoops to make ends meet in this world. But you have to remember that success and failure as dictated by our societies are not accurate measurements of your worth.
You are not your bank account, you are not your education grades, you are not your job title. You are a multidimensional spiritual being having an experience in the Earth plane.
Your performance is your ability to apply your understanding, skills and resources to achieve the things you want to achieve. How other people and institutions evaluate your performance does not necessarily have any relevance.
You have your own inner compass — your own bearing on success. No one else can determine that for you.
Detach yourself from societal expectations and follow your compass. Honour your authenticity and your values. Head for what you feel has intrinsic meaning. Look for ways that enhance your happiness. Focus on your strengths and resources.
Trust yourself and follow your inner inspiration. Make a map of your goals and start making moves. Set yourself achievable goals and break them up into smaller, manageable steps. Develop yourself in ways that are aligned with your goals. And step out of your comfort zone at times and take some risks.
Reflect on past challenges that you’ve overcome. Remember your accomplishments in life. Think back on all the goals you have achieved — even the small things. Reassure yourself. And celebrate your achievements on the journey towards your goals.
Visualise and imagine yourself achieving what it is you want to achieve. This will help to provide you with more positive expectations — it will help you to feel more confident.
And remember — failure is how you learn lessons and develop yourself. Be willing to fail. Challenges are opportunities to grow and develop. Everyone makes mistakes, but don’t derail yourself with too much negative self-talk. Recognise what is going well, and acknowledge the changes you are making to improve yourself and your life.
Ditch perfectionism and don’t compare yourself to others. Go your own way and keep going. Be patient and steadfast. Be brave. And trust that you will be able to adapt to the changes you are creating.
You have your own unique talents and gifts. It is up to you to go beyond the fear of failure, and to step into the power of your individuality.