Overcoming fear of failure

Acharya Prashant
5 min readJul 27, 2021

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Questioner (Q): Whenever I want to do something new, I am always afraid that I might fail. So, I keep a backup plan for myself, that in case I fail, I will do this another thing. And I don’t know if this is the right way of thinking or approaching a new thing.

Acharya Prashant (AP): No it’s good. Plan A fails, you want to have plan B. plan B fails, then plan C is there. It’s alright.

But you must also know that plan A, B, C, X, Y, Z, they may all fail. The cause-effect link in the Universe is beyond all pre-emptive calculations. So, to the extent you can, plan out, try to make yourself safe, secure. That is the tendency of the mind. Alright? We must not blame it for that. But what if everything fails, would you collapse? Would you? And there would be so many times when everything fails.

You must know that you are thinking, organizing, planning, managing; yet the outcome must never become too significant for you. Your planning succeeds, wonderful. You tried something, it works. Nice, good. Your planning would often not work, that should be equally good.

Now, there is a little bit of a contradiction here. You would say that “If the failure of planning is as good as the success of planning, then why plan at all?” If you can realize this, then don’t plan. But the basic tendency of the mind is to seek security. So, you will find that it does think, organize, manage, execute. Let it do, all of that.

But don’t let the tricks, games, tendencies of the mind, become too meaningful for you. When your plan succeeds, pat yourself on the back. When your plan doesn’t succeed, shrug off the failure. It’s okay.

Q: Sir, but at the very thought of doing something new, I am thinking negatively about it. Like, what if I fail, this is my first thought.

AP: Have you not already failed if you are afraid of failure? Look at the whole thing. Look at, how one builds herself up.

You have not been trying new stuff. That’s what you say. You have been trying to remain safe in your old and conventional ways. And that’s how the entire self, the entire system has been built up over time, right? Now had this process of playing…

Acharya Prashant