How to Conquer the 3 Fs that F You: Fear, Failure, Frustration

Why haven’t you accomplished your most important goal? What’s standing in your way?

Fear, failure, and frustration inevitably lead to distractions and excuses. But they don’t have to paralyze us and prevent us from moving forward.

With determination and a proactive mindset, you can work past those roadblocks, overcome fears, and start turning your distant goals into reality.


The best practical tips to conquer fear and anxiety

Fear is a natural evolutionary response that usually causes a “fight or flight” reaction. We often experience physical changes such as shortness of breath, increased heart rate, sweating, chills, trembling muscles, and “butterflies” in the stomach.

Anxiety triggers a similar response but tends to be centered around the future rather than a present threat. It is not uncommon to suffer from anxiety and persistent fears about the future. Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in the United States, affecting 18.1% of the population (about 40 million adults) in a year.

In December 2020, during the pandemic, more than 42% of surveyed adults reported anxiety symptoms.

Facing your fear is no simple task. If your fear and anxiety are severe, you should seek professional help.

Here are some steps you can take on your own to conquer your fears:

Identify your fear

A solution requires a diagnosis. What is causing your fear? Take some quiet time with your thoughts and enter problem-solving mode. Once you’ve identified the source, you’ll be better prepared to confront it.

Listen to your fear

We don’t like being afraid, but there’s a reason we have gut feelings. Trying to shove your fear completely away rarely yields the result you want. Instead, listen to your subconscious. Lean on your fear as a source of caution to prevent you from charging headlong into bad situations. Train it to be an ally rather than an enemy.

Recognize the excuses

Fear is the master of procrastination and excuses. When you catch yourself putting tasks off because you “don’t have time” or “it’s a dumb idea anyway,” stop and think about why you aren’t doing what you should be. Assess your priorities. Learn to identify and refute the little voice in the back of your mind making excuses. 

Create small, achievable goals

If your attention is at the top of the mountain, you’re going to feel overwhelmed standing at the bottom looking up. Instead, focus on the next few steps and the nearest checkpoint. Give yourself targets that are in reach and likely to result in accumulated successes that will bring you closer to your end goal over time.

Surround yourself with a positive network

If the people around you are enabling the excuses, it’s time to ally yourself with achievers who are committed to overcoming their fears and pursuing their goals. You might be surprised by how that powerful, positive energy influences your confidence.

Accept the inevitability of failure

The fear of failure shouldn’t prevent you from trying. Everyone fails, even world leaders, successful CEOs, doctors, celebrities—the list is endless because nobody experiences eternal success. The hard truth is that failure is often the best teacher.

Graph of the most common anxiety-related nightmares


How to overcome failure and the fear of failure in your life

If you’ve identified failure as the primary roadblock between you and your goals, you’re either afraid of failure, or you’ve been knocked down and haven’t mustered the courage to get back up again yet.

Overpowering failure is just as important as conquering your fears. Here are a few easy methods to try:

Develop positive, healthy habits

Avoid falling into bad habits like drinking alcohol to dull the pain of failure. A healthy mind, body, and attitude can do wonders with keeping the positive momentum going so you can live your ideal life.

Take responsibility

Pretending that nothing went wrong isn’t going to magically make everything right again. Own up to your mistakes, and when necessary, take the extra steps to minimize the damage.

Look forward, not backward

You shouldn’t dwell on your failures, but you also shouldn’t brush them off and try to forget them immediately. Learn from your mistakes. Then move on. 

Find inspiration in failure-to-success stories

After repeated failures with the electric lightbulb, Thomas Edison famously said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Bezos, Vera Wang—all famous failures. Read stories of people who turned failure into success for inspiration to keep trying. Maybe you’ll be on that list someday.



Tips to deal with frustration and anger in a calm and productive way

Some of the most common causes of frustration are miscommunication, uncomfortable new experiences, and lack of progress.

The Anger Iceberg

But even if frustration is a symptom of your slow or nonexistent progress, it doesn’t have to be a cause. Here are some healthy ways to overcome frustration:

Breathing exercises

When you become aware of your frustration, take action to relieve the building pressure. Meditation is a great way to resume control of your racing heart, but even the simple act of controlling your breathing for a few minutes will help.

Go outside

Fresh air does wonders for the mind and body. Even if you can’t escape into the middle of nature, a backyard or a balcony still has a healing, calming effect.


While it may not be your favorite activity, exercise can be a great remedy to work off your frustration. Running and weight lifting are fantastic ways to transfer your energy. Dancing can help you transition from a place of anger to a happier mood. 

Distract yourself

If you find yourself ruminating on negativity, sometimes the best medicine is a distraction to help your mind settle. When you return to the problem at hand, your mind should be clearer. You might find that the size of the problem has also diminished.

Focus on solutions, not problems

You’ll never solve the issue if your attention is solely on the problem rather than the remedy. Be proactive. Create a list of pros and cons if you need to, as long as the majority of your energy is going into a solution.

Positive visualization

It sounds cliché, but a positive self-image can help you set healthy mental habits to beat fear, failure, and frustration. Focus on the good, and the bad will recede. 


Take the risk and chase what you want in life 

When you take proactive steps to face your fears, tame your frustration, and work through your failures, you’re taking the first steps toward true progress and reaching your goals.

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