I was reading one of Richard Branson’s quick reads, ” Lessons in Life, Screw it, Lets Do it”. Global entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson has built a business empire and made billions, yet is renowned for his approachability, ability to challenge and succeed against the odds. In this book he has narrated many interesting instances of his life, the odds which he fought against to turn the tables in his favor. In fact he started the habit of fighting the odds quite early in his life, in fact from the time he started going to school. At school he found reading and writing hard, back then dyslexia wasn’t understood and his teachers just thought that he was lazy. Instead of getting bogged down he taught himself to learn things by heart and he says “Now I have a very good memory and it has become one of my best tools in business”.
The people who see failure, see mountains, but people like Branson see mountains as slightly differently shaped roads. The image of failure is much larger than the size of the thing which might cause it. The staff at virgin have a name for Sir Branson, its ‘Dr Yes’. He says “they call me this because I won’t say no. I find more reasons to do things than not to do them. My motto really is: ‘Screw it – lets do it!’.”
When Richard Branson was only 15, he started Student magazine, people said he couldn’t do it. They said he was too young and had no experience. They were right and made sense, but Branson believed in his dream and thought it could be done. He did his sums with care, worked out how mch the paper and print bill would be. Then he worked out the income sales and from selling advertising pages, his mother gave him 4 pounds for stamps, his school frined Jonny Gems and he spent almost two years writing hundreds of letters trying to sell space. He also tried to get interviews with famous people. His efforts paid when he got his first cheque for advertising space. It was 250 pounds, a huge amount. His belief paid off.
All of us say NO to things, activities, tasks and most of the time because we think, what if it fails!!!.
Fear of failure is the most dreaded fears of all. In our world where you have phrases like “nothing succeeds like success” Such fears get more institutionalized. Failure is taken as a dreaded disease and the person who fails is treated as an outcast. The fear of failure keeps us from trying to succeed. The fear of losing keeps us from trying. The fear of what everyone else will think, keeps us from stepping out boldly. The fear of ridicule keeps us from declaring our failure. When we overcome this fear, we don’t even bother if we have failed in our attempts, we just know that we have not reached yet, and need more walking. If the path you travel has no obstacles, it leads nowhere.
Fear of change, fear of taking risks, fear of ridicule or that someone will disapprove of your goals and dreams – these are the enemies of intention and transformation. Enemy of fear is courage, courage is not the absence of fear, it is acting in spite of fear.
Only humans know how to laugh and how to laugh at. And because of this unique competency of knowing how to laugh at, they have developed this dreaded disease called Atychiphobia (from the Greek phóbos, meaning “fear” or “morbid fear” and atyches meaning “unfortunate”). It is the abnormal, unwarranted, and persistent fear of failure. It is a disease, which has spread like plague killing innovation, inventions, creativity, enthusiasm.
All of us have watched lion chasing his prey in discovery channel. To catch their prey lions have to be smart. If the prey is sighted some distance away the lions may at first move quite rapidly towards them. As they approach they go into the stalking posture with heads and bodies held low, intently watching the prey, freezing should they look in their direction, then moving forward as the prey look away, or down to continue feeding. Eventually, if they are lucky, the lions manage to get within striking distance, which is 20-30 m from the prey. When they strike the prey still have a better than even chance of escaping. And if they escape, lion just walks away stoically to hunt again. No shame, no fear. No atychiphobia.