The child is born with no fears, except those of falling and loud noises. All other fears have to be taught to the child as he or she grows up.
The two major fears we all develop are the fear of failure or loss and the fear of criticism or rejection. We begin to learn the fear of failure if we are continually criticized and punished when we try something new or different. We are shouted at and told, "No! Get away from there! Stop that! Put that down!" Physical punishment and the withholding of love, possibilities that scare us and make us feel insecure, often accompany these shouts and criticisms.
We soon begin to believe that we are too small, too weak, incompetent, inadequate, and incapable of doing anything new or different. We express this feeling with the words, "I can't, I can't, I can't." Whenever we think about doing something new or challenging, we automatically respond with feelings of fear, trembling, and a churning stomach. We react exactly as if we are afraid of getting a spanking. We say, "I can't" over and over.
The fear of failure is the primary reason for failure in adult life. As the result of destructive criticism in childhood, we hold ourselves back as adults. We sell ourselves short. We quit before we even try the first time. Instead of using our amazing minds to figure out how to get what we want, we use our reasoning ability to create reasons why we can't, and why the things we want are not possible for us.
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