Sounds like a mouthful right? You’d be shocked to find that this phobia is actually very common among most teens and adults. For all of you curious minds, let me tell you what this fear is.

Kakorrhaphiobia: The fear of failure.

Such a long word for something everyone seems to experience at some point. We change our life plans and decisions based on the idea that we don’t want to fail. We decide to play it safe because we don’t want to embarrass ourselves, but at what cost? If we play it safe, we never get to do the things we’ve always wanted to do.

The most successful people have never “played it safe”. I’m a female business major, which isn’t too common these days. I have real goals for myself that make most adults laugh at me. And what do I know? Maybe one day those goals will make me crash and burn, but I want to at least try. I don’t want to always be wondering what could’ve been if I just had the courage to try. With trying can come failure, but we don’t need to be afraid of failure. Failure is a part of life whether we want to admit it or not. It’s in almost anything you do, and it allows you to find out what you’re good at and what you’re not.

For those with anxiety or panic disorder with me, failure is this always looming ominous cloud. Anxiety of any kind is almost fully based on ideas beginning with “what if?”. I know that it doesn’t seem possible to get around the what ifs, but eventually if you persist you will.

One of my earlier childhood “what ifs” was a situation with leggings. I felt so insecure about my body and was sure that someone would say something hurtful to me if I wore leggings out in public. My what if was being afraid that someone would say something or the idea that I might look dumb. Now, this isn’t directly about failure, but it does somewhat relate. So, knowing that I wouldn’t ever be able to just walk out of the house in leggings, I began to train myself. I started wearing leggings around the house for a couple of hours a day. Then, I’d wear them out grocery shopping with my mom or going to visit people with my dad. Eventually, I got to the point of being able to wear them to school.

If I hadn’t made myself push past the what ifs and given leggings a chance, I’d be really upset now as I basically only wear leggings in the winter. I didn’t want to embarrass myself, just like most people don’t want to fail. But, the whole point of that little story is that it’ll always be a part of life and the only way it changes is if we change our mindset on it. Failure isn’t a bad thing, but rather shows learning.


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