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THE FEAR OF failure is the greatest single obstacle to success in adult life. Note that it is not failure itself. Failure makes you stronger and more resilient and more determined. It is the fear of failure or the anticipation of failure that can paralyze your thoughts and your activities and hold you back from even trying to do the things that you need to do to be a big success. A young journalist once asked Thomas J. Watson Sr., the founder of IBM, how he could be more successful faster.
Watson replied with these wonderful words: “If you want to be successful faster, you must double your rate of failure. Success lies on the far side of failure.” Dare to go forward. Self-made millionaires are not gamblers, but they are always willing to take calculated risks in the direction of their goals to achieve greater rewards. In fact, your attitude toward risk taking is probably the most important indicator of your readiness to become wealthy. Whenever you are faced with a risky situation, ask yourself this question, What is the worst possible thing that could happen if I go ahead?
Then, as J. Paul Getty, the self-made oil billionaire, said, you should make sure that, whatever it is, it doesn’t happen. The fact is that everyone is afraid of failure. Everyone is afraid of loss and poverty. Everyone is afraid of making a mistake and being set back. But self-made millionaires are those who consciously and deliberately face this fear and take action anyway.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Make a habit throughout your life of doing the things you fear. If you do the thing you fear, the death of fear is certain.” When you act boldly, unseen forces will come to your aid.