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Fear And Entrepreneurship – How An Entrepreneur Should Deal With Fear


We are all afraid to fail. Fear is the root cause of failure. In my opinion, the average Nigerian prospective undergraduate writes JAMB at least twice. I wrote it three times. Twice more than was necessary simply because I was stuck on science when I clearly wasn’t cut out for it.

Or maybe I should just admit I wasn’t cut out for school. No, that was me digressing.

I attempted the JAMB exam many times because I had a point to prove. I wasn’t particularly interested in going to school at the time. But how dare I mention such blasphemy in a house that had produced four first-class upper graduates in science and an engineer? Where would I say my bus is coming from? Where would I say it is headed?

Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don't Have An Idea
Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don’t Have An Idea

See Also: 35 Booming business ideas and step-by-step guides to start them.

And so I stubbornly registered science courses the second time and failed.

The reason why most people fail JAMB is because they do not determine on time the subject area they are suited for. A person may be arts inclined but family pressure will make him choose the sciences. Or they may be trying to prove a point. For me, I do know I wanted to show I could do it. The day I decided to change the script and do commercial subjects was the day fates agreed with me. I had an impressive score in JAMB for the first time.

I shared that story to make a point; failure is not necessarily a bad thing. If you failed, I take it to mean you tried something new. You dared to be different. And that is not something to be taken lightly or ashamed of.

I have many pet peeves, as regulars on here would know. One of them is people who constantly talk about how they are better at something than the people actually doing it.

Let me explain what I mean.

I’m sure we have that one friend who complains every time a musician; say Olamide or WizKid or Asa comes on the TV. You hear things like: “What is he/she singing sef? I can do better than that!”

Those are the kind of people I’m talking about. If you can do better, why aren’t you doing it?

I have more respect for someone who jumped without a safety net, crashed badly, and gave up than I have for someone who played it safe all her life but talks down on people living their dreams.

Oga, shut up.

If I had known back then what I know now, I would have forgiven myself for failing. I would have gone a lot easier on the boy I was. I would have given him more space to follow his heart. And even though I’m pretty much living my dream now, I still see some of the effects of the cruelty I subjected the boy to.

I should have applauded his willingness to fail.

“You never know till you try” was what the secondary school senior said to me many years ago during my secondary education when I told him about a crush of mine. You see, I was scared. I thought girls carried balls of fire on their heads. But I really liked this girl and I badly wanted to be friends with her. I kept thinking; “what if she says no?”

He flipped the coin. What he asked me was; “what if she says yes? You’ll never know till you try.”

A very simple truth.

Too many people fail by default. They simply never try. In reality, there’s so much to fear. In reality, also anything is possible.

I don’t think there is any human being on this planet who does not have something they are scared of. I do not believe it is realistic. However, it is interesting to note that our fears are relative to our beliefs. We hardly ever fear the same things. Everything we fear is based on our experiences, our knowledge, and so on. Just like our faces are different, so are our fears.

Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days
Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days

It must be true then what they say; ‘the only thing to fear is fear itself’.

Everything is possible. Anything can be done. The question is: what are you willing to sacrifice to make it happen? How far are you willing to go to make your dream a possibility? Or are you so scared of failing that you’ve given up even before trying?

My recommendation to you: do one thing that scares you daily. Is it talking to an old friend? Is it visiting your parents? Singing at a karaoke bar? Competing in a competition? Just try to do it. You can do it!

Even if you never make it past the first stage, you can at least say you tried. That in itself is comforting. Somebody said ‘I don’t fail; I just find ways by which it cannot work’.

Having a level of optimism is not bad. If nothing else, you’re better than someone who never tried.

And that is the reality that changes the world. Do one thing today; anything you’ve been putting off for a while, especially because of fear.

Be brave enough to fail.

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