Monday, May 20

How a fear of failing will affect you


Photo by Alpha Stock Images

THE pressure to succeed in school is a real struggle for a lot of students.

These days, for some of them, they’re continuously pressured to achieve good grades and are told that failure is not an option.

The pressure, whether from their parents or peers, is a constant reminder for them that only good grades will assure a better life in the future.

If left to persist, this fear – caused by the stigma surrounding failure – could actually affect students’ ability to learn.

According to a study by Bilkent University in Turkey, the fear of failing at school can influence a student’s motivation and have a negative impact on learning.

The study, which was conducted on 606 secondary school students and 435 university students, found that those who developed a fear of failure at an early age were more likely to adopt goals such as mastering the material presented in a class or to avoid doing worse than other students to validate their ego, rather than for their own personal interest and development.

Because of this, the students’ interest in learning was destroyed and they were less likely to adopt effective learning strategies and, worse still, they were more likely to cheat.

Apart from students’ attitude towards learning, the fear of failing can also affect students physiologically and emotionally.

As grades are emphasised more than self-growth and development, students with a fear of failing will definitely face the consequences, such as negative thinking, intense worrying, and replaying in their minds the problematic incidents that occurred in previous classes.

In addition, they may also experience fatigue and low energy, are emotionally drained, dissatisfied with their life, and experience chronic anxiety, hopelessness and depression.

The fear of failing also prevents students from reaching their fullest potential.

When deciding on goals to pursue, they may tend to focus more on preventing losses rather than achieving gains.

Socially, this may make them afraid of trying new things or gaining new experiences, as they’re afraid that these might make them fail even more.

It’s not easy to erase this fear of failure but if you’re a student it’s important for you to look at failure as a learning experience and a temporary setback, rather than as an irreversible stumbling block to your future success.

The key is to keep striving to achieve your goals and never give up on your dreams.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.