We have a fear of failure. But the most difficult thing we ever learn is achieved by a baby!

September 18th 2020

So why as adults do we feel anxiety at lesser challenges?


Think about what is involved in walking.  There is the firing of all the muscles in the legs, hips and lower back.  There is the co-ordination between one leg and the other.  Then bring in the arms, the muscles needed to swing those in time with the leg movements. There is the balance.  The heart may need to beat faster to supply oxygen to the muscles.  There is the need for vision to avoid you walking into things and co-ordinate what your eyes are picking up with all those muscle actions.

I have been told recently that it is the most complex thing we ever learn to do.  And yet we entrust that learning to a baby!

So in theory, anything we ever then face is less tricky than what we have already achieved so should be faced from a platform of relative confidence, right???

Good in theory but it doesn’t seem to make it’s way into practise.  We worry about ‘stepping’ out of that comfort zone and doing something we have not yet conquered.

And the reason…..A baby has no fear of failure.  It is responding to instinct and has no concerns about whether the other babies are walking earlier, quicker or better.

But as we grow, that awareness comes and one of the greatest fears is around the fear of being judged.

And the reality is, we will be judged!

So here is the stinger – we will be judged.  Judgement of others is strongly linked to our primary instinct – that of survival.  We need to judge others so that we can react to perceived threat or allow love into our lives.

However, we have moved one step beyond judgement to be able to become mind readers.  We ‘know’ that that person is going to judge us badly, or think we are stupid/conceited/showing off….add to the list!  And that ‘knowledge’ often means we ‘stay on our bottom’ and don’t get up and walk!

But of course, we are not mind readers!

And the moral of the story.....

Act like a baby!

Usually this is a derogatory comment but not in this case.  Be like a baby – trust your instinct.  Reach for the thing you want to achieve.  Don’t care what other ‘might’ people think because this is about you and what you want to do.  Drop the need to mind read what everyone else is thinking – chances are you are wrong anyway!

And the bottom line – you’ve achieved the most complex thing you will ever learn as a small child – anything else is within your ability!

What do you think about this as an approach to overcoming anxiety?  Does this change your perspective of what is possible when you look at things in this way?  I’d love you to share your insights with me and the comments box below is waiting to receive them.

Caroline Cavanagh is an anxiety specialist and hypnotherapist in Salisbury, Wiltshire.  Please get in touch if you would like to know more about her work

Back to Top


One response to “We have a fear of failure. But the most difficult thing we ever learn is achieved by a baby!”

  1. Leanda Green says:

    Love this analogy Caroline. It’s so true
    My P was such a plucky toddler. She was premature so we thought she would be late with a lot of stuff but, boy, did she prove us and doctors wrong. She was fearless until she hit the teens.

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *