Fear of Failure Magnification Effect

Fear of Failure Magnification Effect

We set SMART goals and their achievements is the parameter of our success. Many times we fail to achieve them. The greater the gap between the levels of reaching our targeted goals and what we achieve is, the bigger our failure we feel is.

The keyword here is failure. This is discouraging for we know that failure is the springboard to success. In complex systems that are prone to the butterfly effect deviation from the target is possible. Focusing on the results is stressing. Being excessively obsessed by achieving goals blind us to the lessons we may learn from the journey and the reasons behind the failure. Setting goals fixes the mind and its growth from the lessons learned during the journey to achieve set goals. The fear of not achieving them will cloud our minds from seeing the learning opportunities.


More disturbing is our propensity to magnify failures and make them bigger than what really they are. We see the “voids” of failure bigger and get even more stressed. This in turn reduces our mindsets elasticity to bounce back from failure. Instead of having growing mindsets we tend to fix them. identifying cognitive distortions (faulty ways of thinking) result from such magnified failure feelings.

                                                                                                   Fear of Failure Magnification Effect

Reaching a goal is a journey and in each step of it we need to get feedback of so as to adapt and may even change the path of the journey.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) miss greatly having what I call for (Feedback KPIs). Feedback KPIs are the indicators that prompt us to make the journey adaptable, realistic and a journey of learning. Even reaching goals without Feedback KPIs may boost our confidence, but shall deny us of the prospect to learn from the journey. This is a serious drawback.


Fear is the antagonist of creativity. Failing to achieve goals will not allow the experimentation of new ideas and approaches. Fear is a freezer of creativity.

Not reaching specific goals will engulf us with many different cascading forms of fear. Fear of sacking, fear of being mocked at, fear of losing confidence, fear of labeling as incompetent, fear of recruiting staff with different experiences, but with wider view and imagination and fear of being daring to explore. The compounded effect of these fears is greater than their sum.

Creativity is what keeps a business in the blue ocean and we place people in the read ocean of fear.
Ali Anani, PhD

We experience a living case. Researchers are seeking to find cure for the corona virus. Imagine telling these researchers you have one month to find a drug for it. Will these researches focus on trying different approaches and experimenting them, or would they be filled with fear to try any new idea? The fear of uncertainty shall whelm those researchers.

What do you think? I believe that businesses passionate with KPIs are not creative enough to face the changing landscape of business. Fear is creativity killer.


I dedicate this post to the couple Charlee Hanna and David Hanna for their continued support exceeds beyond what words can say.



#30 @Jerry Fletcher

Dear Jerry- your comment is consistent and supports my thought on feedback indicators. We are in agreement.

+1 +1
Jerry Fletcher May 14, 2020 · #30

#29 Dr. Ali, the key is feedback. Often, things like KPIs are the invention of academics. I work with guys and gals t hat have been and are in the trenches usually in the C-suite. the better ones all look for real feedback mechanisms and are not above getting their hands dirty in the operation to find what works. And so it goes.

+2 +2

#28 @Jerry Fletcher

Dear Jerry, your comment brings to many issues that need further discussions.

AS complex as the human body is, measurement of body temperature and pressure may give indication of the healthiness of the body.
As much as the weather is complex, wind speed, humidity, temperature and pressure are indicative of the weather forecast for the next few days.
I love the idea of your friend to use Key Volume Indicators for it is simple.
What we need more in my opinion is indicators to inform us how good the feedback is along the path. This helps in adapting the journey.

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Jerry Fletcher May 13, 2020 · #28

Dr. Ali, One of my clients finds KPIs useless. He prefers Key Volume Indicators (KVI). as he says, "This is data available that best reflects current and near-term levels of business activity. It may be one simple measure such as gallons or tons ordered. In the case of businesses with a more complex product or service mix, each key business line may need a specific KVI. The KVI should be linked to a ratio of labor required to deliver the product or service. This allows the Leadership Team to calculate the labor hours required to meet demand. Measures such as Units Ordered and Hours Worked are more useful in determining ratios and making business adjustments.
The other important aspect is to have the KVI’s reported graphically as daily trends, with the current data compared to forecast or previous period. This will make the impacts clearly visible quickly and enable rapid adjustments by the team. " And so it goes.

+3 +3

#26 @Fay Vietmeier

Very well-expressed comment dear Fay.

+1 +1
Fay Vietmeier May 13, 2020 · #26

#22 @Neil Smith
What you share reminds me of the mission & values statements that are empty words ... rain clouds that never rain
Platitudes ... from plastic people
If a company can't walk their talk they should just be silent ;~)

+3 +3

#24 Dear @Fay Vietmeier

My spiritual-mentor-you make me wonder because whatever I like you see to find a spiritual explanation for it. Yes, no one knows to which direction the wind blows and we shall never know. We make reasonable guesses,but we can not make precise predictions. The weather forecasts are the proof to what I say.

I wonder my friend if you read the excellent comment by @Neil Smith #22. Here is a new sharp mind and Neil is most welcome.

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Fay Vietmeier May 12, 2020 · #24

#21 @Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee
I found the slideshare
https://www.slideshare.net/hudali15/complexity-thoughts
... excellent my dear Professor ...
... the comments about the wind made me think of this very key moment ...
Nicodemus visits Jesus at night wanting to learn more about what he was teaching;
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” ~ John 3

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