Are you afraid of failure? Who isn’t? We’re all afraid of failing in some form or another. Whether it’s a small test at school, a new hobby, or trying to find your first job. Generally, we are afraid of losing something we already have (our job/home/accomplishment) or something that has not occurred yet. Fear of failure is part of human nature and we can’t change that fact.
If you find yourself struggling with a fear of failure, remember that there are resources and people out there who can help you. Seek out professional help if necessary, and don’t be afraid to ask for support from your friends and family. With the right help and mindset, you can overcome your fear of failure and start living the life you want to live.
Fear of failure is not only a personal problem but a common trait among human beings as we push ourselves further and further to success. As one of the most common fears, failure is something we’re all likely to face at some point—but it’s how you deal with it that matters most.
The good news is that there are things you can do to overcome your fear of failure and become more successful in life. If you’re willing to put in the work, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. So don’t be afraid to take risks and go after your dreams — you might just surprise yourself at what you’re able to accomplish.
If you’re afraid of failing at your goals and your dreams, take note of these fear of failure statistics and remember: persistence pays off (and failing doesn’t mean anything).
Fear of Failure Statistics — The Highlights
- 31% of American adults are afraid of failure.
- 90% of CEOs agree that the fear of failure is their main cause of distress.
- 46% of Britons are deterred from starting a new hobby because of their fear of failure.
- 51.8% of entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom report having a fear of startup failure.
- 24% of Australian adults are afraid of failure at work.
- 82% of science students in Canada agree that societal pressures contribute to their fear of failure.
General Fear of Failure Statistics
1. 31% of Americans are afraid of failure.
The latest available data reveals that fear of failure, or atychiphobia, ranks higher than spiders and public speaking (tied at 30% each), flying (20%), ghosts (15%), as well as being home alone and changing daily habits (tied at 9% each).
The only thing that surpassed failure as something that most Americans are afraid of is horror movies (32%).
This fear of failure can have a negative impact on people’s lives. It can prevent people from taking risks and pursuing their dreams. It can also lead to stress and anxiety.
The good news is that there are ways to overcome the fear of failure. One way is to reframe your thinking about failure. Failure is not a bad thing; it is an opportunity to learn and grow. Embrace your mistakes and view them as learning experiences.
Another way to overcome the fear of failure is to take small steps. Don’t try to accomplish everything all at once. Break down your goals into small, manageable pieces. Focus on one thing at a time and celebrate your small successes along the way.
The fear of failure is common, but it doesn’t have to hold you back. Reframe your thinking about failure and take small steps towards your goals. You can overcome the fear of failure and achieve great things!
2. 49% of Americans agree that the fear of failure prevents them from achieving or revisiting their goals.
According to a recent survey, a whopping 49% of Americans say that the fear of failure prevents them from achieving or revisiting their goals. This is a staggering statistic, and it’s one that should be taken seriously.
It’s important to remember that everyone experiences failure at some point, and it’s okay to fail. What matters is how you learn from your mistakes and how you pick yourself up after falling down. Failure is only permanent if you give up. Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from reaching your goals.
Other roadblocks to goal achievement include the fear of embarrassment (katagelophobia), as agreed by 44% of Americans, as well as the fear of the actual goals being perceived as too difficult to achieve.
3. 40% of American millennials are afraid of failure.
This makes them the most prominent generation demographic with a fear of failure. Gen X-ers rank second with 31% of them admitting to having a fear of failure, followed by Baby Boomers at 23%.
Gender-wise, there is only a slight difference between the portions of male and female American adults that have a fear of failure, i.e. 31% and 30%, respectively.
4. 46% of millennial moms often hold back their emotions due to fear of failure.
According to a recent study, nearly half of all millennial moms are often reluctant to share their feelings when they have the chance because they fear feeling like a failure.
This is a valid concern, as no one wants to feel like they’re not good enough. However, it’s important to communicate with your loved ones when you’re feeling overwhelmed. They can provide support and understanding that can help you get through difficult times.
So, next time you’re feeling stressed, take a deep breath and tell your loved ones how you’re feeling.
5. 8% of those with assets worth over $10 million have a fear of failure regarding their investments.
The corresponding figure is slightly higher among those with assets worth less than $10 million, at 8%.
Among other fears of failure, 13% of those with assets worth more than $10 million are afraid of not being able to support their immediate family, as opposed to 9% of those with assets worth less than $10 million. Tying at 3% each, both those with assets over and under $10 million are afraid of not being able to support their wider families.
6. Fear of failure is the cause of over 46% of Britons not taking on a new hobby.
A whopping 46% of Brits polled recently claimed that fear of failure is the main thing holding them back from taking up a new hobby. This stat is both discouraging and enlightening.
Discouraging, because it seems that so many people are letting their fear dictate their lives. Enlightening, because it means that there are plenty of people out there who are willing to take a chance and fail – which is often the only way to succeed.
If you’re one of the 46%, maybe it’s time to rethink your approach and go for it – whatever “it” may be.
Statistics on the Fear of Failure in Business
7. 90% of CEOs agree that the fear of failure is their main cause of distress, above any other concern.
The fear of failure is a very real thing for many CEOs. In fact, according to a recent study, the fear of failure is the main cause of distress for 90% of CEOs. This is higher than any other concern, indicating just how seriously they take the possibility of failing.
Of course, the pressure to succeed can be immense, and it’s not surprising that so many CEOs are afraid of what might happen if they don’t meet expectations. Still, it’s important to remember that failure is a natural part of life and business, and it’s often necessary in order to learn and grow.
Among other concerns, CEOs state revenue growth and raising capital (tied at 49% each), along with work-life balance (46%).
(Northwest Venture Partners)
8. At 40.4%, the fear of failure is most prominent in Asia & Oceania when observing entrepreneurial attitudes worldwide.
Africa ranks second in this regard, with 39.1%, followed by North America (38.6%), Europe (37%), and Latin America and the Caribbean (30.5%).
9. 51.8% of entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom report having a fear of startup failure.
A recent study found that nearly 52% of entrepreneurs in the UK have a fear of startup failure. This is a pretty high number. Among leading economic nations, Japan ranks second with 47.9%, followed by the United States (42.6%) and Germany (37.9%).
So why are so many entrepreneurs afraid of failing? Well, there could be a number of reasons. Maybe they’re worried about not being able to provide for their families or maybe they’re just afraid of the unknown.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to remember that failure is a part of life and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, many successful people have failed multiple times before they’ve achieved success. So if you’re afraid of failing, don’t let it stop you from chasing your dreams.
10. 56.01% of adults in Belarus agree that they see good opportunities but wouldn’t start a business due to the fear it would fail.
The above figure ranks Belarus highest on the fear of failure index by country. India ranks second with 54.14%, followed by Canada (53.84%), Saudi Arabia (53.61%), Egypt and South Africa (tied at 53.03% each), the United Kingdom (51.84%), Greece (51.46%), Spain (51.03%), and Cyprus (50.08%) in the top 10.
The ranking of countries based on the percentage of adults that see good opportunities but wouldn’t start a business due to the fear it would fail continues as follows:
- Ireland – 49.86%
- United Arab Emirates – 49.72%
- Colombia – 48.70%
- Romania – 48.25%
- Russia – 48.24%
- Uruguay – 48.23%
- Japan – 47.86%
- Chile – 46.78%
- Israel – 46.59%
- Slovakia – 46.04%
- Croatia – 45.58%
- Panama – 45.55%
- Italy – 45.28%
- Brazil – 45.06%
- Finland – 44.53%
- France – 44.08%
- Sweden – 43.64%
- Poland – 43.48%
- Luxembourg – 43.04%
- Slovenia – 42.97%
- United States – 42.56%
- Guatemala – 41.45%
- Sudan – 40.49%
- Turkey – 39.84%
- Norway – 38.25%
- Qatar – 38.18%
- Germany – 37.93%
- Latvia – 37.33%
- Netherlands – 36.83%
- Dominican Republic – 36.71%
- Morocco – 35.47%
- Hungary – 33.72%
- Switzerland – 30.43%
- Oman – 24.63%
- Iran – 20.23%
At 14.72% and 12.08%, respectively, South Korea and Kazakhstan emerge as the most fearless countries when it comes to the percentage of adults that see good opportunities but wouldn’t start a business due to the fear it would fail.
(Global Entrepreneurship Monitor)
11. 24% of Australian adults are afraid of failure at work.
When observing them by income group, those in the high and middle ranges of income tie with 25% of them having a fear of failure of work, while the corresponding portion of those in low-income groups stands at 24%.
The fear of failure at work is more prevalent in younger generations. 38% of those aged between 18 and 34 admit to being afraid of failure at work, followed by 28% among 35-54-year-olds, and only 10% of those aged 55 or older.
Statistics on the Fear of Failure in Education
12. 48.3% of female students identify as overstrivers.
The corresponding figure among male students stands at 45.3%. Overstrivers are described as being bright, diligent, and meticulous, but also having anxiety, fragile self-esteem, and not being as flexible when challenges arise. Driven by the idea that “no stone should be unturned,” they are also more prone to burnout and emotional tiredness.
Furthermore, around 2% of female students and about 1% of male ones identify as failure avoiders. These individuals are primarily driven by fear, as opposed to the idea of potentially being successful. Lacking confidence, they develop strategies that allow them to accept failure if it happens to them.
13. Nearly 75% of overstrivers report having a moderate quality of life.
A little over 65% of them agree with having a low quality of life, while just over 30% identify with having a high quality of life.
The highest portion of failure avoiders (25%) identifies with having a low quality of life, while about 1% and 2% agree with having a moderate and high quality of life, respectively.
14. 49% of undergraduate students are overstrivers.
The corresponding figure for medical students stands at 43.2%.
When it comes to the other quadripolar model characterized by high fear of failure, i.e. failure avoiders, they account for a little over 2% of undergraduates and just over 1% of medical students.
15. 85% of overstrivers admit to having high levels of distress.
40% say the same when it comes to moderate distress levels, and a little under 15% agree to having low levels of distress.
Among failure avoiders, around 2% report having low levels of distress, about 2.5% say they have moderate distress levels, while a little over 1% report having high levels of distress.
16. An average of 54.8% of students in OECD countries agree they worry about what others think of them when they’re failing.
This attitude is most prevalent in Japan, Korea, and Turkey, with respective 77%, 75%, and 66% of students in these countries identifying with having it.
On the other side of the spectrum, this sentiment is least prevalent in Switzerland and the Netherlands, with respective 43% and 45% of students in these countries agreeing to have it.
17. 53.5% of students in OECD countries say they are afraid of not having enough talent when they’re failing.
This sentiment is most prevalent in Japan, Korea, and Canada with respective 74%, 66%, and 65% of students in these countries identifying with having it.
On the other side of the spectrum, this attitude is least prevalent in the Netherlands and Germany, with respective 35% and 38% of students in these countries agreeing to have it.
18. 52.3% of students in OECD countries agree that failure makes them doubt their future plans.
This attitude is most prevalent in the United Kingdom, where 70% of students identify with having it. Australia, Canada, and New Zealand follow, tying at 68% each.
On the other side of the spectrum, this sentiment is least prevalent in the Netherlands and Germany, with respective 36% and 37% of students in these countries agreeing to have it.
19. 82% of science students in Canada agree that societal pressures contribute to their fear of failure.
Family ranks as the second-most contributing factor toward the fear of failure of Canadian science students, as agreed by 73% of them. Teachers follow at around 57%, as well as bosses and/or supervisors and friends at 48% and 47%, respectively.
(NCBI NLM NIH)
20. 37% of Canadian science students agree that family causes their fear of failure.
Personal standards rank second, as agreed by 23% of science students in Canada, followed by external expectations and judgment (18%), society (16%), and school/institutional standards (12%) in the top five causes of fear of failure.
Other sources of fear of failure among Canadian science students include consequences/permanent setback (9%), peers (8%), self-worth (6%), past experiences (4%), as well as teachers and financial concerns (tied at 3% each).
(NCBI NLM NIH)
21. 47% of science students in Canada agree that discussion/conversation can help reduce the stigma around the fear of failure within the university context.
Other suggestions include course design (41%), support/resources (19%), change of norms (13%), reduction of expectations/pressure (10%), changes to institutional practices/policies (9%), and individual responsibility (3%).
Only 1% of Canadian science students said that nothing within the university context can help reduce the stigma around the fear of failure.
(NCBI NLM NIH)
22. 37% of Canadian science students agree that conversation can help decrease the stigma around the fear of failure outside of the university context.
Other suggestions include support (27%), change of norms (26%), education (21%), media (20%), reduction of expectations/pressure (10%), and individual responsibility (7%). Only 1% of Canadian science students said that nothing can help reduce the stigma around the fear of failure outside of the university context.
(NCBI NLM NIH)
So there you have it, a roundup of fear of failure statistics from a range of sources. The key takeaway? Fear of failure is incredibly common, and it can have a serious impact on your life if you let it.
If you’re struggling with fear of failure, don’t suffer in silence — seek help from a mental health professional who can help you develop healthy coping mechanisms. Remember, you’re not alone and there is hope for recovery.
In all honesty, the fear of failure is probably one of the most crippling things that hold people back from achieving their dreams. It’s something that affects us all at some point or another, but it’s important to remember that failure is not the end. It’s simply a stepping stone on the path to success. So, don’t let your fear of failure stop you from reaching your goals — embrace it and use it as motivation to keep moving forward.