We've all been told before to 'get out of our comfort zone", to "not let life pass us by," and most definitely to 'follow our dreams', right (that's my personal, overused favorite)? Once upon a time, those bits of advice weren't ubiquitous of cliche. Now, you'd be hard-pressed to find a lifestyle coach, career mentor, or even casual blogger who hasn't doled them out, even if the more modern trend is to emphasize the difference in passion and pragmatism

Not everyone saying it has an agenda, either.

According to palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware, the number one regret that dying people express is the wish that they'd had:

"the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."

Given that this advice is so easy to come by -- and the stakes are seemingly so high -- why is it so difficult to make the shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset? Well, the answer to that is complicated. Nurture and nature and conspiracies of circumstance all constantly work against us. 

To understand this further, consider the infographic, thanks to whoisCH!CK, which displays 11 mindsets that are embraced by merely 2 percent of the population:

  1. Going for your dreams 
  2. Confidence
  3. Exploring new things
  4. Choosing happiness
  5. Fulfillment
  6. Embracing the unknown
  7. Excitement
  8. Liking change
  9. Living with limits
  10. Abundance
  11. Act in spite of fear 

The 11th mindset--acting in spite of fear 

The 11th mindset says it all. We're scared of failure. That's it--and it can be paralyzing. 

It's not a surprising statement. 

Our society is one in which failure routinely lands you at the bottom of the totem pole -- or feeding pile, choose your preferred metaphor -- starting at a very young age. The 'pass/fail' system is so ingrained in our psyche that we tend not to even question how it affects us in a broader sense. The thing is, success doesn't come to people who don't fail. Actually, the opposite is true

Success comes to the people who fail the most. 

In other words, if we want to succeed, we have to get over the fear of failure

But how? What does that look like in real life? 

It means getting up close and personal with failure. Look it in the eyes. 

Literally, intend to fail

That doesn't mean you have to pour money into a business you're not cut out for, or quit your job to write a book even though you've never even blogged. 

No, have fun with it first. 

Try a new sport. Learn to cook. Or dance. Or knit.

Step outside your habitual means and take a calculated risk. 

Do anything that forces you to fail, so you get comfortable with the idea. 

Only then do we begin to understand the relationship that fear has with every other aspect of the fixed mindset. 

It's not easy. Hence the nickname, 'the 2 percent mindset'. 

But if Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Tim Ferris all swear by it, it's not just rhetoric. 

Hmm... I wonder what I can fail at today?

Published on: Aug 14, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.