Fear of Failure and Procrastination: 8 Reasons You’re Sabotaging Action

Fear of failure and procrastination. What does one have to do with the other?

Dan Silvestre
11 min readDec 21, 2020


You often procrastinate because:

  • The task looks so tedious (and easy) that you leave it for tomorrow
  • You get more fun from distractions and other tasks
  • You have more important things to do, and you don’t have any time left
  • You’ve procrastinated for so long that it has become your default response
  • You don’t know where nor when to start working on that project
  • You never start a task if you can’t get it perfect. You keep “preparing”

These are the common reasons we procrastinate, and they seem to have nothing to do with fear of failure.

It mostly relates to “not giving a task enough attention or priority.” So rather than fearing a loss, you’re unmotivated because success isn’t rewarding enough.

Is it possible that fear leads to procrastination?

Your first thought may be: “No, I don’t fear work. I just don’t feel like doing it or it’s boring.”

Let me know if you’ve been here before:

  • You start with big goals. But when you find out you can’t achieve them by the expected time, you either use excuses or switch to a smaller goal
  • If you’ve never done something before, it sounds like the best excuse to procrastinate
  • No matter how much you prepare, you still feel a bit of fear whenever taking the first step on the task
  • You believe in failure so much you don’t think your actions can change the outcome. So you’d rather procrastinate and hope for things to get better tomorrow

How Does Fear of Failure Lead To Procrastination?

We fear failure, not necessarily because it puts us in danger, but because it makes life harder.

  • If you made a mistake, you need to spend resources to fix it
  • If you made no progress despite working for longer, it means you need to put more effort to get results…



Dan Silvestre

Performance coach helping leaders get the right things done with less effort than anything they've tried before. Join 20k+ readers: newsletter.dansilvestre.com