What scares us most: spiders or failing? Linkagoal’s Fear Factor Index clears the cobwebs


Haunted houses, slasher movies and terrifying ghost stories are a few favorite ways to enjoy spooks and scares this time of the year. But, there is one surprising fright that scares us just as much or more – failure.

One third of Americans are shaking in their boots – not because of a fear of flying, ghosts or the dark – but because they’re scared to fail. Linkagoal’s Fear Factor Index polled people on the things they deemed most scary, ranging from horror movies or ghosts to long-legged beasts and even, giving up chocolate. Amongst the top scares, failure peaked at 31%, beating out common fears such as spiders, flying, being home alone and going to the gym. The only thing that ranked higher on the Index was horror movies, and those are imaginary.

Similarly, when it comes to goal achievement, a fear in failing was a prominent reason why nearly half didn’t achieve a goal at all or attempted to give it another try. 49% of applicable respondents said the fear of failure was a major setback, with fear of embarrassment (44%) and fear of it being too hard to achieve (43%) next in line.

After the first attempt, people are disheartened from giving their goals another go-around.  Contrary to the popular adage, if at first they don’t succeed, the fear of failing prevents many from attempting a goal again. According to the Fear Factor, close to half admitted that their fear of failure prevented them from achieving a goal in another try (43%). Fear of being too old (37%) and fear of lack of support from family, friends or significant other (37%) were other top setbacks.

From quitting smoking to eating more vegetables, reaching goals is a ghoulish challenge for an overwhelming majority, with only a meager 7% of U.S. adults reporting to have achieved all of their goals the year before, according to a survey commissioned by Linkagoal earlier in the year. The main reasons why so many had trouble reaching their goals in 2014? The biggest factor was lack of motivation with 41% admitting they struggled to stay on track. Lack of time (32%) and not knowing where to start (19%) were two other major factors in falling short in 2014. Considering the dismal rates of achievement, and concerns of failure surrounding goal-setting and goal-achievement, overcoming fears is critical to meeting goals.

Other blood-curdling Linkagoal Fear Factor Index findings include:

Failure is the Millennial’s Monster Under the Bed
Millennials are more likely than any other age group to have a fear of failure (40%) in comparison with Generation Xers (31%) and Baby Boomers (23%).

Man vs. Spider:
Failure is more unsettling to Americans (31%) than eight-legged creepy crawlers (30%).

Changing Habits is Scary:
Adjusting daily routines was found to strike fear among many, with the idea of giving up chocolate (9%), going to the gym more regularly (6%) and quitting smoking (6%), all proving to be active contributors to fear. Even a small percentage (3%) admitted to being scared of eating salads daily

Men are Scaredy-Cats, Too:
While women were found to be generally more scared of horror movies, spiders and ghosts, women’s fear of failure (30%) was found to be nearly on par with men (31%).

Old Adage Debunked
Contrary to the popular adage, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” the survey found that fear of failing actual created paralysis and prevented many from revisiting goals.

Commissioned by Linkagoal and conducted by YouGov, the survey polled 1,083 consumers in the U.S. and revealed that not only can failure be just as terrifying as ghosts and horror movies, it can hold us back from achieving goals , and even from retrying another time.

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Goals are scary, but fear shouldn’t hold you back from achieving them.


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