It’s not uncommon to have a phobia. But you may have this one and not even know it.

Kakorrhaphiophobia is the fear of failure—and who doesn’t have a little of that, am I right?

Interestingly enough, the major symptom of kakorrhaphiophobia isn’t actual failure—it’s paralysis. You don’t do anything because you’re afraid you might fail at it.

Believe it or not, failure can actually be a great opportunity. That probably seems like a strange thought, but couple failure with the desire to learn, and you’ll discover the pathway to success.

The secret is this: if there’s anything that history bears out is that failure almost always precedes success. Great success is built on failure, frustration, even catastrophe.

Most of us can’t remember learning to walk.

If we could, we’d remember how many times we fell and got back up and fell back down again. Dozens of attempts and dozens of failures—sometimes all in the space of a few short minutes! In fact, most of your time was spent failing, learning, and adjusting your attempts, failing again, and more learning and adjusting.

As adults, how many of us would be willing to learn this way, or would we give up after the first painful failure? As Richard Branson said, “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”

Learning to walk is a process—painful at times—but even a toddler knows with success is the promise of new freedoms and experiences.

If children had kakorrhaphiophobia, we’d all still be crawling today. As an adult, are there areas in your life that you’re still crawling?

Too many of us live under the mistaken assumption that success is a matter of avoiding failure, but the truth is, success is built by failing and learning from it. One essential part of success is not being afraid to fail.