I'm a strong believer that failure is a key to learning anything. There's no way to understand success otherwise. It breeds out fear, enhances our experiences and builds confidence in hindsight. We tend to avoid too many things and situations that intimidate us of failure or judgment.
With weight lifting/running/cycling, training to failure is a proven method that forces muscles out of apathy to re-adapt to the stress and grow with ample recovery. Our bodies are so resilient, we have to constantly shock it to adapt to new levels of training and skills, otherwise our efforts are fruitless and our desires to become more fit remain pipe dreams of hope.
Our minds work the same way, but our fear of failure keep us from pushing the envelope further. In a way, our mental fears are analogous to pain but far more complex and conservative in that we seek to avoid failure rather than test our limits. We all have varying physical pain thresholds to push our bodies to the extent it can handle training. Do you ever notice how kids have the least amount of fear when skiing or playing? They don't have the phobias we develop slowly with age to become conventional wisdom. They don't rub Purell on their hands at every chance. They get sick, re-adapt and play hard again. They don't stereotype or judge others until their parents and peers hand these misconceptions over.
We tend to look for comfort in the wrong places these days to alleviate what our fears are preventing us from capably doing. Job security, over sized Joneses-type homes, domestic comforts, and gadgets we don't really need. In a way these play into a mentality of wanting approval from others and that time is so precious, a gadget must cut available corners to prevent us from failing to meet a time criteria we put too high of a value on.
I like this website, which posts humorous, yet insightful cartoons on life lessons. The Fear post from yesterday doesn't ring true with me, however. I believe we're all capable of facing most of our demons and living up to them through experiences of failure. We can all tackle our mental and physical challenges.
The buck doesn't simply stop at identifying our fears and conceding to them by looking for comfort in material items we have control over. This is a menial pursuit we all have to face up to or die submitting to a boring existence of consumption and comfort.