You want Twitch Success, but you don't like the way failing feels. Here's a hard truth - You're a failure and always will be... but you're not alone, I'm a failure, we're all failures. Simply put, the fear of failure never leaves our side, but the sooner we fall in love with failing itself, the quicker that fear will diminish, opening the gates of opportunity to sweet Success On Twitch.
Hold my hand because we're in for a bumpy ride as we try to dissect the fear of failure and talk about tried and tested methods to overcome this irrational fear. Let's dive in before we lose our mojo.
What is holding you back from Twitch Success?
So my question to you is - what are you afraid of? Well, naturally, you're most likely to answer by highlighting the billion and one things that threaten your existence on Twitch and lead you to obscurity.
As humans, we're evolutionarily programmed to exhibit fear in the event of danger - it's your survival instinct. But what happens if fear is stalling your progress, or worse, stopping you from being able to achieve your dreams of Twitch Growth? According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorder, this is classified as atychiphobia, or in everyday terms, a fear of failure.
Comment down below if you've ever been in a scenario where you've set in motion a day to exclusively stream on Twitch, but as soon as you boot up the command centre, you convince yourself that the lighting isn't good enough, you're not in the right mind state, it's too hot, you woke up too late, your microphone doesn't sound as crisp today, or that you're just not entertaining enough and that you'll stream tomorrow instead. Be realistic with this next answer - did tomorrow fall prey to the same negative thought patterns as today?
I'm not here to point fingers for father I have sinned! Take a look at my last diary entry in 2019 (below). My one task above all else was to stream on Twitch, did i accomplish this act? NOT EVEN CLOSE. Isn't it ironic that directly beneath that focal task I had also been putting off a visit to the dentist's surgery. What's the common denominator that ties together my avoidance of both pressing activities? Now finally, this is an easy answer - The Fear of Failure.
Why is Twitch Growth such a scary prospect?
Given that we now know what a fear of failure is, it'd be logical to delve deeper into the why.
Before I go any further, let me introduce to you my dear friend, the Ego. He may appear confident and talk the talk in passing, but within his own mind palace, he dwells in pessimism, is risk-averse, and afraid to take on any projects that could lead to pain or judgement in the court of public opinion. Before you all draw your pitchforks, hear me out, it's not all this little guy's fault, there are in fact a number of factors that have attributed to us becoming cautious.
As children, authoritative figures instil within us the distinction between what is right and what is wrong. This is especially pertinent when you're new to Twitch. Not knowing which path toward growth on Twitch is right or wrong, individuals form the habit of mimicking the identity and habits of their favourite streamers. Sadly, after several iterations of being told by viewers, Twitch authority figures, Reddit threads, YouTube videos and Blogs to not perform a particular behaviour, we become hesitant to express our unique personalities, or worse, too afraid to click the 'go live' button, and instead seek permission and validation for our conduct. As our brains develop, we subconsciously internalize this fear-based mindset which ultimately becomes our default preset before committing to any stream.
"He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat" - Napoleon Bonaparte
Another factor influencing our fear of failure is perfectionism. For many, unless their vision of perfection is attainable, that individual, at the fear of humiliation and taking a blow to their self-esteem, would rather choose not to release a lesser embodiment of their work. I'd speculate that a large proportion of live streamers suffering from the fear of failure spend an inordinate chunk of their time designing Twitch overlays, banners, emotes, logos and panels instead of organizing their day around the act of streaming itself. This largely contributes to the pressure of perfectionism, and once that high standard has been set, anything subpar creates the illusion of failure, and any rational thought pertaining to the quality of the effort and the potential for a new outlook is ignored and devalued. Apply this to the process of streaming. If at the end of your stream, your viewers didn't comment on your overlays, or if less viewers than average showed up, a direct association is formed between that experience and your adherence to perfectionism, influencing your belief that your stream is less than optimal for your viewers' acceptance.
A third contributor to our fear of failure is the outcome that most of us strive for, and that's success. Everyone likes a bite of the cherry, but some individuals become so absorbed by the taste of their past glories that they end up living within this perfect, unbreakable bubble of success and nothing else. The vast majority of streamers, whether affiliated or partnered, at some point fall into the vicious bubble of heavily monitoring Twitch stats. You've just received a fat Twitch host, yet, you promised yourself you wouldn't have your viewer count showing on your Streamlabs OBS / OBS Studio interface, but your popping chat room tickles your curiosity to click the eye of Sauron to see hundreds of fresh, excited individuals! The next stream, you notice that your chat is silent but for the odd familar face, so you do the exact same to see that that the previous influx of viewers are nowhere to be seen and become disheartened by this perceived failure. Too many bites of the cherry and you start to feel sick. Unfortunately, the longer you sit within the bubble of success, the more you lose sight of the important role that negative experiences play on the road to success. This is when their fear of failure starts to envelop the inner lining.
Mental Hacks to Overcome the Fear of Twitch Failure
At this point, self-doubt is creeping in and you might be asking yourself - if the fear of failure is omnipresent and all-consuming, am I destined to fail? And to that I say, this is where we take our stand and fight!
To rally your spirits, I'd like to remind you that 'the' Thomas Edison's teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything”. The irony is that he became the teacher when he dropped invention after invention!
1. Step one in our battle against the fear of failure is to identify the source of the fear. Are you afraid that people will judge you on the merits of your voice or appearance? Do you fear that your microphone, camera, or other technology is not on par with professional streamers? Do you fantasize about the adoration from thousands of viewers lavishing you with kindness, Twitch bits, donations and prime gaming subscriptions, but in reality, you don't receive that same level of devotion on your streams? Or is it that you are under the impression that you need to play games to be compared in the same breath as the "best streamers", but you don't feel adequately prepared to play competitively, or to a high level?
With the knowledge of potential causes at hand, I'd like you to analyze each with the specific intention of deciding if they resonate with your fear of failure. Take the backseat role of a family member or friend, and jot down any triggers and life events that could have onset the fear. By defining the fear, its strength is diminished and returns to you.
2. Step two, Don't confine beliefs about your goal within the construct of success or failure alone. This is too all-or-nothing. Be specific about what you'd like to achieve, but be sure to combine it with the opportunity to learn something new. Remember, your success is not dependent on how many Twitch viewers you have, or the amount of hours per day you grind to become more skilled at a game. Use your honeymoon period in streaming to create a brand surrounding yourself, aspects of your personality and skillset, which enhance the enjoyment factor of streaming for both yourself and viewers. Design innovative content within and outside of your stream that promotes fun, interaction and emotional synergy with present Twitch subscribers and prospective Twitch followers who find you from YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit or Tik Tok.
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts" - Winston Churchill
Fail early and fail fast. It's only normal that the more creative you are, the greater the risk for introducing error. The ultimate goal is to persuade your ego that the spoils of war were worth fighting for, win or lose. This provides the ego a platform to revel in the success, or to showcase those cool battle scars borne from failing.
3. The third step, and one that is often used within cognitive behavioural therapy, is to replace negative self-talk with positive mental scripts. This can be accomplished by identifying intrusive negative thoughts early and instead being mindful to focus on the positive value that your stream will provide to your Twitch viewers who are sat bored at work and looking for inspiration and entertainment to get through the slog of their 9-5, or for audience members feeling lonely and in need of a friend to share their thoughts and feelings with. If not for yourself, do it for them. The only failure for both parties is a no-show.
4. Next up, as humans, we tend to be irrational and catastrophize without assessing all possible outcomes. In the grand scheme of your life, how bad is the worst case scenario of your stream not living up to your own standards? Will your viewers even remember, or care, if you struggled to find a rhythm or not in your game. Will they judge you harshly for your low energy, and if so, isn't that more of a reflection on their insecurities than your own? Will they boldly choose to never tune into your stream again if you are suffering from lag / internet outages? I'd fathom not. Like success, the pain of failure is fleeting and often times temporary. Disclaimer, if it's going to lead to death, debt or prison, you might want to hold off doing that thing!
5. Lastly, it goes for saying that a streamer should always have a backup plan. Imagine your life if Twitch went under. In the context of your current ventures, is there another social media platform that you're utilizing to create content? Moreover, were you too hasty in your decision to quit your job to "follow your passion" of becoming a Top Twitch Streamer? If you are considering the prospect of leaving your secure job to achieve your dreams of becoming a full-time Twitch streamer, do yourself the favour of reading THIS blog post first.
Not only does a backup plan inspire confidence to take a gamble in your pursuit of plan A, but it also minimizes the disappointment should you not attain the outcome you hoped for.
The Quirkout Plan
The next time you fail, I want you to dust yourself off like Rocky Balboa and ask :- What did I learn? How can I grow from this? Did anything positive come from this situation?
To close up shop, remember that fear is a healthy response to danger. Failing is a crucial step toward self-actualization, perfection is subjective, and only you hold the key to your true potential.