Bahahah a fear of success… That can’t be a thing.. Can it?
Have you ever had that bullsh*t sore throat that you then hype up in your head to be the flu? That flu then leads to a few days off work, putting off potential progression.
Have you got projects that you talk up to be your ‘Big Break.’ Yeah, those projects that you get halfway through and find some bullsh*t life event to conveniently stop you from pursuing your ‘Big Break.’
Did you recently go on an incredible date with an amazing human being, a person you could see yourself building a successful relationship with? ‘Oh but it’s just not the right time with work & commitments & blah blah blah.’
A fear of success is hard to diagnose because to the untrained eye it just looks like your regular blend of procrastination & laziness. In some cases it may just be that you are lazy and hate doing stuff, if that keeps you smiling then who am I too judge.
However, if you do not consider yourself a lazy person then chances are your procrastination is due in part to a much bigger issue; a fear of failure or worse a fear of success. I have suffered from a fear of success several times in my life & chances are, you have to!
In this blog we identify 3 reasons why we fear success & some practical ways to deal with them.
Related - Love.
Now I could go ahead and get deep into each tiny little psychological factor that may or may not be the root cause of your deep set fear of success. Or… I could turn this into a realistic blog that you can make sense of, understand & apply to everyday life!
Let’s go for the latter and group the 100’s of reasons into three main groups; The What If’s, With Success Comes Failure & I Hate Change.
001 - The What If’s
What if people hate me? What if I change as a person? What if I fail? What if I lose my friends? What if the world laughs at me?
Here’s some alternatives for you; What if you actually succeed after putting in decades of hard work? What if you succeed in positively changing the lives of millions? What if by pursuing the things you love, you live a happy and fulfilling life?
As human beings we are gifted and plagued by this phenomenon we call emotions & like it or not they guide most of our decisions in life. When you think of emotions on a grand scale they are pointless but at a micro level they are directly responsible for the high’s & low’s we experience in life. Without emotions life would be pretty F*cking boring!
Emotions are also responsible for those ‘What If’ moments, the moments when we question the outcomes before we even begin the process. You, me or any other living thing on earth has no idea what the outcome will be until it happens! We can predict but none of us can predict the future as a certainty.
Don’t let the fear induced predictions of your mind control your decisions. You will never know how successful you might be until you truly give it everything you have… WORK!
Another common ‘What If’ revolves around our fear of peoples opinions, this one is directly related to you! You and your uncontrolled ego. You only care because you are insecure & your insecurity is fed directly by the hands of your ego. Get your Ego under control & stop trying to impress others, aim to impress yourself & impart kindness and giving upon the world.
Here is the truth; those ‘Trollers, Haterz & Apparent Friends’ who decide to shame what you are doing or oppose your attempts at success. They are suffering deeply from a fear of success fuelled by their insecurities & driven by their egos.
Feel empathy for them but do not take what they say seriously. Their words & negativity is an attempt to feel significant, an attempt to keep their own damaged egos happy.
Address your own ego, tame your insecurities & don’t allow the ‘What If’s’ to hold you back from success.
002 - With Success Comes Failure
Can you imagine a life where every single day is a win? A life where you are always succeeding and never failing? Sounds pretty amazing right? It would be at first, but the novelty would soon wear off and winning would just be the standard. You would never be truly happy & successful but you would also never be truly sad or failing… Life would just be, and you would just exist.
To truly appreciate the high points in our lives we NEED to have the low’s; the failures, the embarrassments, the break-ups, the deaths, the rejections & the loses. Failure hurts it truly does but that hurt is amazing in it’s own right.
It is through our failures that we learn the deepest of lessons & it is through our failures that success blossoms. Your fear of success is directly tied to your fear of failure. If you can embrace that fear and come to terms with the benefits of failure then your fear of success may also diminish.
To be truly successful in whatever purpose we choose to pursue we will have to go through an unbelievable amount of failures. This is a huge reason why you fear success, you simple do not want to go through the failures.
“I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” -Michael Jordan-
If a fear of failure is what holds you back from success then your fix is simple; start failing at stuff. Keep it simple, if you suck at basketball then go play a game and lose. If you hate the feeling of rejection after asking a girl/guy on a date then go out and ask for those numbers, get used to the rejection… the failure.
It will be really hard at first but each time you successfully get through a failure sit down and ask yourself - ‘Was that really so bad?’ Let the hurt wash over you and once your mind clears begin to note down the reasons you failed and how you can improve.
Now apply this mindset to your purpose and start racking up failures with the knowledge that each failure is a chance to learn. Each time you learn from failure you pull yourself one step closer to success.
With Success comes Failure but failure is your friend.
003 - I Hate Change
Change is hard and the road to success in whatever you pursue, requires an abundance of change. Becoming successful may change your believes, life structures, friend groups & your views on life & those around you. For some this is overwhelming because it directly effects our basic human needs.
The routines, friendships & beliefs you currently hold are all carefully crafted by your brain to meet your 4 basic human needs; Certainty, Uncertainty, Love/Connection & Significance (The 6 Basic Human Needs - Tony Robbins). Some of these routines, friendships & beliefs may be positively contributing to your needs but some of them - the ones holding you back from the path to success - are not.
Change can shake your beliefs to the core especially if you are a person that holds certainty in high regard. In order to confront your fear of change you need to identify what needs are most important to you, how you are currently meeting those needs & if those are positive or negative ways to meet that specific need.
If the answer is negative then you need to come up with a positive alternative, an alternative that will allow you to overcome your fear of change and pursue the success you desire deep down in your core.
“How do you know I want success deep down in my core? You don’t know me!” If that is your reaction then let me explain. We have 2 more needs as human beings; Growth & Contribution & without change neither can be truly met.
These two needs are quite often the needs that give us the most reward & allow us to lead a life that gives us meaning and purpose. Want to meet these needs? Change your negative beliefs, friendships & routines in a way that allows you to embrace change.
Once you no longer fear change you can pursue growth on your road to success. With more success comes more opportunity to contribute. Just like that your life has meaning & death doesn’t scare you so much anymore… and neither does change.
Swap your hatred for Change with a love of the unknown.
The Overall Culprit - Address Your Ego!
Ego is the biggest factor in your fear of success, many believe that ego is actually the key ingredient to success in which case your definition of success is probably incorrect. Ego fuels our negative thoughts and blinds us from seeing the areas we need to improve.
Ego is responsible for all your insecurities & ego is what gives you that f*cked up sense of entitlement. Let’s clear it up right now! You are entitled to nothing & nobody owes you a damn thing. If you are looking at your lack of success and blaming it on your circumstances or other people then you my friend are in a seriously bad place. Your ego has you in a choke hold.
Taming your ego requires a lifetime of work but these two things will get you started;
-Start taking responsibility for all your damn problems & failings. Your hate for change, your insecurities & your fear of failure… It’s on you to fix it! No one else is making you feel that way, you have the ability to change so take responsibility & make it happen.
-Work! Work! Work! Stop talking about it and start doing it, be humble in every success you rack up & be humbled by the failures you can learn from.
Address your Ego.
The Brief Rundown
The key now is to go away and achieve things regardless of how small the achievement might be. Set yourself a realistic goal for each day of this week, like super realistic! Goals that you are 100% certain will be achieved. Each of those goals is a success!
Surround each achievement with something that makes you smile; reward yourself with a latte, put your favourite track on or watch an episode of your favourite Netflix series. As time goes on you can get more ambitious with your goals & as you achieve each goal continue to include the rewards.
You will notice something crazy happen (or you may not notice at all), success will start to become manageable, then comfortable & then you will begin to crave the sensation you get from achieving a successful results.
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Paulo & Jacques