It would seem that the most common blockade on achieving our goals is the fear of failure. However, we also often carry out self-sabotage due to fear of success. Discover 10 reasons why so many of us are afraid of making our dreams come true.
Fear of success? You probably think it’s just an invention of a lively imagination.
But before your defense mechanisms proudly say “I’m not affected”, stay open for a few more moments. It is quite possible that you will discover in this text a few things that are an obstacle for you on your way to achieving your goals. In most cases we are not aware of the fears that guide our actions.
I know from experience that fear of success is as common as fear of failure. The difference is that most people have no idea that success is something to be afraid of at all. And it is precisely this lack of consciousness that makes it so difficult to exceed.
When I use the word “success” in this article, I do not mean only this commonly understood professional and financial success, which is always associated with wealth, large house and high social status. Success can be understood in many different ways, and for some it means making their dreams come true, for others living in harmony with each other, and for others it means completing an important social project.
How do you know we’re afraid of success?
Fear of success is quite difficult to discover, because it is easy to confuse it with laziness, procrastination, lack of self-confidence, or vice versa – with accusations of a huge amount of tasks or blind stubbornness.
Everything I mentioned above can be a problem in itself, but it can also be a symptom of a problem that lies deeper (for example, fear of success).
Perhaps the habit of postponing has become our habit, not because we are lazy, but because we are afraid of what will happen when we finally reach our goal and change our lives. Perhaps we lack self-confidence not because we are afraid of what others will think of us, but because for some reason we prefer to stay in our safe nest instead of boldly reaching for what we care about the most.
Behaviour that may indicate fear of success:
- You have difficulty completing projects,
- You have difficulty choosing a job or career path – you still feel like you should be doing something else than you are doing,
- You work constantly, without giving yourself a moment to reflect on whether you are going in the right direction,
- It is difficult for you to concentrate on the task – you are easily distracted,
- You are convinced that you will not succeed or that success is not for you,
- You do not take on new challenges in advance, assuming that you will not be able to cope with them,
- You see your work as not good enough.
- Of course, these are just examples – fear of success can cause many other behaviors, and these behaviors do not have to be related to this fear at all.
What causes fear of success? Here are ten reasons:
1. Success will make me change
Perhaps you think that when you start earning more money, you will stop being yourself. You will become someone completely different. You will lose sight of what is important in life and you will fall into a series of shopping. You will lose sight of what’s important in life and you will fall into a series of shopping sprees. Or maybe you will just change your lifestyle and lose what you love so much forever.
Remember that money, social status or a more prestigious degree alone cannot change who you are. They can only highlight certain traits that are already part of your personality. For example, if after promotion you become arrogant to people in the hierarchy under you, don’t think that this new position has made you arrogant. You already had that trait in you, and the new context only made it “float” to the surface.
Success (like any new situation in life) may really be an opportunity to get to know oneself better and see some features that might be worth working on. Therefore, do not be afraid that you will discover in yourself something about which you do not want to know. Consider it an opportunity to become a better person.
2. I will lose relationships with people I care about
Perhaps you think that when you succeed, others will start to envy you and leave you. That they will feel worse in your community and stop liking you. Or maybe you think that you won’t want to deal with them anymore, because they won’t be on “your level” anymore.
First of all, pay attention to the fact that if you limit yourself and erase your dreams just to make others like you, sooner or later you will stop liking them.
How is that possible? When we stand in the way of our own needs, our frustration starts to grow. It is often directed to the outside world – to people who are the reason why we give up ourselves in front of our eyes. Relationships never work when one person constantly sacrifices for the benefit of another.
Secondly, let’s not fool ourselves – it can happen that once you realize your dreams, your old friends won’t be so eager to make a relationship with you. However, it has nothing to do with you. The reason for this is their own thinking about themselves. The question is whether you want to be friends with people who feel bad about who you are.
You can always wear a mask of someone worse than you are to fit in with your community, but how long will it take? Sometimes you have to let some people out of your life and open up to new relationships with people who will adore you for who you really are.
It is also possible that your loved ones will surprise you and enjoy your happiness. It’s a sign that it’s really worth keeping them close to your heart.
3. People will start complaining about me.
You may be afraid that when you start telling your truth, or when you do things that somehow violate restrictive social patterns, you’re gonna stop being liked. Maybe soon there will be hate people who will start talking about unpleasant things. You may find yourself in the spotlight of the scoffers who will bring you down.
Understand that it is the critics who have the problem, not the criticized. It is the one who pours his bile on others that carries it.
For some, the only way to feel good is to bring others to their level. When you understand that such an empty criticism does not concern you at all, but only the critic, you can distance yourself from the critic and stop reacting emotionally to him/her.
To make it easier for yourself, imagine that there is a thick, transparent glass between you and the haters. A glass that does not let their names and empty words through. See how everything they say bounces off the glass and comes back to them. Meanwhile, you remain intact, on the other side of the glass.
4. Success will make it necessary for me to work hard
Maybe you’re afraid you won’t have that much time to yourself anymore. That you will have to work from morning to night, forgetting to watch movies and devote yourself to your hobbies. That success means the end of your freedom and the beginning of exhausting, even slave labor.
Striving for success does not necessarily mean hard work. From my point of view, it shouldn’t even look like that. Put so much pressure on yourself and fill your calendar with tasks will actually allow you to do more, but it will also have a lot of negative consequences, such as chronic stress or lack of good sleep – in the end, it will only distract you from achieving your goals.
I am a big fan of the philosophy of small steps and I believe that we can reach for everything we want in life, doing it in harmony with our needs for rest, relaxation and fun.
A proper balance and a rested mind is a guarantee of great motivation, always fresh creativity and pleasure from work. This is the only wise way to make sure that everything we do is of the highest quality.
Of course, there will be times when you have to “push”. That’s normal. But if we keep in mind that these more intense periods of work cannot last too long, it will be easier for us to focus on our work and do everything we can to get up to speed.
5. The achievement of my dreams is the end of my journey
What happens when you realize your dreams? What happens next?
For many people, fear of success can be almost as strong as fear of death. It is a fear that once they have achieved everything they have to achieve, they will lose all their life energy, because there will be nothing more to achieve. This for them is equal to the loss of sense of life. Such people decide to stay forever on the constant path to their goal, unaware of the fact that somewhere in their hearts – they never want to reach it.
It is worth meditating on a simple and important truth – the appetite grows with eating. This is how life works. Every new experience opens us up to new adventures. Each new success inspires us to achieve new achievements. After all, even if we could live for 300 years, we wouldn’t have enough time to try all the tastes of life.
That’s why the most likely scenario is that once you realize your dreams, there will be even more exciting ones in your head. With each achieved goal you will have more and more life energy, not the other way around.
6. Success will make me have to take responsibility for my life
There’s no point in fooling yourself – it’s true. To achieve your goals, you need to take the control in your own hands.
Why are some of us so afraid of it? Because it can mean admitting to ourselves that we are responsible for what our lives now look like. That where we are now is the result of our own decisions, not bad politicians or bad weather.
How do we deal with this? There is no point in torturing yourself for what you have become and what your life is now. Until now, you have probably been working on autopilot anyway. And the way the autopilot was programmed is thanks to your parents and the school you attended.
The most important thing is what you do with it now. This is your responsibility for the moment – how you will manage your life.
7. I will always have to succeed
Perhaps you think that when you realize your dreams, you will always have to be infallible and perfect. By entering a certain level, others can expect you to stay there and not allow themselves to be weak.
It is worth understanding that such a way of thinking is associated with low self-esteem. If you feel that as a successful person you will not be able to afford weakness, ignorance and making mistakes, the problem lies in your relationship with yourself and not in the expectations that other people may have of you.
Before you reach for big things, work on how you think about yourself. You will need a healthy self-esteem, otherwise you will be putting pressure on yourself, which will undoubtedly be exhausting.
8. People will realize that I’m not worth anything.
There is something like “impostor syndrome” where some people think that their success is just a coincidence, a fluke, or the result of other external factors. A person with this syndrome is filled with fear that sooner or later, regardless of visible and documented successes, it will come to light that it is worth nothing.
In their understanding, achieving success is just another opportunity for people to discover the truth and find out that it was just a coincidence and that we didn’t deserve it at all.
How to deal with it? As in the previous point, it is also a question of self-esteem and how we think about ourselves. If we are convinced that our skills are not enough or that we do not deserve success, it will be difficult for us to attribute our achievements to ourselves.
We will do everything we can to ensure that our way of thinking is not violated – even if it is obvious that the achievement is solely our merit. We will continue to rationalize it with external factors, cultivating our fear of being seen through and through.
9. Success will make me popular
A little more success can mean a camera, pictures in tabloids, interviews on TV or articles in news portals (and I don’t just mean celebrities). It is not comfortable for everyone, especially when it requires discovering a part of one’s private life. And it’s not necessarily about the heyta I wrote about in one of the previous points. Even without a wave of criticism, living in the spotlight is a big challenge.
Some people are also afraid that when they stand on the pedestal and it will be loud about them after some time, no matter how much they do not want it – the media will find another favourite and all this light will go somewhere else.
The vision of losing such interest can be a painful prospect and can discourage many people from reaching for their dreams.
10. I can’t handle my success.
The higher you go, the more it hurts to fall.
Some people are afraid that they will lose the position for which they have worked for so long. That they will lose the money they have earned so hard. That they will have to constantly fight to keep their win or win. Such people see being a successful man as a huge effort and a constant life of fear for the loss of what they have managed to gain.
Success is only an external effect of who you are and what you can do. Therefore, even if you temporarily lose some material possessions, social status or position in the company you work for, it does not mean that you lose it, so you managed to reach for it all. Enriched with new experiences, you will be able to work on new achievements. There is no need to live in fear of losing what you’ve earned when you know you’ll be able to reach for it again.
That’s it! That’s it! I am curious how much you have found in the above points of truth about yourself. Choose the points that gave you the most to think about – and give yourself some time to reflect on them in the near future.