Fear of Success
Estimated Lesson Time: 4 minutes (self-evaluated option) / less than a minute (instructor-evaluated option)
“How could someone fear something so great like success?” you may be asking yourself. The fact is, many people do, and it is this fear that keeps them from achieving it. Fear comes from the lack of understanding. It is clear to see that those who have not taken the time to explore success will not understand it and thus fear it. Having limiting beliefs about success also contributes to our fear of success.
Let’s look at some of the most common fears or limiting beliefs about success.
“It’s lonely at the top.” It certainly is not crowded at the top considering only about 2% feel they are successful. However, “lonely” is not the right word. Olympians who stand on the winner’s platform when receiving their medals certainly are not lonely. There are times going it alone is much better than being held back by others. The top is reserved for those with enough perseverance to make it there.
“With success comes responsibility.” There is no debating this. Success often brings great responsibility as it does great wealth. Successful people use their wealth to hire people to take care of their responsibilities. Lawyers, accountants, brokers, assistants, housekeepers, gardeners... the list goes on. Life at the top does not have to be difficult.
“When you are at the top, there is only one way to go.” This is one of those silly pessimistic statements. First of all, what is “the top”? There is no limit to success, wealth, or happiness so you can really never get to the top. Even if you were at the top, why couldn’t you just spend the rest of your days there?
“People resent successful people.” In actuality, resentful people resent successful people. You cannot change everyone else’s thoughts so why bother trying. For every person who resents a successful person, there is a person who resents a failure. So why not just be successful?
“Successful people are conceited.” Conceit is not a characteristic of success. Those who are successful do tend to possess high self-esteem as well as high self-confidence. These traits are often misinterpreted as conceit or narcissism but are very different.
“To be successful, you must cut corners, cheat, or act immorally.” This can’t be further from the truth. Unless you act with honesty and integrity and have high moral standards you are unlikely to have lasting success. Do not be misled by the press with their interpretations of tycoons like Elon Musk and Bill Gates. The media knows that scandals sell. People would rather hear rumors and fabricated “facts” than how people like Donald and Bill donate fortunes to charitable efforts.
“I would rather devote myself to love and/or my family than the pursuit of success.” This is my favorite one. Someone, at some time got it in their mind that one has to choose between love and success. It seems like Hollywood is a big believer in this false dichotomy. Do you know the movie about the guy who is very successful in his work, but then has to choose between love and work, then chooses love and lives happily ever after? There are HUNDREDS of movies with this same theme. Success does not come at the expense of love and family. Love and family can be a significant part of success. Problems arise when one neglects love and family in order to achieve something besides success, like riches or fame. Success is about finding balance, not abandoning your goals.
Fearing success will hold you back. Identify your fears and limiting beliefs and just as we did above, realize that they are without merit. Once you do, you will be yet another giant step closer to your success.
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)