Is it Fear of Failure or Fear of Success?

Figure 20 from Charles Darwin's The Expression...

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As artists/writers we have heard how important it is to learn to deal with rejection.  Simply, it is part of the path we take.  Many books have been written about rejection.  We recognize rejection as part of the growth process and almost embrace it.  However, we are not so happy with the concept of failure.  We avoid failure, we fear it, and we want no part of it.  The fear of failure is paralyzing for some people, for others, it may be the fuel that propels them to keep excelling at what they do – we react differently in various circumstances.  These people, whether paralyzed or excelling, have something in common – the fear of failure.  However, there is a third group, which I am very aware of, simply because I found myself in that group once.

This third group thinks that they are afraid of failure; however, this is not the case.  The real fear has been disguised as fear of failure, but on the contrary, it is not failure what this groups fear – it is success.  Fear of success can be as paralyzing as the fear to fail.

Fear of success may be a personal issue and rooted in your childhood, or on any other phase of your life.  It is very hard to spot, and that is why it may hide itself as fear of failure or even of rejection.  Fear of success may involve being afraid of new things or new responsibilities, or even of the spot light and recognition that comes with success, in many cases.  The issue is personal.  If you think that you are afraid of failure, ask yourself why.  Ask again, and again … until you can’t ask no more; the answer may surprise you, as it did me.

Once in the open, your fear has no where else to hide and you can look at it straight, understand it, accept it, and move on.  Once you do this, it will never have the power to paralyze you, because it has been exposed.

So, is it fear of failure or fear of success?

11 thoughts on “Is it Fear of Failure or Fear of Success?

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  7. I can relate to this, I feel like I don’t want any responsibilities or obligations. And I feel I’m too young to care. And I don’t even know how to get rid of this feeling.

  8. When we are very young, I think it is normal to feel that we have all the time in the world, and many times we don’t want to take on responsibility over fun times; however, I guess it is a matter of where you are going and how you visualize what you would like to do. Too much responsibility may be scary at a young age, too little gets you a bit itchy and bored – so I guess striving for a little balance doesn’t hurt. Sometimes, that might seem as if you don’t care, but I think is all the opposite – why would you be thinking about it if you don’t care? I think taking one step at a time in the direction of the things you like and enjoy makes the responsibility issue easier to deal with and digest – as you will be enjoying the journey.

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