Why People Fear Success
By Rashida Costa
YouTube seems to be the go to place these days for people seeking overnight fame. A lot of people mistake being infamous for being famous. They are two drastically different things. Yet very few of the ones who decide to jump on YouTube appear to have any real talent.
So why aren’t the talented people seeking out this platform to showcase their talents?
For many the reasons truly vary. Are they filled with apprehension about achieving success?
Have you look at a YouTube video and noticed the thumbs up and thumbs down icon beneath the video?
Well, some people are really positive and then there are the negative Nancys. Putting yourself out there requires thick skin. If you are like me, then it is relatively easy to tell the haters to go jump off a bridge somewhere. Which raises the question, “Where did all these unhealthy personalities in society come from anyway?”
Most of the haters are products of poor parenting and an uncultured environment of upbringing, raised in the current psychologically pathological society where they socially conform to a social trend of haters. Before all the incompetent parents failed this generation, a few decades ago people with such toxic attitudes appropriately became social outcasts, and if their behavior failed to remit, they appropriately became the subject of therapeutic interventions such as corrective physical assaults. They are often found to be facing the fearful component of two things: A degree of discomfort with success, and envy.
To revisit the initial point of why otherwise talented people refrain from pushing as hard as they otherwise could, YouTube is only used as a reference point.
People get comfortable in their own skin. Most people worry about social acceptance and being liked, and the idea of climbing up the ladder ahead of their peers, co-workers, friends and family, is something that unconsciously alarms and induces internal conflict in them, inducing a level of anxiety and ambivalence that keeps them from moving forward.
The fear that a stand-up comedian encounters before or during their stage performance is very different from what someone who is afraid of success encounters.
In a relative sense, the two can be synonymous in that they both may have a fear of rejection. The comedian’s fears may arise from a place of being heckled on stage, and Joe Brown may fear that his singing abilities may not be very well appreciated. Either way, both parties are fearful of rejection in their own way.
On the other hand, the comedian’s fear of being heckled may differ from Joe’s fear of facing his competition, being envied and hated by everyone he knows, including those who does not even know.
People are not always happy for the success of others, so much to the point where they become malevolent.
As a former model, 5’8″, I can tell you that women can be exasperatingly unpleasant. Being a senior in high school, I recalled one morning the school’s principal at the time announced that Althea Laing, a very famous Jamaican fashion model, was scouting for aspiring models and those who were interested in a modeling career should go see her at the designated area.
Naturally this was right up my alley, so on I went. I recall standing at the designated waiting area where the fashion mogul would appear, when all of a sudden my “best friend” at the time came out of nowhere.
Now puzzled why she was there, my curiosity lead me to direct my inquiry of her. Her response was, “I am interested in becoming a model too.” The look on my face was a ghastly thing to see.
Yes, at this point you are wondering what is the issue or maybe you have already figured it out. Do you know someone like that? Hence the long lived adage of keeping up with the joneses.
This little midget had never expressed any interest in being a model. She saw my opportunity, and in the glimpse of the moment, abandoned all aspirations to become a history teacher.
I referenced her as the little midget, as this girl was doubtfully 4ft tall, and no I am not expanding here either, she was that short.
For the record, there is nothing wrong with short people, but that bears resemblance to my waking up one day and deciding that my friend that I don’t have by choice, wants to be a singer, so that is my calling as well.
There are a lot of things about me. Singing is certainly not one of them. Or I could tell you about a certain cousin of mine, that converted her whole life to cater to the field of nursing as a result of my expressed interests in that arena.
What am I saying people? You are obliged to live your life for you, and pursue your dreams. Embracing the tendency to shy away from success in view of others and their remarks, envy, or reactions, is doing a disservice to yourself.
It starts with finding your self-worth and placing an immeasurable value on yourself. Believing that you are worthy and deserving of success.
According to recent studies, fearing success is a very real condition, one that has the existing possibility to cause you to become infirm.
Have you ever experienced shakiness, sweaty palms, during or before a really important job interview?
That is as a result of the physiological changes that you are experiencing due to the nature of your anxiety level.
Actors often utilize breathing exercises, or in some cases yoga. These are not bad alternatives, in fact they are very effective.
One of my favorite jokes is by the great Les Brown, nationally renowned speaker, who said in one of his speeches he had moments where he stood up and his mind sat down. This cracks me up every time, but it is a reality; it does happen.
Success in its own right is very subjective. However, whatever that is for you, it is vital to know that your fear is very real and more common than you think.
With that being said, in the end, the ball is in your court and how the game ends is ultimately up to you.
Success does not happen by accident, but by our hard work, persistence, and the choices we make.
And once you have achieved success, in order to keep being successful, you must recognize the hard work and skills that brought you to your level of success.
A good way to do this is to journal your journey along the way. This helps put things into perspective and keeps you honest and accountable for your success.
You are probably producing a thousand and one different thoughts as to why you wouldn’t feel internally successful. This is because there are actually people who chalk up their success to pure luck.
They experience an inability to internalize their accomplishments. They feel as though they are frauds and are not deserving of the success that they have achieved. This is a condition known as the imposter syndrome.
The signs and symptoms present differently. To provide a picture of what this looks like:
• Exhibiting habits of over-perfectionism.
• Overworking oneself
• The person tends to undermine their achievements
• They do not receive being praised very well, or tend to downplay it.
People experiencing this syndrome often will have a mindset that failing is not an option, or as aforementioned, their success is merely by luck.
“I have written 11 books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out'” -Maya Angelou
Do not read this and self-diagnose; rather, if you or someone you know experiences any of the above, rest assured that it can be overcome, without seeking help from a professional.
In the interim, believe in yourself and your abilities. Self-worth and success will be yours with hard work and persistence.
Do me a favor. I want you to adopt a 30-day ritual. Every day of these 30 days, look in the mirror, and say out loud, “I am worthy and deserving of success; I am going to make it.”
If it takes you longer than this exercise period to believe it, that is perfectly fine too. The important thing is that you are fully engaged in your own personal development, and that you make a commitment to yourself to honor this daily, and stay committed.
Change your life today, no more holding back, go for your dreams!
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