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Why Your Fear of Success is Holding You Back

Updated: Feb 19, 2022

Fear of success? Fear of failure is something we can all understand, but fear of success? It might sound a little funny, but many people fear success even if they don't realize it.

Success isn't 100% positive, and there's a part of you that understands that. Success brings attention, requests for help, and maybe even disappointment. It wouldn't be much fun to achieve your biggest goals and still feel unfulfilled.

Success makes your life easier in some ways and more challenging in others. Every situation has its advantages and disadvantages.

You might be suffering from a fear of success if you regularly sabotage yourself or have difficulty pursuing your dreams.

See how the fear of success can stop your progress in its tracks:

  1. Success requires you to be more than you've been demonstrating. Our brains crave comfort. Comfort equals survival, which is your brain's primary objective.

    1. Changing your life requires changing your behaviour, mindset, and perhaps even your beliefs and values. Thinking about that can create discomfort.

  2. Success brings social pressure. Success isn't just a big bank account and glory. People look at you differently when you're successful. Many people that ignored you before will start paying attention.

    1. If you are making a lot of money, people will start asking you for financial help. Charities will begin contacting you.

    2. Driving an expensive car or living in a big home draws attention, too.

  3. Success is new territory for you, and you fear the unknown. You know what your current situation is like. You might not enjoy your current situation, but you know what to expect each day. Changing your life means dealing with new circumstances and new people. This can be unsettling to consider.

  4. You're afraid of what you might become. You might consider yourself a good person, but maybe you have some concerns about what you might do if you had more money and power.

    1. We've all seen characters in movies and books that change for the worse after achieving success. Or, you might personally know someone that underwent a negative transformation.

  5. You're concerned that success might not be as great as you imagine. Humans are genetically disposed to be discontent. Have you ever noticed that a lot of things aren't as great as you anticipated? Whether it's a trip, a hot fudge sundae, or a new gadget you just had to own, there's often a bit of a letdown.

    1. You might be sabotaging yourself by worrying that you'll put in all that work only to be disappointed in the end.

  6. Fear of criticism. Many people are suspicious and critical of successful people. Of course, much of this is often due to jealousy. Perhaps you're concerned that you'll be seen negatively by those around you.

    1. This is more likely to happen if you view successful people in a negative light. You'll naturally expect others to see you in the same way.

  7. Fear that you'll become someone you don't like. While there is no reason that success would fundamentally change who you are, many people believe that success is toxic in some way. However, success can provide you with more opportunities to be your true self.

The fear of success might not be as apparent as the fear of failure, but it is a real challenge for many people.

If you're not enthusiastically pursuing your goals, consider the reason. Are you afraid of success? Success isn't perfect, but it's a better option for most of us than failing to achieve our potential!

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