In today’s society, the pressure for being successful is enormous, so it’s pretty unusual for someone to fear it. At least, that’s what we thought. The fear of success is natural and happens more often than you think.
Everyone that experienced a bad situation during their childhood or teenage years can subconsciously fear success, and it can hold you back in a big way.
Heading: How to self-evaluate your fear of success
Usually, the people that fear success can manifest behaviors in subtle and obvious ways such as:
1. Setting low goals and expectations
2. Quitting quickly on projects halfway done
3. Semi-consciously sabotaging yourself to avoid getting promoted
4. Avoid work and feel lazy
5. Choosing to hang around with people that have a toxic personality
6. Engaging in self-destructive behavior such as smoking, drinking, taking drugs, etc
If you recognize your behavior in these examples, then you definitely fear success.
Does the fear of success really make you lazy?
Fear of success can subconsciously cause burnout or laziness. People that fear success will find every possible excuse to avoid opportunities that can potentially turn their lives around. If you define yourself as a person that fears success, then the chances of experiencing burnouts and laziness are bigger when compared to the average person. Your brain will find every possible excuse imaginable to put obstacles in your way.
A study, published in 2018 that included 264 participants, got astonishing results that shocked everyone. The researchers found out that people who cannot cope with their fears are being lazy more often than others. When we are facing a high-risk stressful situation, the amygdala triggers a fight or flight response. People that fear success look at laziness as a short-term reward for not facing their fears.
But this doesn’t last long.
Our subconsciousness triggers even more stress and anxiety than before. However, procrastination kicks in and we wait until the last minute to finish a deadline.
This can create a vicious cycle of avoiding your fear of success and rewarding yourself with being lazy. This on and off relationship with laziness can become an addiction that can haunt you for the rest of your life.
How to deal with the fear of success?
To efficiently deal with this problem, you need to know that you don’t fear success itself. Instead, your fear is centered around the potential consequences success can cause you.
Many of us have been conditioned to believe that success requires many sacrifices that will overtake your life and leave you with nothing else. Even though there are some extreme cases where this is true, most successful people are pretty happy and family-oriented.
The secret to having a healthy relationship with success is to rewire your brain into liking that sensation. This way, you will get rid of potentially the most potent trigger of laziness.
For that purpose, I have prepared for you a little exercise that will help you create a barrier between success and fear.
So let’s begin:
- Close your eyes and try to recall an event where you were successful when you were younger, and notice what you were feeling and sensing in your memory. Stay like that for 5 minutes.
- After you’ve finished, try to do the complete opposite. Try to recall an event where you felt utter disappointment, an event where you failed so hard that you buried it so deep in you that you can barely remember it. Now stay with that sensation for 5 minutes.
- Now go back to visualizing your success story. Do you notice something different?
Once you’ve created this barrier and found the difference between fear and success, you can slowly start challenging yourself. You should with something small at first like taking an additional project that week and progressing towards bigger challenges and bigger goals.
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