How to Overcome the Fear of Success

Did you know that more people fear success than fear failing? The natural explanation for it it’s the fact that people who have nothing, take more risks because there is nothing to lose. The more things we accumulate, the less free we might feel, more tied up to a spot, location, situation, job, etc.

Somewhere deep inside us, there are the reminiscences of the nomad spirit. If you ask almost any person: “What would you like to do more often?” the answer is “I would like to travel more.”

We love our freedom; we love it that much that we are willing to pay almost any price for it. Is it not?

That is not a bad thing in itself until the love of freedom makes us blind to the fact that some of our actions, fears, beliefs, and misconceptions are defeating our purpose: to be free!

Becoming successful gives you more freedom than almost anything else.

It gives you:

  • the freedom to choose rather than being chosen,
  • the freedom to be kind randomly (with no other purpose other than feeling good for being altruistic),
  • the freedom to live your life with passion and dignity,
  • the freedom to wait (to be patient),
  • the freedom to take the path of the best version of you, the best option for your destiny.

Listen, if you too are afraid of becoming successful, know that success is a journey; your success doesn’t come out of the ether, nor suddenly.

Therefore, you have the time to adapt to it; you have the time to readjust your attitude, to re-arrange your priorities list; and, by the time you get there, you’ll know, exactly what to do with your success and with yourself as a successful person. You’ll know how to use your success as an instrument to feeling free, more happy and content in life and less tied up by responsibilities, circumstances, and constraints.

Most people who fear success don’t even realize they have this fear because it sounds counterintuitive. When success is so hard to get but offers you that many rewards, how could you fear it rather than take it with your both hands?

There are many hidden reasons why some of us fear success, and we’ll talk next about the most prevalent two of them because these two are the root of all the rest.

#1 Cultural inheritance

To a certain point in your life, most of your thoughts and beliefs are the by-product of your environment.

Where is that point? Where you say: “Regardless of everything else, I Have the Power to Change.”

(Related: Overcome cultural inheritance by feeling enough)

Most cultures strive to maintain the status quo because that gives structure, equilibrium, and order to the community, the society.

If you have the desire to become more successful than you already are, your culture might try to kill that desire. You’re not supposed to exceed too much your environment’s expectations because you might upset the order.

The cobbler’s son is expected to become a cobbler so that the village has a cobbler. When the village doesn’t need a cobbler anymore, the cobbler’s son can aspire to become something else, but something the community needs and not what he might want.

Cultural demands are embedded in our thoughts, beliefs, and we take them for granted; they are the laws that govern our lives.

You may think that cultural demands can’t apply to you living in the modern society. However, they do apply.

Cultures do change, progress and evolve, but keep, always, their lists of demands and expectations.

Are you afraid of success? Think about the things and stories your environment, your culture told you about success and successful people. Were them positive or negative stories? Did that success lead to a better society?

If you’re afraid of success, most probably, the stories were about how success and/or successful people destroyed, inadvertently some positive aspects of your environment. Therefore, “better be satisfied with what you are and have.”

Many cultures see success and wealth as something intrinsically negative; not success and wealth in themselves, but the way to get there. For many people, it’s inconceivable that you CAN become successful or prosperous in an ethical manner.

The reality is that you see and hear more often the negative examples rather than the positive ones.

Mass media talks a lot about those individuals that got successful by doing shady things and rarely talks about those who are successful and honorable.

Are you afraid of becoming successful? What are the examples you chose to see and hear about?

The good-doers are modest, talk less and avoid the spotlight. So, you must choose to search for them to see them.

  • Can you become successful and remain a good person? Yes, you can.
  • Can you become successful and care for those less fortunate than you? Yes, you can.
  • Can you become successful and make a positive difference in your environment/culture/community/society/world? Yes, you can.

#2 Unwanted attention

Success comes with a lot of attention. People start noticing you, talk about you, and mind your affairs.

Invisibility and anonymity become luxuries that you no longer have.

That price of success is one of the scariest things for most of us. Truth to be told, most of us desire the “15 minutes of fame”…but only 15 minutes!

But, you know what? You can have (your) followers without being followed by everyone! You can become/be successful without being seen, analyzed, and observed.

Are you afraid of success? Care (less and less…) about what others might think and care more about how many beautiful things you could do with your success.

Life is a wonderful thing you have received; and because a gift with no means to use it is rather useless, your gift of life came with many tools to make the best out of it. Tools such as talents, potential, desire and drive, abilities and appetite for becoming more and more knowledgeable, the pleasure of building long-lasting and meaningful relationships.

Have no fear and become successful.

Successful people don’t fear success because once you’re there, you know what to do with it, how to act and behave, what’s the right attitude for you, how to make a difference.

The fear of success is born out of others theories about life and people; theories that need not apply to you; theories with no foundation in who you are and who you want to become; theories meant to keep you compliant with what society expects from you.