Why We Fear Success

fear successIn many ways, many of us fear success. It sounds crazy, right? But we do fear success… And that fear can immobilize us, sabotage us, and wreak all of sorts of havoc in our lives in many different ways.

Why We Fear Success

Success requires taking risks but is it the actual taking of risks that we fear?

Probably not.

The greater the risk, the greater the reward, but at the same time, the greater the risk, the greater the potential loss is as well and it is that loss, the idea of losing something that ultimately makes us fear success.

As it turns out, in our minds, losses carry much more weight than gains. We feel much stronger negative emotions when losing than positive emotions when winning (some studies say about 2 times stronger).

We can feel much more disappointed by losing $1000 than winning $1000. And if the studies are right, you would have to win $2000 or more to outweigh the loss of $1000. Think about that one….

What else can be lost and might cause us to fear success? We think we will lose face, we think we will lose our credibility… we think and we fear losing the love of those around us… But are those losses or even the chances of those losses even real? Our fear of failure can overshadow our hopes for success, and because of that, we fear success itself.

Another reason why we fear success is that we are scared of just how much it will hurt or cost us. What will the scarifies trade-offs be along the way? Again, it is back to being more afraid of what we might lose…

As a young man, the only example that I received growing up on the subject came from my father. He told me that being bad (or taking risks) in the sense of being brave in life meant that you were ultimately willing to give up EVERYTHING in your life for what you believe in. In other words, you can not fear loss or potential of loss, ever.

I have a huge race coming up in two days. It will my 7th time running the Leadville Trail 100 Run. But this time is different. I am going into it with a winning mindset, in other words – I am in it to win it – and hope to place in the top three in my age-group.

I have trained this year more than I have ever trained. I have trained BETTER than I have ever trained. I have made many trade-offs this year while being singularly focused on this one event and now I am ready.

To run this the right way, I need to take risks… I have to run it as if I am not afraid of blowing up or DNF’ing (Did Not Finish.) And you know what? I realized myself the other day that I am afraid of my success. Seriously.

I am afraid of being 1/3rd or so into the race and realizing that I AM doing well and that I can reach my goal (which is scary, let me tell you.) And then I am scared of the knowing that I can do it but then facing what it is really going to cost me in terms of pain and discomfort to get the thing done, and the subsequent decision to just do it.

Of course, I fear the failure as well… not being as fast as I want to be and realizing very early that my goal is out of reach, but more than that I admit, I am afraid of the success as well. If I had to put it into words, in a way I fear a loss of a certain innocence or unknowing as doing what I want to do will put me into such a dark void of unknowns from a running and racing standpoint that I have NEVER visited before.

Success requires risks… success sometimes comes with losses as well, but never fear success because of these things. Remember… It’s not the absence of fear that makes you great. It is the action that you take in the face of that fear that makes you great. Never fear success and never fear failing… because when it comes right down to it… they are just opposite sides of the same coin.

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – A Certified Life Coach In Aspen Colorado

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Photo By Andy Wooten 17 August 2013 (The time to beat this year. Me at the 2013 LT100 finish)

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