Fear of failure or fear of success

Tracking towards success

Tracking towards success


A common practice for the New Year is to dream about what success looks like for us. Many people set goals, resolve to work harder, focus on the’ right’ things and maintain a positive attitude. A great start, but we can find our everyday lives have overtaken our plans and we’re back to dreaming rather than doing.

Is it because we’re busy or are we afraid of the outcome?

The familiar cliché is fear of failure, but that’s a misnomer. Most people are very familiar with failure, and as a consequence have little to fear from it. Often failure meets our ‘deep down’ expectations, reaffirms our opinion of our abilities, and removes the discomfort of having to try.

Our version of failure may be nothing of the sort.

We may have achieved much in our lives but view ourselves as a failure because we’re unable to meet the lofty goals we have set for ourselves. Others are afraid to try or to put in the effort required to change their current circumstances. And we love it when we don’t have to try; isn’t it great to be ‘let off the hook?’

This may sound crazy but because we know failure so intimately, its familiarity gives us comfort – ‘Oh well, at least I had a go and now know I can’t do it, just as I thought’. And we get rewarded by the sympathy and care of others so it feels alright.

The real issue is fear of success, and since we’re not familiar with it, we’re drawn away from it and back to what we know best: failure. It may seem odd since we covet success so much that we would subconsciously move away from it when it’s within our grasp. But that is exactly what happens time after time.

Be aware that this may happen. Set yourself a reasonable goal and allocate time to chase it. Small steps lead to big results.

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One Response to “Fear of failure or fear of success”

  1. adamnrave Says:

    Fear of success … Hmmm … Anyway, it’s small and reasonable goals for me this year … thanks for the advice. Always a good read.

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