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Saturday, 10 December 2016
How to Stop being Scared of Success
“Functionally, a man is somewhat like a bicycle. A bicycle maintains its poise and equilibrium only so long as it’s moving forward toward something.” – Maxwell Maltz.
Wherever you live in the world, you’re in a pursuit. Some of your pursuits are dear to you. Long-term hopes and fantasies that make you dream with starry eyes.
But maybe the prospect of achieving your goals, also makes you feel slightly uncertain. The visions that make you uncertain take the most work. But they’re also the ones worth most going for. They require some level of sacrifice that’s not just financial.
Examples include: • Writing that book you’ve been dreaming about for years • Participating in that talent show • Getting out there and meeting the love of your life • Finally getting that PhD • Travelling the World
(Note: We can lose sight of our big picture goals easily. So, I have a special bonus designed to help you focus on what matters. Keep reading to learn more.)
• The Obstacle you will Face
If you choose to step into your grandest ideas, you’re going to face your fear. It will snatch you from the bottom of your soul, and throw you into a cascading series of emotions. It will test you to see if you’re deserving of what you’re going after.
You’re going to feel like you’re about to lose something.
It may be pride, ego money, or hope – or all of it. Some of us will undoubtedly run away at first sight of fear. Some of us will hide. Some of us might have to warm up to it before it warms up to us.
Fear can make us freeze, or shake in our knees. It can make us shiver and cry… Fear, since the dawn of humanity, has been responsible for deterring some of the noblest dreams.
But it’s only by walking through it, that we’re able to overcome it.
• What is Success?
The word ‘success’ is probably what made you click on this click-bait headline. And I’m glad it did, because you might now finally get closer to what you should be really pursuing.
Let me explain.
Success has been connoted as anything from having a nice house to being content with living a minimal life. But the underlying similarity that lies between all definitions of success is: growth and contentment. Two seemingly paradoxical ideas. But they work together.
If you’re not growing, in some way, you’re not being successful. If you’re not content, in some way, then you’re also not being successful.
If you experience growth, then by definition, you are being successful in some form. Success isn’t this glittery self-aggrandizing event that makes others see how “special” you are.
For various reasons, your success (growth) might end up making someone feel bad. The fact that you shine, might leave them to inspect their faults more closely. On the other hand, thousands of people might be inspired by your example.
But then, you may start to see your own sense of self-worth through the eyes of others; falling into a fake mirage of “success”. One that will paradoxically take you away from ‘self-contentment and growth’ – the two qualities are intrinsic to being successful.
In short, you need to stop believing in this idea of becoming successful – it implies a destination.
But being successful implies that you always have the choice each day.
-Do you choose to push yourself a little more in your craft? -Do you focus your attention on what matters most? -Do you prioritize your work?
Sure, you might eventually receive the glittery things that come with serving the world with your gift i.e. the house, the fancy car, the trips. But realize that the new possessions you may have, the higher income, the new relationships – are not success.
They are the consequence of choosing to be successful (consistently) for a long enough period.
• Ask yourself: How Would you Live if you only had Six months Left to Live?
Asking yourself this question puts your excuses to the side, till they no longer fit into your view. With no awareness of death, your vision can become hazy – uncertainty creeps in. Facing it however, all your potential choices are more carefully inspected. Your wishes and possibilities are examined under the stethoscope of life.
Clarity starts to seep into the edges of our reality until every right choice becomes more self-evident. Your feelings become secondary. You observe them with the awareness that like anything, they will pass with time. But let’s be real. Taking the risks needed to achieve your desires might not work out. You might get rejected; you might fall flat on your face, repeatedly.
But the self-confidence you experience, due to having made a choice to step out of your comfort-zone, is what matters.
So ask yourself, what choices would you make, if you were going to die in the six months from this very date?
Would you take the chance and move abroad? Even if you’re not too sure if it’s going to work out?
Would you take that trip you’ve been dreaming about? Even though you don’t know how it will pass?
You need to be okay with a little uncertainty. In fact, you should embrace it. Because if everything was predictable, then the magic of life would be lost.
I’m not saying you don’t need to do some thinking before making a leap. But asking yourself how you would live if you only had six months to live, might be the only way that you can avoid paralysis by analysis.
It might be the only way you’ll stop making excuses and thinking too much. The more often you’re able to stand on the edge of that cliff of uncertainty, and take that leap of faith, the more you will live your adulthood life to its fullest.
Takeaway: Accepting your uncertainties is paradoxically the only way you’ll become sure in your life.
• Inspect this thought: Who am I to deserve this success?
Our childhood has a profound impact on the way we see ourselves. Many of us have had poor upbringings, removing the glow of our inherent, positive self-image. So, as a consequence, some of us see ourselves as of lower value to other human beings. I know I used to at least, and I still suffer from this to a small degree.
In the light of low self-confidence, any potential success feels misaligned. It goes against years of conditioning. And even the mere idea of it naturally makes us feel like impostors. Even me writing this article, it’s easy for me to tell myself… “who am I to write this?” But really, the question I should be asking is… “who I am to NOT write this article?”.
We all have the same intrinsic worth. No one is better than you, and you are not better than anyone. You are simply what you make of yourself. I am what I make of myself. While people do have different abilities, and virtues, at everyone’s base level, we all have the same human worth.
Recognizing that someone’s intrinsic value is interdependent of their career, status, or fame paradoxically frees us to attach our self-worth to what’s deep inside us, not what’s seen as “valuable” by the world.
So whenever you envision what you want to achieve, and you crackle under the thought of… am I good enough? Can do I do it? Realize that what you’re really asking yourself, is if you deserve this success. Whenever you notice the slightest inkling of self-doubt creep into your mind, change your thought pattern to something that serves you.
Takeaway: You deserve going after what you want.
“You can get everything you want in life, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar.
So that’s it! Those are some of the important mindsets you need to instill if you want to slowly break away from the fear of success (change never happens instantaneously). If you’re interested in learning more about what you can do to increase your odds of growing and increasing your contentment levels, I’m going to help you in every steps.
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