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Fear of Success

By Ray Terris

It takes courage to achieve victory.

You would not think that people would have a fear of success, but they do. It is a fear of the unknown. People are scared of making changes, 'What will happen if I .....'

There seems to be an instinctive fear of anything new, different or previously untried. I think it may be a basic animal instinct, an animal will usually back away from anything it is unfamiliar with. We are not animals, we have a rational, reasoning mind and that is what we must use to overcome our fears.

Different is 'Dangerous'

All through history there have been men and women who dared to be different, to step outside the box. They are often ridiculed, sometimes violently so. In 1628 when William Harvey showed that blood circulated through the body rather than flowing like tides, as stated by the early Greek physician Galen, the medical society mocked and shunned him. There is even a quote from that time, "I would rather err with Galen than be right with Harvey!" It was not from disbelief that they rejected Harvey, it was the fear of going against the status quo. Fear of being outside the pack. Harveys truth was not widely accepted for over a hundred years.

It is fortunate for mankind that there are some brave souls who are willing to take the risks. I came across an old book where the author 'proved' that traveling at more than 30 miles per hour could collapse a mans lungs and rupture his liver. And this was written after people had been traveling on railroads for years. He had a real fear of success, other peoples success.

The Uncomfortable Comfort Zone

People tend to have a comfort zone that they rarely, if ever, step out of. When I was younger, just starting to work, I had a desire to travel. Two of my co-workers also said they wanted to travel, they continually talked about roaming the world, working their way. We agreed that we could and would do it. Months went by and they were still planning. It took me a year to realize that they were never going to do it.

I quit my job and started to travel around England. It was not easy, I worked on fishing trawlers, picked peas, worked in factories and a few times even had to sleep on the beach. Of course I was being 'irresponsible' and 'foolish' but I was living my dream.

I have since traveled across Canada a few times and most of the United States at least once. I plan to travel a lot more, only from now on it will be with a bit more money and comfort.

You will hear people complaining about there life, they hate their job, they have no money and on and on. Try to get them to change it, with some people it would be easier to get them to drink poison. Even when you show them a good way to make money they will come up with all kinds of excuses. "I don't have the time, I don't have the money" well they never did have the time or money, and they never will unless they change something. It seems they have more fear of success than fear of failure.

To be successful you have to step out of your comfort zone. You will have to accept that you will no longer be one of the majority, you will be one of the five percent who are successful.

Take Responsibility

There are some other factors that make people have a fear of success. To be really successful you must take full responsibility for your life and actions, that takes courage. Can you look at yourself in the mirror and say "all the failures in my life are my fault." The broken marriage, the huge debt, that lousy job all of them occurred because of your actions or lack of actions.

Do not take this as a self guilt trip or put down. It should be just the opposite, it takes a big person to be that honest with themselves. Here is a quote that I thought was to the point.
To err is human; to admit it, superhuman. Doug Larson.

It is always easy to blame someone or something else, but look at the price that is paid. When a person puts blame somewhere else they have effectively reduced their own power. They are handing control of their lives to outside influences that they have no control over. Being at the mercy of other people and things will never lead to success. "It's not my fault, they made me do it" these are the cries of failure.

Take Action

One more thing, in order to succeed you will have to DO something. It is so comfortable to not do anything, then you could not be blamed for anything. People who stick their necks out sometimes get their heads cut off.

Be prepared for some attacks or rejection from the people who fear success. Particularly when you are starting out on your road to success. You will hear that you are being ridiculous, it will never work, you think you are special. Don't take it to heart, just realize that it is their fear of anything different. Let your passion pull you through any hard times.

So now you have a choice, you can take the seemingly easy route and never be really comfortable. Or you can grit your teeth, face your fear of success and take control of your life.

I know what my choice is. It is not always comfortable or safe but it sure is a lot more enjoyable.

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