Taste of Success

Photo taken by Kigali Wire

I entered a simple phrase, and Google led me to an article written in 1996 containing the information I sought. The Internet is truly a magical portal. Who says we can’t go back in time? I just did.

So, what did I Google for? Simple - “Can one be afraid of success?”

A question to which the response I received included…

“Any of these examples may share a common cause: fear of success. It’s strange to think, at a time when so many people are struggling just to hold on to what they’ve got, that fear of succeeding could be much of an issue or do much damage. It is and does. “Fear of success is a terrible problem in this culture,” says Brian Schwartz, a psychologist and consultant in Greenwich, Connecticut. “The vast majority of people I see are afflicted with it.” What is so treacherous about this anxiety is that the people who suffer from it most acutely are usually not aware they have it. Those who do know are not eager to own up in print, at least not by name. In an ever more Darwinian business world, an admitted weakness is a dangerous thing.”

Article: “Are you Afraid of Success?, written by Anne B. Fisher and Joyce E. David, July 8, 1996, Fortune Magazine

I’ve recently taken an interest to this phenomenon. I’ve come to know people who excelled regardless of circumstance and people who seemed to sabotage themselves. Quite frankly I find self-sabotage absurd, even more-so when the person is highly intelligent, charismatic and of well upbringing. Unfortunately, it happens. Being the curious person that I am, I wanted to learn a bit more and come to my conclusion - Is self-sabotage a psychological, genetic or learned?

Based on the article below and follow-up reading on the Jonah Complex (fear of success which leads to never achieving self-actualization) I believe a ‘Fear of Success’ and ‘Self-sabotage’ are psychological conditions and can be overcome. I’m not saying it’ll be easy but if you fear success, you likely don’t fear failure so taking risks should come naturally. Perhaps the best to overcome fear of success is to take risks in your career, love life, network - If along the way you succeed, just try not to freak out. Remove ‘success’ from your vocabulary and concentrate on doing what you love, whilst being surrounded by people you love. 

The way our brains work is absolutely fascinating and the ease of Google search means learning about it, is only a few clients away. I love this stuff!