Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Self-Improvement: Success comes with a price

As strange as it sounds, many people actually fear success. And this fear holds them back from achieving their goals and dreams.

But how could anyone possibly fear such a wonderfully positive thing as success? It may sound more reasonable to fear failure, so what is this all about?

Here are some reasons why people fear success:
  1. Change itself is scary
    It is easier to maintain status quo and go along unhinkingly. Life is easier when you can live it on autopilot. Change brings you into the unknown with its mix of exciting adventure and scary possibilities.

  2. People will expect you to succeed again
    There is a new pressure to perform to a level you did not have to before. You are aware of people watching and waiting for you to repeat your good performance.
    The bar has been raised on your performance levels. Your old habits and processes will not work. You have to change familiar and comfortable ways of doing things for the new.

  3. You will get more attention from people
    If you are a private person, or are not used to having an audience, being in the limelight will take some adjusting to.

  4. Your private life may suffer
    Athletes and actors who make it big complain that they no longer have privacy, and that they must hire security personnel and worry about financial and personal safety issues.

  5. You question if you can do it again
    If you succeed the first time, and fail the next time, people will say it was a fluke. This puts added pressure on this second performance and takes away the value of the first performance should you fail.

  6. Your time demands will change
    You have less time now because maintaining new levels of performance brings new demands on your time and new experiences you have never had.

  7. People expect you to "be" a certain way now
    Famous stars in show business are expected to be big tippers or to sign autographs, and if they do not, are denigrated. People have a set of expectations about how you should behave in your new position.

  8. It is harder to stay at the top than to get there
    It was tough succeeding, but maintaining your success is usually even harder. It takes more time, more planning and with your new distractions and obligations, keeping focus is even more demanding.

  9. You make enemies when you perform better than others
    You may leave former peers behind, symbolically and literally, when you raise the bar. Many people may be happy for your success but some may feel slighted and envious.

  10. Being a success can limit you
    When an actor makes it big in a role, he is forever remembered as that character - and if he does not manage his career well, he will become typecast.
    When you do a great job on a project, you might be known as "the one" to do this job for eternity because you are "so good" at it.

  11. Being a success changes your self-image
    Perhaps you have always wondered if you could succeed at something. You may not have felt worthy of this success.

People may have told you, covertly or overtly, that you do not deserve success. You, at least, know your place as one who is average.

When you succeed, people will look to you for advice, leadership and as being a model of virtue, and it will forever change how you see yourself.


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