Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fear of Success

You may think that it is a little peculiar, a fear of success, that is. But it is what I have. For the last week or two, I have been intensely anxious when I write or comment on my site, or anyone else's for that matter.

I still have an intense fear of failure, even though I had to fight it in order to trade. I don't like failing. It feels invalidating. But it comes with the territory. You have to be able to say, "I was wrong," and let go in order to succeed at trading.

But fear of success, that's outlandish. Why have a fear of succeeding? There is literature on it. I probably would have never figured it out myself if someone wiser and more perceptive in the psychological realm hadn't told me. It seems so counter-intuitive. Who could fear being good at something?

I suppose it's not the fear of being good at something. It's the fear of the consequences. The hatred, the height, the unpleasant reactions of others. The bullying, the guilt. And, quite possibly the worst, feeling like you have succeeded only to be called an idiot for having ever tried. Having your success undermined and disparaged.

What goes into making this site must first overcome those feelings. I struggle to keep posting, to keep my thoughts positive and encouraging. I can't even believe that so many people who I admire have linked to me. It's overwhelming. It makes me happy.

But it also scares the living shit out of me.

And it's not only online that I have these feelings. I experience them frequently in other parts of my life.

Such irrationality needs to be addressed;

I need to let go and take care of myself.


Trader-X said...

Interesting post.

Fear of success is actually quite common. It stems from thinking you are not worthy of having money and the things that come along with it more so than what others will think of you (though that is a factor).

You think you don't deserve money, a nice house, a beautiful companion. Why? It is different for everyone.

Until you change your thinking to accept success - to accept that you deserve it and everything that comes with it, you will commit self-sabotage. That could mean taking bad setups, doing things you know will result in failure, et cetera.

There is nothing wrong with success. There is nothing wrong with money. But only you can change your mindset.

All the best.

Rob said...

Hi CP,

I would say the key to conquering either fear, is to keep facing it.

I think it gets easier over time.

Just my 2 cents :-)

Good luck!

Charlie G. said...

Despite all my psychological hang ups, I've never really had that much fear of success - I'm more worried about failing. Not trying something because its hard or their is high failure rate or whatever. I think both Trader X and Rob said it better than I. Self awareness can go a long 2ay.

Complacent Panda said...

Trader X, thanks for the reply. It definitely helps to have others' outlook on the situation. You're right about not believing that I'm worthy enough for the rewards. I fight with it for many reasons. I have to let go of some of those childhood traumas and whatnot in order to succeed. Self-sabotage has been the name of the game for quite some time. Trading does help point it out to me.

Rob, facing fear is terribly anxiety provoking. But you're right. The fears just become worse if you don't face them.

Charlie, self awareness is definitely a requirement for self improvement and change.

Phil said...

I, too, feared success as much as I feared failure. I finally realized that the only way out of this dilemma was to redefine success and what it means to me. Eventually, I began to aspire to mediocrity, and I've been successful ever since. The best part is that no one's the wiser.

Flip said...

Check out the post on trader feed, it may help you!




Market Monkey said...

Hey CP,

It's certainly a small world! I've been going through something similar, so I can relate. Positive dialogue with yourself will eventually breakdown these feelings...asking the right questions will remove the doubt you have that you deserve anything less than the best.

Take Care


Complacent Panda said...

Hello MM!

Glad you could relate. Yes, positive dialogue (I didn't believe it at first) is one of the most important aspect.

Thanks for the additional insight!