While fear of failure is very well understood, could you be one who suffers from fear of success? There are many common reasons for it and once you understand the reasons, you may well overcome your fear of succeeding. The following clarifies the difference between fear of failure and fear of success, and shows how you can overcome your fear of succeeding.

Understanding The Fear of Success
By George Sims

The Fear of Success if probably the most misunderstood human emotion in existence. Most of us confuse this fear with the Fear of Failure which is much easier understood.

Webster’s says Success is “favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the satisfactory accomplishment of something attempted; the attainment of wealth, position or the like…”

However, we define Success as “the continuous and progressive realization of our “life purpose or chief aim.”

The first and most important point we need to clarify is the difference between purpose and goals.

The dictionary defines purpose as “that which is set up as an objective to be reached or accomplished; the use for which something is intended, its reason for being; an end or aim….”

A Goal is defined as “a point set as the end of a race; an end toward which one directs his exertions, an aim or objective…”

As you can see, the two could be considered very similar. Purpose is often referred to as the primary goal for any endeavor. So goals then become a way of measuring how Successful we feel.

People really do fear Success!

If asked, most people would state avidly that they were not afraid of Success, they would laugh and say, “Not me. I might be afraid of failure, but most certainly not of Success.” Yet most of us are very busy “successfully” failing – not having the things we want, not doing what we want when we want to. If in fact we were afraid of failure we would be doing the opposite, which is Succeeding.

Normally a Fear of Failure would exist after a person feels they have reached some level of Success and then become afraid that they might lose that Success which they have achieved.

Why would anyone fear Success? Doesn’t everyone want Success with lots of money, status, and comfort? But what about all the responsibility that goes along with it, and all the hard work it takes to get it and then to keep it?

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Most of us have the image that rich people are crooks and snobs!

This creates a double-edged sword in our psychic. We want what they have materially, but don’t want to be like how we think they are. The fact that we must come to terms with is that “most wealthy people gave before they received!” In addition, most wealthy people I know, continue to donate their time and money to worthy causes while, in many cases, providing jobs and success opportunities for others.

Therefore, if we are ever to be successful and our vision of Success includes wealth, we must change our beliefs.


There is a commonly held belief about giving that says, “It is better to give then to receive.” That message is true because it is giving that opens our hearts and increases our ability to receive, if we let it.

It is as important to be able to receive as to give. Many of us feel awkward receiving from those we imagine to be less fortunate than us. When we don’t allow ourselves to receive, we prevent others from giving to us. It is as blessed to receive as it is to give. Receiving gives joy, satisfaction and gratitude to the giver as well as to the receiver. Ultimately, giving and receiving are the same.


There is another aspect of Success that is much more subtle. It has to do with rebellion and “getting even” with authority, particularly parents.

Some people are driven to succeed because their parents told them they were no good, stupid, bound to fail – rebels they are, they will succeed to prove their parents wrong. Others will fail because their parents drove them to achievement and Success as a child and they are so angry at authority that they literally fail to “get even”.


There is a belief called the “work ethic,” (i.e. you have to work HARD to achieve Success, to earn a living). To the degree that you believe in hard work = Success, it is necessary for you to work hard and expend energy to achieve your goals. If you are willing to work hard and to change your beliefs, hard work can be transformed into enjoyable effort.

What makes any work hard is not necessarily the amount of physical energy involved in the task, but the amount of time and thought energy we put into not wanting to do the task, thinking about how hard it is and doing everything but the task itself. Being willing to do the work and then actually doing it, puts us in present time and makes the task easier, maybe even fun!

One way to release your belief about hard work is to master living yourself while you are doing nothing (sometimes called the discipline of laziness)! If you recall your childhood, it was most likely not okay to lie in bed and be lazy, to hang out and daydream. We suggest that you definitely take a “lazy day” and enjoy it!


There is another element of Success which is often forgotten. Most people think of Success as “out there”, something they need to work at achieving and bringing into their lives, as something that they do not already have.

If fact, for us to think about becoming Successful, automatically assumes that we are now “not Successful.” If thought is creative, then we become an unsuccessful person trying to become a Success (which is a little like trying to put a square peg in a round hole?)

If we live with the thought that we are now “not a Success”, then what we do in trying to be Successful will fail, because that’s what happens to unsuccessful people. This concept of Success is its own “Catch 22”.

In exploring the nature of people, we have found that people would rather be right than rich, right about their thought of themselves that they are now “not Successful”.

Perhaps one of the more difficult parts of changing beliefs is that you must be willing to be wrong, to acknowledge that those old beliefs did not work for you and possibly even to make your parents “wrong” in that what they told you about the way the work is was not true or absolute. It can and will be different for you.

The first step is acknowledging that you are already Successful. No matter what you’ve been doing, you’ve been doing it Successfully. You may even have been failing Successfully – in which case there is no such thing as failure. The conclusion is that there is also no such thing as Success. There is simply doing what you are doing and getting results. Rather than judge these results as either Success or failure, try this process.

Look at your result, acknowledge yourself for creating it (no matter what it looks like). Ask yourself “is this what I really wanted?” If the answer is yes, give thanks, take a tip from God (the seventh day of rest) and sit back and admire your creation. If the answer is no, take a look at your mind and see if you can locate any thought which might have prevented your desired result (such as “I really didn’t deserve it anyway.” Or “I guess I didn’t work hard enough”). Take that thought and turn it around into an affirmation, i.e. “I now get what I want whether I think I deserve it or not,” or “I no longer have to work hard to get what I want.”

At this point you can acknowledge yourself for discovering another hidden barrier to your Success.

Life becomes a continuous cycle of working hard to achieve another temporary Success instead of enjoying the work that we do, secure in the knowledge that we are always Successful, always good enough, and always satisfied.

Experiencing Success becomes the process of choosing what you want and knowing that you can have it and watching it manifest as a part of the process of life itself.

About George Sims: There is more great information available Here; George Sims; Article Source: Ezine Articles.

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