A large part of why people fail is procrastinating/ lack of productivity. And a large part of procrastination is a FEAR of SUCCESS
Doesn’t this sound silly? Surely YOU don’t have a fear of success? You want to succeed, right?
Fear of success is really a subconscious fear of the unknown. Your subconscious knows your life will change dramatically after success (because thats what is driving you to work), but it doesnt know what the future looks like
Therefore it is afraid. And therefore it sabotages you to avoid the life change
This is a very brief description, but a good one. How do we overcome this? My solution is a concept I invented called the ‘hurdles race’ model of overcoming fear of success. It is very effective and very simple!
I will discuss this in an upcoming insight, feel free to ask about the fear itself or give your own thoughts and examples!
When you read a non-fiction book, do you remember it?
I love reading development books (Atomic Habits, How to Win Friends, etc) but I would only remember perhaps four or five key points afterwards, even if I really enjoyed the book
I wanted to not only remember more of it, but also maximise my use of the book in my life.
I tried starting a reading club, which fizzled out. I tried a podcast with a friend, which we became too busy to do regularly. In the end, I have settled on a good solution:
-read a chapter
-go back through the chapter and write down the main points (as if you were going to give a podcast on the chapter after)
-at the end of the book, once you have notes for each chapter, go through them and write ten essential points for the entire book and five great quotes
-add these fifteen things to a ‘development book’ that you refer to regularly
-use these fifteen things to come up with 2-5 actionable things you will do every day/ week/ month/ time you do ‘x’ activity, based off this
-write these 2-5 things in an ‘action’ section of your development book, as well as adding them to your daily/ weekly/ monthly routines as required
The difference this makes is immense- reading the book takes twice as long (or more), but the takeaway from the book and impact in your life is ten times the size. Try it and see how it goes!
3/4 introducing my ‘hurdles race’ method for eliminating self-sabotage that comes from FEAR OF SUCCESS.
This method also cures many aspects of fear of failure, because it works by addressing the fear of the unknown of our subconscious mind, which is the cause of the self-sabotage (this was covered in parts 1 and 2)
So the hurdles race method is an analogy based on an athlete in a hurdles race. They have four STEPS between each hurdle, and they have several HURDLES to clear.
If we imagine we are partially blindfolded and we can only see the step we are on, we will be afraid to take a single step, and never go forward. If we are a bit less blindfolded and can see one step in front of us, we will move forward very carefully.
If we can see some more, and see all the way to our next hurdle, we can safely take our steps towards this hurdle. BUT we will be afraid to make the jump over the hurdle, because we don’t see what is on the other side!
This is exactly how our subconscious brain works. The less it knows about the future, the more hesitant it is. If you have multiple medium sized goals to hit a big goal, this is like the steps (medium goals) and the hurdle (big goal).
But if you notice, it is not hitting the goal that we are scared of in our hurdles race, and it is not hitting the goal that our subconscious is afraid of. Read again, and you will see that it is not knowing what is BEYOND that goal that makes us scared of achieving the goal.
So the reason you are self-sabotaging and not hitting your medium goals is not because you are afraid of hitting the next goal, it is because you are afraid of the goal after. If you are hitting your medium goals but never clearing that big hurdle goal, it is because you are afraid of what comes after that!
In part 4, we will look at how to implement the solution to this, why it works, and use the hurdles race metaphor to cure our self-sabotaging fear of success to allow us to progress comfortably
If you have any thoughts, comments or questions let me know!
Part 4/4 on the FEAR OF SUCCESS, why it sabotages you and how to implement a strategy that successfully mitigates it
So we have learned that our subconscious mind sabotages our productivity when it is afraid of the unknown, and fear of success is simply a fear of the unknown life that comes with success. Our mind would rather us stay in our comfortable life than achieve a new successful one. The fear of the unknown is also a considerable factor in the fear of failure, too.
We learned that the solution follows the ‘hurdles race’ metaphor, so if you are partly blindfolded and can only see one step in front of you, you will not take a step (because you cannot see where it goes). If you are a bit less blindfolded and can see all the way up to the next hurdle in your race, you can safely hit the steps up to that hurdle but will never clear the hurdle because of the big jump into the unknown after the hurdle. So this bring us to part 4, which is how to use this metaphor to overcome it!
Following the metaphor, what we need to do when we are on the first step before a hurdle (there are multiple steps until the hurdle) is to be looking at the upcoming hurdle. But once we are moving towards that hurdle, we no longer look at that hurdle. We actually look at the next hurdle after it!
Similarly, when we have multiple medium goals to hit we need to be focusing on the upcoming big goal, but as soon as we are moving towards that big goal we MUST start focusing on the next big goal after that one.
This is vital because as you do it, your subconscious is adjusting to the assumption that this is what your life will be. It familiarises itself with your current goals, assumes you will hit them, explores what your life will be like, and comes to terms with it. This familiarisation can only happen when you have already begun seriously focusing on the next goal after it. Especially for clearing a hurdle (a big milestone) you absolutely must have a very clear view of what lies on the other side, in detail.
So this is the solution! Plan, in detail, all of your medium steps up to a big goal (for example all the steps up to the point where w business would get premises or employ people or some other big change). But once you are moving towards this, you must focus in detail on the next big goal after it (for example buying delivery vans to bring your logistics in-house, or buying bigger property for more employees).
Planning this will familiarise your subconscious with the concept of what your life will be like after the success of your upcoming goals, and this removes the fear of the unknown which causes you to self-sabotage your productivity.
So to conclude: plan up to the first major goal/ major change in your life before you begin. Once you begin, plan in detail the steps up to and beyond the next major goal/ change in order to truly familiarise your upcoming life changes to your subconscious. The self sabotaging behaviours that come from a fear of the unknown will disappear, and you can comfortably progress in your aims
I hope this was helpful! If you have any comments, questions or insights please let me know!