Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fear of Success/Fear of Failure


The new August-September 2008 videos will be up by the end of the week. The new UPositive Creativity and Life Coaching Goal Attainment Tip is about making decisions, and the Creativity Challenge focuses on synesthesia (“joined perception”). Take a look/listen at www.YouTube.com/UPositive. Thank you Lance!

The first items from Batya Sez… UPositive’s product line of motivational, inspirational, slightly cynical, and just plain fun sayings on caps and T-shirts, mousepads and mugs, magnets and more should also be available by the end of this week. You can find them through the Shop link at
www.UPositive.com or through www.CafePress.com/UPositive (I haven’t tested this link yet…if it changes I’ll post the new one here next Monday). The second batch of items should be available in another week or so.

The Website,
www.UPositive.com, is semi-functional!!!! There are some important changes that will be posted in a few days; the eBook is ready but not yet connected to the site, and the Links page is not up-to-date but will be soon. Feel free to wander around the site and let me know what you think!

Look for a big grand opening party in mid-September! Details will be available by the end of this month!

Fear of Failure/Fear of Success

In the past two weeks, the topic of fear in relation to creative activity and/or goal attainment has come up a number of times. I’m not going to address the difference between the fear of failure vs the fear of success here, because the results are the same: we become stuck, inactive, unable to accomplish our desires, and often depressed.

Fear is an interesting emotion. Most of our emotions reside in the right brain. Fear, on the other hand, seems to originate in the left brain, jump the dividing line of the corpus callosum, and take up residence in the right brain. There, it masquerades as an intense emotion rather than the belief(s) that it is.

“I might fail,” is a thought, not an emotion, and the resulting beliefs, such as “I’m not good enough,” or “Then I am worthless,” or “Then no one will love me,” or many other possible thoughts jump up with it. Sometimes they’re just under the surface of awareness, but with a bit of scratching through, we’ll find them.

When we allow fear of failure/success to run our lives, to make choices regarding actions on the to-do list of attaining our goals, we often fall into a depression, which further shackles our forward motion. Often, breaking through depression requires taking action no matter what: whether we feel like we want to or not. (Biochemical depression might need a biochemical response as well as taking action). Even very small activities can engender increased energy.

I think the most powerful tool to fight the fear of failure/success is courage. Courage is often a doing-it-anyway attitude. I’m going to try whether I fail or succeed. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “the only true failure is in not trying” or some such wording. Courage is something we all have because it can be made up. Courage can come from “living as if” as often as it comes from some personality strength. It can be derived from stubbornness (“I won’t let that stop me!”) and from rebelliousness (“So, left brain, you think you have the last word? I don’t think so!”). In breaking through fear of failure/success, it doesn’t really matter where your courage comes from. Gather it together and use it.

Take a look through the Shop page at UPositive.com (well, in a week or two). If you need a reminder, the “Do it Anyway” products, with their inner-goblin faces, will remind you that you’re not alone in this battle against your fears.

The other recommendation I have for addressing and conquering the fear of failure/success is to let go of your desire for perfection. We’re human: perfection belongs to God/gods/the Universe (whatever your belief, please translate to your own understanding). Accept that you’re going to fail at being perfect.

The Dine People (Navajo) added a dream thread to their weavings, which wandered through the rugs at a meandering diagonal while all the other threads were at right-angles. The Japanese build a flaw into their pottery. Both do these for the same reason: what they create should not be perfect, cannot be perfect, isn’t meant to be perfect. They’re human. Even their most successful creations are imperfect. And they see a beauty in that.

The August-September UPositive Goal Attainment video about decision-making addresses the fear of making choices, and offers a process to break through and make the best-possible choice of the moment. Take a look: it might be helpful to you.

There’s a lot more conversation possible about fear of failure/success. I’d like to hear your thoughts, suggestions, and experiences about it. Please post your comments and stories here.

Note: Primal fear---of such things as loud noises, falling, possibly the dark, large animals with sharp teeth growling at us, and, in Romania especially, Dracula, arises from our Reptilian brain, but is not the topic of this conversation.