Sunday, March 14, 2010

Success - To fear or not to fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you…,”
                                                                           “Return to Love” by Marianne Williamson*

Despite the plethora of advice that tells us to think positive or use affirmations to heal or visualize the perfect life, career or lover, there is one crucial aspect missing from all this advice, which is the utter fear and dread of success. As odd as this sounds, many of us are terrified of it.

          To be successful means you have to be outstanding, stand out from the crowd and set aside the voices in your head that tell you can't do that, achieve, you’re a failure and so on. Most of us want to melt in with the crowd and revel in mediocrity  It is safer, anonymous and we do not have to extend ourselves. We may live in the age of celebrity worship, standing in 'awe' of those who have ‘made it’ but this is just another manifestation of the absolute terror of success. It’s far easier to live your dreams through another person than realise them yourself.
          Of course there are different versions of success. One can have celebrity success or financial success or academic success but they all require the individual to rise above the crowd, to separate from the pack and be different. We call the truly famous ‘stars’, whom we can gaze upon and admire from afar. We place these ordinary people on pedestals like demi-gods who are untouchable. These stars live out lives that us normal folk believe we can never dare to aspire to.
          Which of course is utter bollocks. We can all attain our own level of success if we want to. Success is not for the lucky or the privileged. It is there for all of us but to be successful is frightening. You have to push yourself. You have to believe in yourself. You have to set aside the desire to be small, to hide and be indistinguishable and most importantly, we have to own our personal power and that means we can no longer blame fate, life, other people, nature and so forth for our misfortunes. Our success or lack of it comes down to a simple yet difficult choice, to fear or not to fear.

© The Bag Lady March 2010

* In the midst of internet land, this quote was mistakenly attributed to Nelson Mandela.

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