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Ayesha Sayed

Student, UAEU

TEDCRED 500+

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Fear of success?

I recently read a quote that says: 'Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure'
I've been experimenting with ideas, fear,risks and allowing myself to work out my ideas and I've had amazing success so far, but there's this nagging fear of these astonishing results. It's as if I'm afraid of succeeding! Has anyone ever felt this? Why are we so afraid of things working out FOR us? And how can we remedy this?

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    Feb 16 2012: Hello again Ayesha,
    You offer another GREAT topic:>)

    The entire quote, which I LOVE, is:
    “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. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
    (Marianne Williamson....quoted by Nelson Mandela in his inauguration speech).

    We have had centuries of indoctrination which tells us that suffering is noble...the more we suffer, the better place we will have in heaven! We've been told that to pay attention to our own happiness/contentment is selfish. We've been taught that to give to others is THE way to.........something!

    What we have not been taught much about is that we are all talented, skilled, intelligent, insightful, successful human beings, and each and every one of us is on a different path...a different life journey. We've been taught, many times not to pay attention to our "self".

    Stress, and not having "enough" seems to be a popular mantra with many people, and I believe sometimes, people feel more "successful", or "productive" when they are stressed, over worked, anxious, suffering, and NOT enjoying life?
    What do you think/feel Ayesha?
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      Feb 17 2012: Interesting perspective! And we've all got to stop and ask ourselves which parts of our personality are taught to us by the failings in our societal perspective, or more-so part of our instinctive nature. Are our fears the by-product of a negative, consequence-driven society? Or are they they a hard-wired reaction without an experiential source?

      I think we've got to keep from assuming either source. We've got to consider that either are possible, way the odds and shift the expected probability as new data from sociological, neurological and genetic studies are received.
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        Feb 17 2012: I agree Spencer...know thyself:>)
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        Feb 20 2012: I believe fear to be a natural feeling/emotion/reaction and I enjoy pondering where the fear stems from, because it provides information for me. I believe it comes from many sources including societal programming, and instinct. I don't believe fear is "hard wired" because if it was, we may not be able to change our perception of fear...do you think?

        I agree that it is not benificial to "assume" either source. If we know ourselves, we know what the source is, and as we know ourselves better and better on a deeper level, we can, as you say..."way the odds and shift the expected probability". I certainly consider studies and all information, and in the end, it is knowing myself, that causes a change in perspective and use for the fear. Yes....fear is useful when/if we understand it and know how to use it beneficially in our life journey:>)
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      Feb 17 2012: Hi Colleen!
      I have read the entire quote and the opening line fascinated me. I know what you mean, I've been brought up to believe that not having enough and suffering will get us into heaven, that being rich/successful has many more negatives than positives. I think that is why now that I am beginning to believe in myself and growing into myself, there are unanswered questions bubbling up and many many doubts. Doubts about whether I am deserving, about whether this really is going to happen and MANY more!
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        Feb 18 2012: Hi Ayesha,
        Well, they TRIED to teach me that as well, but I never really accepted it, even as a small child:>)

        Questions are GOOD Ayesha, in my perception, so you don't need to be afraid of questions. I feel that when/if I ever stop asking questions, I will have stopped really living the life adventure. I'm sure I will be asking questions as I am taking my last breath on this earth school. There is always another level of discovery, so keep asking the questions!!!
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          Feb 18 2012: "Earth school" - Ms. Steen, that is the perfect and most succinct despcription. Thank you!

          That is a wonderful quote and a great topic. Ii have always found it sad that so many of us are raised to believe that suffering and forced humility will pave the way to Heaven. This is not true. Humility is essential to reminding us that we are to glorify God and not ourselves, but we have for centuries gone to the extreme and taught that we are worthless (and there have been many discussions in TED on the historical reasons for that!)

          And yes, the negatives associated with wealth and success do not arise from those states, but rather from the mismanagement of those blessings. Riches and fame are not in themselves inherently bad; however, more often than not, those who have them use them to further their own ends, without any thought for others.

          But that stems from character, and Ayesha, permit me to say that you show great character in posing this question and in your subsequent posts. You are destined to do great things, as we all are. It appears a good fortune cookie for you at this time would say something like "Always question. Never doubt."

          God bless.
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          Feb 19 2012: Hi Colleen!
          It's wonderful talking to you here! I can't help wishing I could get to know you better!
          I do question a LOT of things but many of those questions are negative. also, those questions are sometimes answered immediately by the 'negative' voice inside me! So how do I turn those around? And I sometimes wonder whether there are any real answers?
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        Feb 19 2012: Thanks Verble:>)
        For me, the life adventure is about learning, so in my perception, I'm in the earth school:>)
        How we use the information we get throughout our lives always contributes to whether or not we feel successful:>)
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        Feb 20 2012: Dear Ayesha,
        It's wonderful talking to you as well:>) I LOVE conversations that openly and honestly explore, without confrontation...it's just SO much more fun than the alternative:>)

        Regarding your statement..."I do question a LOT of things but many of those questions are negative"
        How can a question be negative? I don't understand that.

        I DO however, understand how questions are sometimes answered immediately by the "negative voice inside". That, to me is generally programming from parents, religions, society etc....don't you think?

        My intuition, instinct, logical mind, does not usually answer questions immediately, but rather ponders the question without judgement. That is one way I learn where the information is coming from. If something internally or externally would like to automatically shut off the question or consideration of the question, I ask myself...where did that come from, and do I want external programming (old or new) to influence my choices and decisions? No, I do not. I certainly consider the information, ponder and sift through it, but I do not accept the information without consideration of what it genuinely means to me.
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        Feb 20 2012: OOPS...I forgot to address another of your questions Ayesha:>)

        You ask..."And I sometimes wonder whether there are any real answers?"

        I believe there are often many answers, and whatever answer we believe in at any given time, is "real" for us as individuals. I find answers by asking the question without judgement and considering all information. With new information, my answers sometimes change.

        The big thing for me, which is a little different from many people, is that I do not mind "not knowing". When we think we "know" something, we limit ourselves, and in the state of "not knowing", we are open to many possibilities, which to me seems very freeing:>) I am comfortable with "not knowing", and I LOVE it:>) Whatever we "know", or think we "know" is simply information, and I'm always open to new information:>)
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    Feb 18 2012: I experiment/ed that...

    The deepest concern (not fear) became not looking too good...

    Few are the ones that welcome someone/something better or potentially better than them in doing something... specially if well intended.

    Generally, the world value the fake humbles, smart-asses, selfish, self centered, tricky. People tend to think they are not a thread to the well established equilibrium. (I know you in TED are not like that... but TEDsters are just few thousand). =)

    Then money, if you are good you get payed and if you are really good and get too well payed someone risks having less value than before you appeared and risks also not being payed and no one actually likes to make that extra effort to be worthy when before the effort wasn't needed...

    Then at an individually level, in general people need their ego's well filled and we all know how ego's are sensitive..

    Dreams and exceptions apart, sadly this is how things work in general...

    All summed up if you have success you will need to work not only to have it, to maintain it but also to convince other people you are a good asset instead of a threat...if you are lucky people eventually understand.

    As you may not know this by fact but you surely have seen it happen, you have that sub conscious feeling to avoid being successful... deep down you know you will get in a lot of trouble!

    Now the advice part: do not care about it! Go for it! Specially if you let your ego apart and do whatever you do with the best intentions, based on the most valuable values that there are!
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      Feb 19 2012: Hello João,
      Nice to see you again on TED, and I sincerely hope your new position is going well:>)

      I believe that before we can "convince other people you are a good asset instead of a threat" we need to convince OURSELVES that we are an asset rather than a threat. Before we can feel successful with others, we need to feel successful within ourselves:>)

      Good summary, and I LOVE your last comment...."Go for it... let your ego apart and do whatever you do with the best intentions, based on the most valuable values that there are!"
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        Feb 19 2012: Hi Colleen,

        Thank you for the kind words,

        In this new phase I am.... learning... a lot... lets say it like this.

        I have been around TED =) every other day, I have been checking the talks, fast reading comments from everyone but in particular people I have as reference in TED (you for instances).

        I have been and will be more in the position of reading and learn =)

        Kind regards
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      Feb 19 2012: Hi Joao!
      Thank you for those awesome words. I can kind of relate to what you're saying esp with the subconscious feeling that being successful might be trouble. Could you expand on the idea of the ego? Do you mean not caring about what it says/fears? And thanks for the advice!

      Love,
      A.
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        Feb 20 2012: Thank you for the kind words.

        Ego means the "I" ( usually stands in front of "We"/"Us").
        So in this case we are talking about, if you come to a place where your ideas, character, energy or presence will make people around to admire your work and to have you as a valuable asset to the group, most likely there will be some one in the group who will fill his/her ego affected, because once upon a time that was his/her role.

        This kind of people just need to realize that for the group (being group a team, a division, a department, a company, a society, a nation or world) their "I" can't compromise the "We".
        As the new comer should always understand that his "I" exists and is valuable as long as it is relevant and good for the "We".

        We can all be proud of our unique capacities but we can only be glistering when we realize how the group has benefited from them.
        We have to understand the dynamics and how things change naturally. Embrace other and grow as an all, learning with who is, who goes and who comes.

        A practical example: I am truly happy for you to have this topic, because I think you are investing time and gathering people interested in something I think is most important. Whereas if I was obsessed with my Ego, I would be either upset because I wasn't the one who open this topic or I would be opening a similar topic that would be MINE.
    • Feb 20 2012: Joao
      Very nice thoughts. I think several could have books written on them!
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    Feb 19 2012: Meredith Monk was on "Speaking of Faith" this morning on our local public radio station.

    She addressed the issue of fear. One of the things she said, and which I will share with you

    Ayesha is: "The anecdote to fear is.....curiosity".

    Very simple isn't it? Change your thinking from "I'm afraid of success" to "I wonder what it will be like to be
    successful".....from fear to curiosity.

    What do you think Ayesha?
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      Feb 19 2012: GREAT idea Mary:>)
      When/if we can focus on curiosity, it takes the focus off the fear. What we focus on expands:>)
      Change our thinking, we can change our feelings, and it may change our life experience:>)

      p.s.
      Did you notice the site where we're sending get well wishes to Frans?
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      Feb 19 2012: Hi Mary!
      Thanks for replying! Wow, that is quite an awesome way of looking at fear!! I'll try it out n let you know what happens! By curiosity do you mean just wondering about it?
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        Feb 20 2012: Hi Ayesha........"By curiosity do you mean just wondering about it?"

        By curiosity I mean actually doing what it is you are fearing because you want to see
        what will happen......it's a call to action.

        It's like when there is a store opening and you are looking for a job...and there are 2,000 applicants and your brain tells you, "I will never be chosen".......and curiosity says: "GO FOR IT.....the worse thing that can happen is that you will not get it....but I will meet new people, and experience the thrill of the competition for the slot."

        Curiosity is a powerful tool to drive us.......what is the worse thing that can happen?

        "The only failure that lacks dignity.......is the failure to try". Another quote I love.

        Mary
  • Feb 18 2012: Well I think we fear our own latent potential. we fear it becuse it can corrupt us all over again. I think that once you learn to understand yourself as your own individual and your individuality then you can embrace your awareness of your capabilties.
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    Feb 17 2012: Fears which you've been taught are some of the hardest to face. I suspect my fears come from some other place, maybe my genetics. But how I confront this weakness is with the same tactic I use to confront all of my problems - to rely as thoroughly as I can on my sense of reason. It's difficult to challenge some of my fears and I believe it holds me back often. But I am not totally submissive - I will defend myself, I take pride in what I do, I maintain a sense of equality rather than inferiority in my relationships. I do so as humbly as possible, but I try to remind myself every day not to sell myself short and to achieve what I can.

    I do not think it'll ever go away. Courageous people are people who learn to live with their fear and make wise decisions despite it, not people who have abolished fear in its totality. My goal is to become courageous, and it will take still more time to become so.
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      Feb 18 2012: Spencer,
      You say..."Fears which you've been taught are some of the hardest to face".
      Is it harder to "face" these fears? Or in the long run, is it harder to live a life with these fears? I understand that change is difficult. However, think about the alternative when deciding if something is difficult or not?

      Fear is not a "weakness" in my perception. It is another one of life's challenges from which we can learn about ourselves and others. I agree with you...fear will probably never "go away"...and would we want it to?

      I wouldn't because fear gives us information. Once we recognize fear as a means by which we can get information, it no longer feels like a demon, or a weakness. I percieve myself to be a "courageous" person, and I do not make decisions "despite" fear. I use the information I get from fear and incorporate it into the decision making process. You might reach your goal of becoming a courageous person by changing your perception of fear and recognizing that it can be an important piece of the whole:>)
  • Feb 17 2012: Ayesha
    Ouch! Yes, I have. I have mornings I am experiencing this right now. While undergoing some extreme lifestyle changes, trying to rework myself, I am experiencing exactly what you say.

    My remedies? I am trying to stay positive without being overly optimistic. I try to look at realities. I am trying very hard right now to keep my mind focussed on a mid-range goal for my life. I am trying to ask myself, is this getting me where I want to go. I do want to get there. I sometimes have to do battle with myself.
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    Feb 17 2012: Quote: "I've been taught growing up that being superior is absolutely wrong, even if I ranked 3rd in the country or achieved anything"

    This expression of yours sheds light into why you fear success. Psychoanalytic therapies in which you think or meditate on how you arrived at your fear of success will help you overcome this fear.

    Many of our parents, in order to instill humility in us, went about it the wrong way. For in the long-run, we ended up not having enough self-esteem.

    I often use a quote on TED that goes: "Getting rid of a bad habit, is an undo-it-yourself project."

    Just like you, I also had a fear of success......until I realized what the root of the problem was. Once you find the root of your problem (fear), you can address it and correct it. It is different for all of us.

    Fear of success can be crippling, since the sufferer takes few risks, and makes only safe conservative choices.

    It could be that the person does not feel that their success has been earned or it could be that they fear outside forces may take away their success. The person can also be paralyzed with indecision.

    Sounds like you are on your way to solving your fear Ayesha!! Here are two more quotes to meditate on:

    "Self-trust is the first secret of success" Ralph Waldo Emerson

    "Positive self-esteem is my best chance for success." J. Lunden
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    Feb 16 2012: I've absolutely felt this, and it holds me back. I fear success. I also fear 'being superior' because my ideas may hold value over other ideas. And it does hold me back and hinder me.

    I cannot remember the exact video, but CJ with Metal Motivation tackles a few things. Look through the channel and you may find some relevant videos!

    http://www.youtube.com/user/MetalMotivation?ob=0
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      Feb 17 2012: Hi Spencer!
      Same here! I've been taught growing up that being superior is absolutely wrong, even if I ranked 3rd in the country or achieved anything. Have you ever faced this fear? What was the result?
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        Feb 18 2012: Spencer and Ayesha,
        I agree that believing we may be "superior" is not very beneficial. Does that mean we cannot try to be our best? Just because we may have different ideas, thoughts, feelings, and opinions does not necessarily make us "superior" to anyone else. We all have different skills, talents and interests, so if we change our perception of what having different information means to us, we don't necessarily see ourselves as superior. I believe that I am contributing to the whole of humankind when I share information. I am neither superior or inferior in any given situation, and I have no attachment to the information I provide:>)

        Part of being successful, in my opinion, is to believe in ourselves and be willing and able to share ourselves without judgment. To judge anyone, including ourselves to be superior or inferior is a judgment, is it not? Why do we want to do that to ourselves or to others? If we let go of that labeling, perhaps it is easier to see the bigger picture and realize that simply sharing our own perspectives, does not necessarily put us in a certain catagory regarding success or supperiority:>)
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    Feb 16 2012: Thats quite an obscure fear, atleast to myself, Mainly because my fear is essentially that I WON'T become 'powerful beyond measure'.
    Is it possible that your fear stems from a sub-conscious belief that your idea may have inherent flaws and making it popular/successful may bring forth a number of severe issues?
    For example/ If one was to have a political model, it may be possible that implementing it would cause more harm than good in the long run or quickly become too widespread to keep control of.
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      Feb 16 2012: I experience a similar fear to him, and I believe part of that fear comes from worrying that I'm missing some kind of knowledge or perspective which allows me to form ideas of value. I also fear superiority over others and have a hard time accepting being right over others. I really do believe fear of success exists - I fear my own success, as I fear achieving success at the expense of others and failing to encourage a world of equals through my success.
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      Feb 17 2012: Interesting Xavier!
      I think both fears stem from the same source? My fear of growing into myself and ALLOWING myself to be successful stems also from a fear of it not being good enough? Or fear of the consequences?
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      Feb 18 2012: Good point Xavier,
      You say..."Is it possible that your fear stems from a sub-conscious belief that your idea may have inherent flaws and making it popular/successful may bring forth a number of severe issues"? Good question:>)

      When we are successful, face our fears, and maybe provide information, it may feel like there is a responsibility? We may ask the question...are we ready, willing and able to "defend" our ideas?

      Spencer,
      You say..."...I believe part of that fear comes from worrying that I'm missing some kind of knowledge or perspective which allows me to form ideas of value".

      If you believe your ideas, or you, are superior, you probably ARE missing knowledge or perspectives because you may be too busy defending your ideas and are not open to new ideas? Your success my dear, does not impact the success of others, unless you want it to be so. True success, in my humble opinion, is sharing that label (success) with others.

      Ayesha,
      Yes, there is responsibility with success and that is part of the decision making process, which continues to move us along in the life journey. Read the quote over and over again...."...Your playing small does not serve the world".

      How much energy do you spend being frightened of fear? There is nothing to fear, but fear itself. Success is "not just in some of us; it's in everyone". When we recognize that, there is no longer a "superior" or "inferior". It is our own perception that makes it so. Change your thinking, it will change your feelings, and it can change your life:>)
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        Feb 19 2012: I truly believe in the fact that when we change our thinking, our feelings do change! Fear IS a thought and when I move away from it I feel like I can accomplish a LOT more! Thank you Colleen!
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          Feb 20 2012: Ayesha,
          Believing that we are superior or inferior is also fueled by our thoughts, which sometimes, reflect whatever we may have been taught in the past. When we truly believe that we are all interconnected energy beings, we percieve everyone as part of the whole, rather than seperate as superior/inferior. We all have different talents, skills and information to offer, and when we embrace this idea, we see that true, honest success for one, means true, honest success for the whole of humankind:>)