We humans fear success more than we do failure- I don’t know why, but that’s just the case.
I mean sure we pretend to fear failure, especially if we’ve some arbitrary degree of status or success that we might lose.
But what we really fear is moving up and embracing a new reality. Is it just the fear of change, or is there more to it?
I’ve watched all kinds of videos on this. Some people suggest that we have resistance because our primal brains just want to do what’s comfortable and what brings short-term rewards.
Another video suggested that we fear failure because back in caveman times we subconsciously knew that rising up in status too fast would trigger jealousy in others (in theory), and so we would keep ourselves at the level everyone else thought us to be to avoid unnecessary attention.
Whatever it is, I’d argue that success is scarier in a way than failure. With it comes power, responsibility, and a complete transformation of yourself.
In failing, you only have to enter a “derp” state and become less of yourself. You can dull out the pain with social media, YouTube, drugs, sex, TV, you name it.
What if you become rich? Now guilt-vampires may chase you down, reminding you that other people don’t have it so good.
Or worse: your friends and family may beg from money from you, and exploit your kindness.
You may wake up just to realize that all your friends & family were fake all along, and that they never really were authentic… Now that you’re a crab coming out of the bucket, everyone wants to pull you back down.
Maybe your girlfriend or boyfriend gets insanely jealous. They attack you with all their might, despite being the one person who was supposed to always be with you.
If you fail, they criticize you and work with the world to push you down, but if you succeed they grab onto you and pull you down, because they don’t get to be in the limelight.
I don’t know what it is, but you can’t lie to me and say that you don’t know what you really want to do- you have at least a sense of direction with where you want to go, or riches you wish to have.
Today I was talking with a friend about business, and we got really excited. We realized how simple business really is.
All you have to do is create a good ad, run it, sell a top-funnel product that breaks-even, and then create an upsell offer and you’ll be literally printing money.
If you don’t understand what I just wrote there, I promise it only takes a day’s worth of immersion to figure out what it means. Boom, instantly you’ll have the framework to be excessively rich from internet marketing.
The next steps are just to figure out how to write great ad copy, target the ad properly, get a great product, and sell the product. It’s really not complicated- it’s not super easy, but the path is there to walk, and it doesn’t take years to achieve riches.
But… it often does. I’ve remained mostly at the same income level for the past year. In fact, I haven’t really done too much in the past 2 years.
I’ve noticed that sometimes when I tried to get new clients I’d start sneezing a lot, get a headache, feel numb, self-sabotage, self-attack, and feel like an imposer, as if I wasn’t good enough to make a certain income level.
Anyways, my current income level is fantastic. I can enjoy a wonderful life in Bulgaria or Southeast Asia that many could only dream of.
The idea of doubling my income- something which in actuality is extremely easy to do- is quite exciting but in a sense also over-stimulating.
One psychology article I read suggested that the excitement associated with growing a business can often be subconsciously mixed up with the same excitement experienced during a traumatic situation which previously caused PTSD.
I’ve had diagnosed PTSD before, from a situation in which a gay guy tried to rape me in my sleep. I’ve also experienced severe bullying in school.
Because I have experienced these terrible things does my brain associate the overwhelming excitement with becoming financially free with these things? Is my brain circuitry a bit messed up?
This explanation actually makes a lot of sense, and even if you haven’t had one single-defining traumatic moment of your life (studies suggest many more have, you’re not alone!), you’ve likely experienced some emotional turmoil such so that you associate excitement with fear, and get emotionally overstimulated.
That which lies beyond comprehension is scary. I think of what tripling my income would do for me, which I could do, but haven’t yet:
I could take first-class long-haul flights, live in luxurious villas anywhere, make same-day travel decisions instead of budgeting, buy anything anywhere that I want. My income is good for a 21 year old (just turned 21 today!). Tripling it would be insane!
For a mixture of reasons, success is over-stimulating to us. The good is SO amazing that we don’t go for it. It’s too unknown, too much change, and we also use the fear of failure as an excuse not to move on.
One dangerous thing that traps a lot of people is when “a little success” prevents them from getting “a lot of success.” That has happened to me.
Someone makes a little money, but then in fear of making more, they never take the risk to make more, so they just stay where they are at.
Example: I know that I should run ads to try get new clients, especially now that my Facebook Ads skills has been validated. If I just dedicated $1,000 per month for ads, I could sign on several clients which allows me to scale my business very quickly.
The problem is: that $1k could go towards my savings in the event something goes wrong, or it could go towards paying tax debt that I owe. In the short-term, the 1k is very valuable, especially in terms of financial security.
One post on Reddit said “the middle class is when $100 isn’t a lot to make but it’s a lot to lose.”
That is so true- making a few hundred bucks is not exciting to me. I am in no hurry to do that because it wouldn’t change much. Dealing with that low of clients is not worth my time.
Losing a few hundred? That would affect me quite a bit. There’s A LOT I can buy with a few hundred bucks. That could be my food budget for the month, or in a place like Bali where my rent is currently $425 per month (and it could be less), that’s almost an entire month’s worth of rent!
At the end of the day, it’s all just excuses. Fear is the compass. You shouldn’t be reckless, though reckless people still often end up multi-millionaires.
What does fear is the compass mean? It means that what you’re afraid to do, you should probably do.
You should probably go talk to that girl. You should do that work out. You should probably run those ads, Michael!
Following Your Path
Following your heart is not always easy, and I’m still working on it every day. It’s what we all intuitively know needs to be done, but so few people actually do it.
One way to get started is to create a plan. Then the next hardest step is taking the first step.
A huge modern-day trap people have is “information paralysis.” There is so much information on getting started. You could watch countless videos on picking up girls, but one approach is better than all the videos you could watch by a certain point.
It’s easy to theorize, talk, plan, and learn but where is the actual growth? That’s done by walking the walk.
I just wrote a post earlier about a complete fake who received so many interviews, and was to be a Tedx speaker, yet was essentially broke. Those people are habitually addicted to the validation of appearing successful, without actually being successful.
Instagram makes it too easy to be those people. The only thing that matters in business is the profit you’re making and the clients you’re servicing, but you could just take nice photos of “the hustle” all day and make people think that you’re working.
Then you can wonder why it took 4 years to get your business going… maybe it’s because those types wasted all their time doing BS work, rather than what really counts (like making sales).
In my own life, I’m walking my own path. I’m terrified. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the fear of not being good enough. We fear that we don’t deserve the income, especially when so many others don’t have that income.
I know what I need to do, and finally walking the path is… exhilarating. It’s not always pleasant.
Sometimes I created an ad for a client that flopped right on its face, and I had to awkwardly explain why we spent $100+ for a lead that will go nowhere.
But now, I’m finally seeing the results come in. I’m finally developing my Facebook Ads skills.
I’ve finally got some clients (that I’m working with for free until my skills are validated) to run Ads for, and I’m finally seeing that I am deserving and skillful in this.
I’m doing what I’ve wanted to do.. for years. It didn’t take years of hard work to reach this level.
It could’ve been done so much faster. Probably in months. You could reach this success level in a mere 3-6 months, but success is more about overcoming mental blocks than it is about actually progressing.
When I spoke to my friend this morning, we realized just how easy building wealth is. I told you how earlier. The theory is so simple. The focused work, potential rejections, potential flops, and every other obstacle isn’t that bad but it’s all your mentality about it.
Lifting weights isn’t hard. It takes maybe 5 hours per week. Running isn’t hard. It takes 20 minutes a few mornings per week. Business isn’t hard. It just takes studying & working a few hours per day.
Everything is only hard in our minds because deep down, we’re afraid. We’re terrified. We have some resistance. We don’t know why it’s there. Logically we know that even if all our fears come true the success is more than worth it.
It’s all a battle in the mind, one we each must fight alone.
Fear is the compass. What you fear most, you know you must do.
The path is yours.