What scares us more, success or failure?
Sometimes we become our own roadblocks to success. When we are at ease with our failures, and our life resonates more with failing than with succeeding, success starts scaring us. As success brings more responsibilities, creates more performance pressure that leads to stress and anxiety, and to escape these feelings, we consciously or unconsciously get into the habit of self-sabotaging.
How do we sabotage our success?
Procrastination: Mehul the 10th grader would never start his science project until the deadline reaches his neck. The very thought of attempting the project would rise his anxiety level because he believed that he lacks the capacity and skills to make a good project. He would avoid this emotion as long as possible, eventually, he would just attempt the task for the sake of doing it without putting his heart and soul into it and the same would get reflected in the result.
Perfectionism: Zoya just finished her exceptional painting after days of persistent hard work to showcase it in the art exhibition but to her fate, the entry just stopped a day before she approached. What a loss for the viewers and a much bigger loss for Zoya, she missed the opportunity to show her art and earn some recognition and felicitation. The moment she decided to present her artwork in the exhibition, she set unmatchable standards of perfection for herself, which was hard to meet on time. What was expected happened, success slipped from her hands.
Ignorance: Failed in three subjects! Rajeev’s parents yelled at him for his poor performance in his exams. Rajeev was completely indifferent and ignorant towards his failure, as the acceptance of the same would hold him accountable for his failure and he will be subjected to sincerity, responsibility, and hard work from what he always tries to run away. This self-sabotaging behavior has always brought him infamy and disrespect.
Self-defeating mindset: Karan was not among the top three students in the class but he had a hidden desire to be one. But he was afraid of the fact that if he failed to maintain the position, he will become a joke to other students in the class. He shook hands with mediocrity as excellence demanded a lot. When we look at success as the diamond of other’s crowns and consider ourselves incapable caretakers, why would it come to us?
Living by others’ opinions: Priya and Rekha joined a dance class when they were 10yrs old. “Dancing is not for you girls”, both were frequently scolded by their dance teacher for dancing poorly. Priya couldn’t take this embarrassment and turned the words of her teacher into the reality of her life. She quit dancing. But Rekha’s love for dancing helped her walk through all the harshness thrown upon her by her teacher and now she runs her own dancing academy. Priya on the other hand is trying to replace dancing with something less likable.
People Pleasing: Sometimes to get love and acceptance from others we agree on something self-deprecating. We don’t realize that in our effort of pleasing others, we are sabotaging our success. Nidhi lacked the courage of handling her friends’ bitter behavior; she would never say no for a party or a hang out even if it is at the cost of her studies and career.
How to avoid self-sabotaging?
- Recognize and acknowledge your achievements to convert a defeating mindset to a winning mindset.
- Define your success and prioritize it over less or unimportant things.
- Don’t let the fear of success overpower your desire for success.
- Keep setting smaller goals and work hard to achieve them, this will be the driving force toward achieving bigger goals.
- Others’ words are important but the last word should be yours. Decide for yourself and live by it. Never blame others for your failure, that supports your self-sabotaging behavior.
When the road is clear, who is stopping you from moving,
When you have got wings who is hindering your flight,
When you know the beats what is preventing you from dancing,
If life is a party, why are you not enjoying it?