Figure 20 from Charles Darwin's The Expression...

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As artists/writers we have heard how important it is to learn to deal with rejection.  Simply, it is part of the path we take.  Many books have been written about rejection.  We recognize rejection as part of the growth process and almost embrace it.  However, we are not so happy with the concept of failure.  We avoid failure, we fear it, and we want no part of it.  The fear of failure is paralyzing for some people, for others, it may be the fuel that propels them to keep excelling at what they do – we react differently in various circumstances.  These people, whether paralyzed or excelling, have something in common - the fear of failure.  However, there is a third group, which I am very aware of, simply because I found myself in that group once.

This third group thinks that they are afraid of failure; however, this is not the case.  The real fear has been disguised as fear of failure, but on the contrary, it is not failure what this groups fear – it is success.  Fear of success can be as paralyzing as the fear to fail.

Fear of success may be a personal issue and rooted in your childhood, or on any other phase of your life.  It is very hard to spot, and that is why it may hide itself as fear of failure or even of rejection.  Fear of success may involve being afraid of new things or new responsibilities, or even of the spot light and recognition that comes with success, in many cases.  The issue is personal.  If you think that you are afraid of failure, ask yourself why.  Ask again, and again … until you can’t ask no more; the answer may surprise you, as it did me.

Once in the open, your fear has no where else to hide and you can look at it straight, understand it, accept it, and move on.  Once you do this, it will never have the power to paralyze you, because it has been exposed.

So, is it fear of failure or fear of success?

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