Sat | Aug 17, 2019

Kelly's World | The fear of fail ... er, I mean success

Published:Monday | June 10, 2019 | 12:09 AM

A friend of mine recently moved on to another ‘werk’.

He laid out his plans for the future, and one of them included getting his doctorate. (Although, according to some people, qualifications don’t always mean nutten).

Good for him, I thought. Then I remembered how old he was. He’s no spring chicken, but he’s not Methuselah either.

I then recalled that he had just done his master’s a few months back.

Among his other plans was to own real estate from which he can have another income stream. Like I said, he ain’t old but he ain’t in his 20s.

I admired his ambitions. I may have queried why he’s ‘going all out’ for these goals.

Then he said something I hope I’ll never forget, “People are afraid to do stuff because they’re afraid of success.” For a second I didn’t pick up what he said.

Maybe I was distracted by a fine female walking by, or maybe my brain had told me he would say “failure”, so that’s what my brain told my ears that they heard.

Afraid to succeed

But he was quite unambiguous in his statement. People are afraid to succeed. And if memory serves me correctly, he said it was because not everyone can handle success, so they feel they’re not ready for it.

It’s had me thinking ever since he said it. All my life, I figured people didn’t try certain things in their personal and professional life because they were afraid of failure, and more important, the embarrassment that comes with that.

But I’m kinda seeing now that there might be something to that thinking.

There are many quotes about successful people and what they do to become successful. There are probably even more quotes about successful people and how they maintain that success.

I think some people are afraid of success, in terms of how they go about getting it.

Sleepless nights, months, maybe even years, without seeing any ‘tangible’ positive results, and even a total disassociation with whatever lifestyle they were previously living.

Success aftermath

That’s scary! What’s also scary is another aspect of success, in terms of handling everything that comes in its aftermath.

So all the press, whether bad or good, will now zero in on you the entrepreneur/mogul. Some people can’t live with that.

Take Elon Musk, for instance. He created the Tesla motor car, which, among other features, has a self-driving mode.

Note, it was never meant for drivers to use while they are incapable of retaking the wheel if something goes wrong.

But people have been filmed asleep at the wheel while the car heads down the highway.

Now Musk certainly didn’t encourage anybody to do that, but you know some people will point the finger at him because it’s his invention.

And that’s what I mean. As the Jamaican saying goes, the higher the monkey climb, di more him expose!

Once you’re at the top of the success summit, your flaws, your idiosyncracies and your failures are magnified. Not everyone can handle that.

So lemme ask you. What are you afraid of?

 Link me at daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com.