Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fear of failure or fear of success?

I have a healthy fear of failure. That's why you don't see me cliff-diving.

But in other areas of life I've decided failure is easy. It's comfortable. It's success that requires work. Success brings expectation. Like writing a book and subsequently having it published. Work, expectation...and people-you-know will read it. I fear that.

First-time author Elana Johnson posted about the fear of success today at her blogspot. She received copy edits and talks about seeing her book in an almost book-like form. We dream of that day, right? But I understand her fear.

On a little bit of a different bent, today I read a blog post by agent Chip MacGregor (posted last March) where he said, "There's this myth in our culture that your mettle will somehow be tested by failure. Baloney. All of us experience some failure, some rejection, some times of being ignored, and we get over it. We have to, since the world keeps going. I don't think our souls are tested all that much by failure...they are tested much more by success." He mentions how the Bible has a myriad of warnings for the rich and powerful, but for the poor and ignored, not so much. (Read blog post here.) So he's saying maybe there's reason to fear it because success will most certainly be a test of our character.

All I know is I'm not worried about my character as much as I'm worried about you reading my book. (Well, not you, but all those other people.)

Which is it for you? Which do you fear more--failure or success?

[and if you missed it, please take a second to view my previous post. I promise it will make your day]


Tamara said...

In this order: I fear success. Then I fear failure after lots of success - for obvious reasons - the failure is much more public and painful. I know my reasons for fearing success in the first place but since it would lead to divulging TMI - I'll have to leave it at thinking how vulnerable one can be when they are succeeding.

Peggy Urry said...

Both. I concur with Tamara and I don't want to be a one hit wonder and if it takes me as long to write book two as it is book one, I'm most certainly in trouble!

My word verification: euddling: euddle-a-e-ooo! (sorry, I couldn't help myself)

Susan G. Haws said...

I just fear. I think fear of failure more than fear of success.

kbrebes said...

Fear of failure...definitely!

Elana Johnson said...

Fear is one of those things that I wish I could live without. At the same time, it drives some of the things I do that make me a better person. I definitely fear getting my book out there, because I'm a pleaser. I want everyone to like me and like my book. And I know with 100% certainty that that won't happen. So I guess what I fear isn't success, it's not being liked. Great. Now I feel like I'm back in junior high! Sheesh. :)

Valerie Ipson said...

You inspired this post, Elana.


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