I was sitting on the couch…my favorite spot at the time …hmmm, about 5 years ago now (now my favorite spot is my ergonomic desk chair) …asking myself, what drove me to make the decisions I did, the choices I made, and the outcomes I received in my life? In other words, how’d my fat ass ended up here on this couch, on this day, in this way? To answer that, I needed to start to look into what was behind my decisions and what really drove those decisions. So, I did.
What I discovered along the way was an understanding of how soooo many components of timing, culture, gender, social expectations, and parental influence summarily, along with our neurological make-up, dictate our outcomes.
One of the first books I delved into was Fear of Success by David Tresemer (1977). I really wanted to write my own book on Fear of Success, which to me is a much bigger limiting belief system than fear of failure, because I always wondered – if I had accepted that challenge, job, career, opportunity, how would my life be different? And why did I not accept that challenge, et al, and instead stay on the path in front of me? Tresemer’s research was like finding the cheat sheet before the exam and then walking in ready to rock and roll. Woo-hoo, baby! He proved my theory for me and saved me a LOT of work!
The second book, and actually I took the author’s/professor’s class at the University of Michigan, was The Science of Success by Paula J. Caproni, Ph.D. (2017). I wanted to know what the most recent findings were in human behavior and success. This book moved me from the neurological, anthropological, and cultural to a modern interpretation of self-awareness and self-determination. It was fascinating to discover how grit over brains is the determining factor in our modern world of self-defined success.
In the plethora of other readings, my third favorite and the most impactful book was Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers – The Story of Success (2008). Gladwell’s work was like seeing all the dots in my work connected in a linear format. I was internally gleeful with enlightenment! You know, like when you’ve been working on a puzzle, you know what it is supposed to look like in the end, but all you have is 1000 pieces strewn across the table? And then, it comes together after hours of patience and hard work? Yeah – that feeling. Gladwell brought together the pieces of past and present in his work. He was able to see how not only one’s culture, parenting, and social setting influenced success but how time and opportunity are also significant factors. It’s actually hard for me to summarize how impactful his work is because he is able to show his readers the map of influence of so many factors to create that one-in-a-lifetime success story.
The desired outcome of all this research will one day be my finished manuscript.
In the meantime, understanding where fear, our natural mode of self-preservation, influences our ability to achieve our desired outcomes, our dreams, our believed desires for more in our lives, has truly changed how I approach my decision making. When faced with resistance, I delve into the reasoning behind it to validate whether it is real or a perceived threat to my emotional safety. Nine times out of ten, it’s my ego telling me to not do something because that could potentially, maybe, possibly, disrupt my “safety zone” of normalcy.
We humans are funny creatures. So brave in the movies, yet so fearful in real life. I highly recommend doing the work to determine – what do I really fear and why do I fear it?
Till next time.