Obstacles to Optimal Performance: Fear of Success

According to Sigmund Freud,  some people have difficulty dealing with the happiness of fulfillment. Some athletes who readily claim they desire success subconsciously sabotage their own efforts. This may manifest as a pattern of becoming ill or injured just when they are on the brink of making major breakthroughs.

Because of the enormous stress associated with success, athletes’ performance suffers. They become erratic and inconsistent. Success carries a lot of pressure such as repeat performances, envy, sniping etc. It becomes an albatross fort them – so weighty and strangling that they avoid it at all cost. The truth is, in all of society, everyone who tries to succeed experiences pressure and tension. By breaking away from their stereotypical roles, many feel guilty for achieving beyond the limits society has conveniently ordained.

If you knew you were quite good at something, you would feel compelled to act on it, or else feel guilty about not developing that potential. But maybe you would rather not act on it. After all, developing this aspect of yourself and living up to that standard will probably require hard work. Becoming totally committed to excellence often means taking time away from family and friends. It’s a decision that can have serious repercussions. As a result, you may choose a road that avoids success.

But, if you turn your back on your talent, you create another pain to contend with: you must grow old constantly wondering how good you could have been. The choice is yours to make. Being aware of this choice may make it easier for you to determine what is more important. If you think you’ll have regrets later, go for it now while you’re still capable.


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