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Fear of Success

Do You Hold Yourself Back?


Do you feel like you don't fit in when it comes to school? Do you hang out with weird kids? Have you ever had thoughts like these?
  • Popular kids get by with anything.
  • My friends like me now, but would they like me if I started getting straight A's?
  • Would they think I'm being nerdy?
  • If I took school more seriously, I'd have to hang out with kids I don't like.
  • If I got better grades, I'd have to get along better with teachers.

Psychologists say that some students don't live up to their true potential because they have a deep-seated fear of success. Sounds a little crazy, doesn't it? Who wouldn't want to succeed?

Yet, if you think about it, you can see that you might have a little bit of fear yourself, when it comes to doing well in school. Some teens have a fear of success because they don't like the social hang ups and some don't want to be associated with geeks.

Signs of the Fear of Success

You're a great writer, but you don't have great grades. Perhaps you took an aptitude test with your class and surprised yourself by scoring higher than most in writing.

Or perhaps you keep a poetry journal or you secretly write short stories outside your school work. These are signs that you are an intelligent student who holds back a little.

You can't stand the politics in school. Does it drive you crazy when popular or rich kids get preferential treatment? Does it make you furious when popular kids make fun of kids who aren't rich, pretty, or talented?

Sometime student feel alienated or angry because of social inequality, so they rebel against society by refusing to comply. Unfortunately, this means they have no desire to please teachers. That means their grades aren't what they should be.

Have you been told that you just don't try hard enough? Actually, most parents tell their kids they don't try hard enough, but some kids know it's true when they hear it. If you know you could do better in school but you just don't want to, you may be punishing yourself because you're frustrated with school.

Overcoming the Fear of Success

There are some things you should know if you feel out of place in high school and you know it's affecting your performance. Your frustration may be well-founded, but it's only hurting you in the long run. This can be a tragic fact if your defiance keeps you out of college. Because that's exactly where you'll shine.

College is a whole new game. All the rules of high school that bothered you so much will go out the window. Writing skills count more than family background or looks. If you consider yourself a loner who likes to write about his feelings, you're going to love college. Outsiders are often very successful in college.

College professors are mostly former weird kids College is a place where kids are free to be weird. You'll find you connect with professors more easily than you did with high school teachers. For this reason, you'll want to perform better.

The playing field is equal. Once you get into college, nobody will care if your high school grades were not stellar. You can start over and be yourself in college.

If you think that you may suffer from a fear of success, then you should overcome that fear so you can make it to college and live up to your full potential.

There are some things to do and to consider that will make it easier to overcome this fear.

  • Success and change are scary for everybody. Failure and status quo are easier, but they don't make life very interesting!
  • Being successful doesn't mean you have to be untrue to yourself. If you don't like the way society works, you can make changes—but that's easier to do with a college degree.
  • A mind is a terrible thing to waste. It sounds cheesy, but it's true. What if Michelangelo had been too defiant to share his talents? The world may be a better place when you contribute.
  • There's nothing embarrassing about being smart in college. Don't blow it before you get there!
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