Why Success Freaks Us Out Sometimes

18 Oct

I’m in a ridiculously good mood today which is odd given that I’ve only slept perhaps a total of 7.48 hours this past week.

My hair’s up in a bun today which tells you that I had MAYBE a whole 10 minutes to get dressed today, if that.

But it’s fine because I still look somewhat decent having put in zero effort which is the goal of any sleep deprived grad school student I know.

Not bad for a Thursday.

But anyway, I’ve had some of the busiest few weeks of my life and I feel like a failure because I haven’t had the chance to sit down and write about any of it.

I get home, see my bed, and it practically calls out to me… for me to just lay in it forever. I listen.

But that’s no excuse.

To everyone who reads this blog and to everyone who congratulated me on being freshly pressed, THANK YOU! It means more to me than you’ll ever know.

Ever since I started writing, I thought it would be so cool to have my work freshly pressed on this site.

I never thought it would happen, but still, it’d be kind of awesome.

It WAS awesome.

Then, I kind of freaked out.

I thought to myself…what if I never write anything as good as that again? What if that’s the best I’ve got?

I thought about a Ted Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert that I watched a while back. She talks about how after she wrote Eat Pray Love, people feared that she’d never achieve success again.

Watch it. It’s great.

She says that after her huge success with her book, people would ask her:

Aren’t you afraid that you’re never going to be able to top that? Aren’t you afraid that you’re going to keep writing for your whole life and you’re never again going to create a book that anybody in the world cares about…at all…ever…again?

So why does success freak us out?

Because with every success, we climb THAT MUCH HIGHER up some kind of metaphorical ladder or hill or mountain or whatever.

The higher we get, the harder we fall if we fail.

Think about it for a second.

We spend most of our lives figuring out how to reach our goals, figuring out how to get there.

But what happens when we do? What happens when we achieve what we’ve set out to accomplish?

Is that it? Do we stop there?

Heck no.

When we reach one goal, how about we just keep shooting for another?

Don’t let the fear of failure paralyze you.

Keep moving. Keep doing.

Until you have nothing left to give.

Pretend you’re making lemonade with the last five lemons left on this planet.

Squeeze out every. single. last. drop that exists.

If your lemonade tastes freaking terrible, well, at least you used everything you had.

Same goes for your life.

When you have something wonderful, put everything you have into it.

A job…

A relationship…

A talent that you want to explore…


And if you DO fail?

Well, at least you’ll know you did everything you possibly could.

And if you fail REALLY badly?

Well, just call me up and we’ll go have a drink.

21 Responses to “Why Success Freaks Us Out Sometimes”

  1. MA Taylor October 18, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

    Great Blog. Words I really needed to hear, especially the last line which I may have to take you up on sometime. ;-)

  2. Greg Miller (@TechSavvyMaven) October 18, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

    Sometimes our goals are tied so closely to who we are (or think we are) as a person that when we reach them and find that we have to move on, we freeze. Because it now means we are no longer who we were and have to discover ourselves again. But yet so many fail to see that the discovery, that process, is really what strings us along in the first place.

    It gets scarier as you get older because we have this belief that we should know. That we should be beyond this point of having to figure out who we are when in fact who we are is in constant flux. Change doesn’t stop and neither does setting goals which is something we must do to find success.

  3. Raul Felix October 18, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    Success or a Drink? Sounds like a win-win to me.

  4. c to c friendspirations October 18, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    Thank you for sharing the clip it was very inspiring. Ole to you!

  5. Tina Del Buono, PMAC October 18, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    Great post Kayla, success can cause us to take a few steps backward at times you are so correct saying we just need to keep going forward. Thanks!

  6. stephenedwards425 October 18, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

    Reblogged this on LifeRevelation and commented:
    I have had a few successes and those are the ones I like to talk about…but I’ve had some spectacular, full flame on, arcing across the sky with a spotlight failures, and I’m not all that fond of talking about them…but I’ve discovered that is where the wealth and wisdom lie.

    Kayla does a wonderful job of capturing just how important our failures truly are and aren’t.

    Be encouraged!

  7. parmanifesto October 18, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    So I’m assuming the drink would be a Mike’s hard lemonade.

  8. theresultsmayvary October 19, 2012 at 1:07 am #

    Success is great and heady and exciting. But failure is a much better teacher. You may be afraid of being unable to duplicate success, but you’re considerably more afraid of forgetting the lessons taught by failure.

  9. Azeem Khan October 19, 2012 at 1:14 am #

    Reblogged this on azeem khan.

  10. Tara Savage October 19, 2012 at 1:39 am #

    Thank you for this, I’m going to watch that Ted talk right now :)

  11. thisisnotalex October 19, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    Brilliant post. It’s hard to kick yourself out of the little bubble of mediocrity when you’re knackered… but totally worth it in the end :)

  12. Things You Realize After You Get Married October 19, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    Great post! I like the analogy with the lemons. I agree that many people fear failure (including me), so they never try to begin with. There’s a saying I really like which says, “the road to success is riddled with failure” To me, this means that if you want to be a success in something in your life, be prepared to fail. If you avoid failure, you will never achieve that success you desire. Personally, I’d rather try and fail vs. never try at all(because I fear failure) and then experience regret later on in life. I think regret is probably worse than fear to deal with…..Great post!

  13. Aparna October 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    Reblogged this on Bullets & Dreams and commented:
    Nailed it! :)

  14. marrymeknot October 19, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    It’s almost as though our natural instinct is to block any forward idea, which of course, comes from fear. But when we do give it our all, squeezing every last drop, we almost don’t even care about the outcome because we experienced every part of it already. The first time we acknowledge to ourselves that we are worth giving it a shot, that’s when it’s the scariest.

  15. Jillian October 20, 2012 at 4:04 am #

    Inspiring :) Definitely the thoughts I needed now! I’ll make sure to reach for those goals! ^.^

  16. Kelvin Wright October 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    “Pretend you’re making lemonade with the last five lemons left on this planet.” Liked that – nice analogy.

  17. Diana Pinto October 20, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    I needed to hear this.We should never give up.Always keep moving :)

  18. Kate Swaffer October 21, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    As always., a GREAT blog, and much of the psych literature says we are more afraid of success than failure. Keep up your insightful writing GenY ;-)

  19. rachelmeeks October 26, 2012 at 12:37 am #

    LOVED this ted talk and I loved your lemonade metaphor. This made a really lasting impression on me. I think it actually changed my whole life.

  20. TheThinkingLeader November 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    Love it Kayla. Good work!

  21. Laura4NYC January 21, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    You have such a great attitude towards these things, it’s quite inspiring. Thanks for following my blog so that I was able to discover yours.

Leave a Reply