The Confidence Guy

Wired into Truly Confident Living

Jun 22

Scary clowns are scary, but there's something scarierWhat do you think insecure people fear the most?  Spiders?  Heights?  Scary clowns?  A scary clown on a ladder with a bag of spiders?


Your success.

That’s what insecure people fear the most, because if you find success it means they’re left behind.  If you find success it means they haven’t been able to do what you’ve done.  It means they’re less successful (to them, at least).

And that hurts.  Often their insecurities will tell them it was a fluke, that you got lucky, that you don’t deserve it, trying to find ways to rationalise your success so they don’t come out feeling worse, or to make where they are right even if it can’t be happy.

That’s part of what insecure peple do, because they’re insecure.  Their insecurities don’t give them the solid footing others have, they don’t have a stable base to see that your success is a positive for you, not a negative for them.

That “solid base” comes from being able to trust themselves to live their lives fully.  It’s a self-trust that  allows them to make decisions and follow through; a trust that makes it okay for them to go beyond what they know in order to gain something they don’t have.  They don’t have that trust, and they don’t have that base.  This makes me sad.  And a glum Steve is no fun.

But that’s enough about them.  What about you?

See, while it’s interesting to know why insecure people fear your success, my real point here is to demonstrate how your own insecurities fear your success.

That’s right, I’ve done the old switcharoo on ya.

Your own insecurities fear your success because suddenly they’re left behind in their old way of doing things, and that’s a safe and warm and comfortable place for them to flourish.  Your insecurites will be panicking because now – holy crap – you have to deliver on that success.  You have to keep on being successful or you could lose the success you’ve just gained.  Run!  Hide!

Your insecurities will try to tell you that you’re not ready.  They’ll play tricks on you to make you feel like you shouldn’t try.  You might even hear them call out to you as you go through your day.

Have something go a little pear-shaped at work and your insecurities will use that as an example of why it’s too risky to go after personal success.  “See what I mean, it’s not time to risk everything yet. You’re not ready.

Burn dinner and your insecurities are ready to use that against you.  Have a little spat with your partner and your insecurities will use that as fuel.  Arrive late for an important meeting and your insecurities will see it as yet another fuck-up.  See someone come up with a great idea and you’ll use it as proof for why you’re a bit rubbish.

We’re all insecure in some ways, at some times.  The difference is whether you do what those insecurities suggest you do, i.e. nothing.

Confident people recognise that voice for what it is – something that wants you to be safe but isn’t useful.  Confident people learn to hear that voice in context and make a deliberate decision as to what to do with it.

Success comes and goes; you could have some of it tomorrow and then not so much the next day.  You could have a year when everything comes together, and the next year not so much.  Success is an event, not a person, and so the key is to keep on making decisions towards what matters, and just ride the waves of success and failure along the way.

So what *should* you fear the most?  Let me know what you think in the comments, and I’ll tell you my answer later.

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  • Olivia

    Great article. I have been and at times continue to be my own worst enemy. I don’t know how many times I have used accidents, mishaps, errors of judgement to unleash a torrent of personal scorn. And there is no need to do that to yourself. I mean if you reverse the role i.e. other people cause accidents, mishaps or errors of judgements, I am much less scathing on them than I am on myself. Funny really. Tuning your ear to listen objectively to these fears/ endorsements to your failure is probably the greatest lesson we humans could learn. Imagine what we would achieve without such shackles!!! With much thanks Olivia

    • Steve

      @Olivia: You and the rest of us Olivia. If we had a best friend who spoke to us the way we speak to ourselves, they wouldn’t be a best friend for very long. Take off the shackles, run barefoot through the grass and be gentle with yourself.

  • Barbara

    I think the thing we should fear the most is not doing anything at all. Yes, it is comforting and feels safe to “stand still” but I know I’m merely escaping, not facing my life. What I’ve been trying to do lately is look at the “big picture.” If you really think about it, life is fun, life is thrilling, life is meant to be lived, not something to be scared of. At any given moment we can change the course of our life and make it our own. How cool is that? What I’ve been doing lately is smiling. Whenever I’m facing a deadline or dealing with a difficult situation I stop and smile. It’s weird but it works. Another thing that makes me smile? You! I always feel better after reading your blog! As always, thanks Steve!

    • Steve

      @Barbara: “Merely escaping, not facing my life” – I really like that. You’re bang on, at any moment you can make a new decision – and the fact that you have that power is pretty damn amazing isn’t it? Keep on smiling Barbara, and thanks heaps for the feedback!

  • Barbara

    One more thing…that picture is really freaky!!!! (but it definitely got my attention, now I just hope I can sleep tonight!)

  • Elsa7

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  • Theresa Florence

    Yes, I agree with this.  I was just asked not to come back to a dancing school becuase the owner heard rumors on facebook that I own a dance studio.  Wow.  She has 400 students.  The dance studio I am working at has 40.  The inbreds who put false information on facebook should be sued, but I’d be happy if they just paid the tuition they owed the studio instead of trying to cause trouble.  But I feel worse about the fact that a person who has a successful studio would be that insecure about a studio owner taking classes at her successful studio. I’m so speechless and hurt that I’m just not going to even respond to that studio owner.  But your article helps.  Guess she wants to squash another 400 students into the studio so she has enough for her kid’s college education. If the studio I work at has 40 students, I guess she feels I’ve stolen them from her because she thinks they would have enrolled in her studio.  Also, wow, I didn’t know that studio owner had the monopoly on dance instruction.  Guess she considers herself the head of the dance mafia.  I think arrogance also plays a part.  I guess I’m glad I’m not like that, but it sure feels like she is bullying me, so I’m outta there!!!! 

  • Kickstunt05

    Wow Talk about keepin’ it simple. Thx for the insight. Good 1!