How to Use Time Smartly to Overcome the Fear of Success?

 
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During the exhibition of “Yukaloo”* by James Turrell at the Asia Society, we have had the privilege to facilitate a few sessions of Singing Bowls & Qi Meditation. These meditation sessions have been a joyful and yet profound experience for me personally.

Each time I go inside Yukaloo, it triggers me to contemplate on “Time” and what it means.

Time is a non-renewable resource and definitely the most precious resource that all of us owns. However, we tend to focus on the peripheral part of “Time” (i.e. as seen on the watch, clock and calendar), rather than looking beyond the surface and deeper into the layers like:

  • What does Time mean to me?

  • Why is Time a resource?

  • How is my relationship with my Time? Am I using it efficiently or am I wasting time?

  • What do I do with other people’s Time?

  • What do I allow other people to do with my Time?

In creating the quality of life that we desire, big or small, a key ingredient is that we have to want it more than we fear it. Here is a perspective about how we can work with Time to overcome our fear of success and create the quality of life as we desire.

“Fear of Success” is an oxymoron and yet a real one. I will illustrate what this fear is like through the stories of two persons: one is overpowered by the fear of success; the other overcomes the fear of success.

These two persons, “A” & “B”, don’t know each other. However, they have many things in common: each a mother of two; has her owner career and highly regarded as a feminine leader in her own field; has been advancing on the path of self-development and spiritual intelligence; has been unhappy with her marriage and wants to get out; has initiated the divorce proceeding and as a result, has a husband who has turned the divorce proceeding into a bitter divorce battle. The difference is that each has taken a different strategy in dealing with the divorce battle.

A” has decided to focus on the present moment and tackle the divorce battle head-on with the evil husband. She is constantly looking for ways to out-wit her evil husband in their fiery exchanges. He reciprocates at least in the same force. Between them, there have been constant manipulations, mind games and emotional blackmails. To add the extra complication, there is a lover at the back while all these are going on. Naturally, “A” feels drained easily. Her self-care strategy has been by going away to places like Bali or Koh Samui for retreats (e.g. yoga, detox etc). When she recharges, she returns to the battle field.

In contrast, “B” has taken a different strategy. She focuses her energy more on creating the kind of life that she wants to live after the divorce. As a result, she starts to put plans to actions. She does get dragged back to face the divorce battle against her evil husband. However, she is less engaged and does only whatever is required (like getting the filings done in time). She also feels drained from time to time. However, as she maintains her daily spiritual practice, (including meditation, kundalini yoga, creative project etc), she has managed to recuperate and recharge herself faster and without needing to go to overseas retreats - more cost effective. She is determined to get the divorce done and live the kind of life as she desires.

Unsurprisingly, the outcome to date between “A” and “B” is different. “B” has got her divorce through and is now moving on to live her new life; whereas “A” is still in the middle of her divorce battle with no sign of the ending in sight.

In essence, “A” is overpowered by her fear of success; and “B” has overcome her fear of success.

The result is simply due to their different strategy – where each has focused her energy on a different timeline of her life.

A” has spent most of her energy on the Present and Past and little on the Future. In the Present, she is fully engaged in the divorce battle as she so desperately wants to get out the marriage and would do anything to achieve it. In order to outsmart her evil husband, she is constantly in the combat mode and keeps drawing her bitter experiences together with all the pains and traumas from the Past into the Present and the divorce battle. To certain extent, she is reliving these past experiences through her divorce battle. When she does look into the Future, she has just enough energy to look into a short distance away. Her lover is in a way her insurance policy into this short distant Future. However, she knows deep down that this “insurance policy” is not sustainable and can be cancelled at any time. So she feeds even more fear into her Future.

On the other hand, “B” has spent her energy on a broader spectrum of the life timeline. Although she is physically in the Present, dealing with the divorce battle, her mind and emotion are already ahead in the far Future, living the kind of life that she wants after the divorce. So, when she faces with the unpleasant elements in the Present, she then goes back to the Past, reflecting on and examining the journey that they have shared as married couple. She draws her lesson-learnt from this journey and identifies the limiting thought and behaviour patterns that will stop her from moving forward. She then bring these elementals forward into the Present, consciously breaks these patterns and make peace with the journey. As she becomes more enlightened, she becomes less and less engaged in the divorce battle. Therefore, the husband finally gives in and signs the divorce paper.

Without judging their circumstances, we should all be able to identify ourselves with both “A” and “B” at some levels and relate their stories to our own daily experiences.

I am sure that many of you are hearing or reading about this concept, “Fear of Success”, for the first time here.

The Fear of Success is real. It is probably the most powerful fear that we all live with. It is definitely more powerful than the Fear of Failure and so powerful that 99.9% of the time (if not, 100%) we simply submit to it even before recognising such fear.

It is also easy to spot the Fear of Success. It shows up when we keep getting stuck and unable to move forward into the kind of Future that we are manifesting. So, next time when you feel frustrated and could not move forward into the future timeline, take a moment to sit back and ask yourself some or all of the following questions:

  • Why is this stagnation happening now?

  • What is it that I should be focusing my energy on?

  • What lessons that I am supposed to learn from the past in order to move forward?

  • What is my goal again? Should I adjust it? If so, what adjustments?

  • What is it that I am manifesting again?

  • What would it mean when I achieve the outcome?

  • What would it feel like when I achieve the outcome?

Leaving you to ponder further with the insightful quote from Brene Brown:

“Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”


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*About “Yukaloo”, as described by the Asia Society Hong Kong: “Yukaloo is an aperture within which LEDs are engineered to change colors gradually over the course of several hours. Colored light emitted from the work fills the space, creating an immersive atmosphere similar to the awe-inspiring fashion in which the sky changes from late afternoon to night. Best known for his installations of colored light that appear boundless and infinite, Turrell draws us closer to the presence of light and how it transforms our perception of space.”

**Photo credit to Sin Chang Mak of Asia Society Hong Kong.