the jonah complex.

Warning: lots of hyperlinks to insightful topics in this post. You’re welcome. Seth Godin defines non-clinical anxiety as “experiencing failure in advance.” In his post titled The Opposite of Anxiety he touches upon the notion that if we think of a future that incorporates all worst case scenarios, we’re already setting ourselves up for failure.  He also brings up an interesting fact that our culture doesn’t have a word for the opposite of this mentality – experiencing success in advance.

The other day scrolling through my twitter feed, I saw this tweet by my friend, Willie. Curious, I clicked it and immediately had one of those “a ha” moments.  Taken from Wikipedia: the Jonah Complex is “the fear of success which prevents the realizations of one’s potential.”

I feel that this is precisely what I’m trying to overcome.  Yes, I understand the whole it’s-not-about-you-mentality, the it-doesn’t-matter-what-you-ship-mentality, and everything related to not caring what other people think as long as you’re passionate about what you create. And yet, I still create this mental block for myself.  I often ask myself what am I afraid of?  What will happen if people actually respond to what I create – positively or not? I get stumped, and cower at the idea of possibly doing something great.  I think that I don’t want the attention; I don’t want the praise and accolades that may come from it.  Even just writing that sounds stupid.  Why wouldn’t I want someone to come up to me and say thank you or what you created actually helped me?

Yes, I want to help people and give back through writing, through fitness, through storytelling, but I also don’t want the praise that could stem from it.  Can humility and success coexist?

I believe it can.  Clearing some internal hurdles I’ve built is the key.  I’m the only one in the way of my own success.