Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

Fear of success

I sat down for a little while and worked, and then I started thinking about things... I haven't had a chunk of time to just work like this in a long time.... It's almost like the old days, right? When I used to sit down the day before a paper was due and just do it. And the idea that I might finish it this evening, and that it might actually be decent, terrified me! I did some writing in my journal, and I've realized now that I am afraid of success. I've read before that that can be a cause of procrastination, but didn't think that could be my problem—I've always just been scared of failing! But now I know that isn't it at all. I expect myself to fail, and beat myself up when I do, but what I'm even more scared of is being worthy of someone else's praise. And I can see this reflected not just in my procrastination but in a bunch of issues I've been having.

It feels great to have figured this out—but not sure where to go from here. I'm looking forward to getting back to school and discussing this with my therapist. In the meantime, I want to push myself over this fear tonight and finish the essay, because I know that I can. 

fear of success discussion

I pulled this out of the day thread so it doesn't get lost.

Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried.

re: fear of success

Hi Kristen!  I can definitely relate to this.   If you succeed in this task, then you will get more responsibility and more work.   People will begin to expect more of you, and then more.  You will always have to be finding ways to "top" yourself.  But this is a false fear.  You want to work towards a balance of work, play, and fun.   If you do you work well, you will have MORE time for play and fun, not less!

Like Pro says though, it's good to understand your motives, but in my experience there is not a magic bullet.   It would be nice to suddenly realize why you procrastinate, and then boom, the problem goes away.  But I have found it takes daily working on the problem to overcome it, regardless of the cause.  

I'm really happy to see the progress you have made so far!   Keep coming back!



"It is never too late to be what you might have been."
- George Eliot

internal enemies

Thanks for your reply, Journey. :)

I think you're definitely right that there is no easy answer to this problem, and that's sort of what I've been figuring out recently as well. Yesterday pro and I were talking about some of these fears I've been having, as well as my huge demand resistence, and pro said "listening to you is like looking in a mirror." That's when it hit me that this procrastination isn't just a burden that I have to carry until I can throw it off someday. It's actually an intelligent enemy—because it has part of me under its control! That's why I find it so hard to fight; this parasite understands me and knows exactly the tools to use to convince me to ignore my responsibilities. That's what an addiction is: a compulsion that pits you against yourself. So it'll be a long, hard fight. But now that I've named my enemy, at least I'll know what to look out for.

Thanks to everyone on this site for helping me understand this. I know all the long introspective posts seem a little pointless when actually doing things is the biggest part of the struggle, but it helps me to know what I'm fighting against. 

hooray for long introspective posts

I was reading your post when I finally understood that I was afraid of success, too. I have been only wanting to apply for jobs which are trivial because if I get a job I would be qualified for, I might actually have to give enough of myself for people to rely on me. If I take a job like that I also have the fear that I will eventually not meet people's expectations of me as well. so I guess that fear of success and fear of failure are the same thing. I actually would like a life right now that does not pit me against my abilities. If I don't get a job that is a worthy job, then I don't have to take financial responsibility for myself either. Which lays that responsibility in my spouse's lap. Which means that I keep myself in place so that I won't have to examine my circumstances and make hard changes. If I did become fiscally independent then I might have to stay that way, work in a job that might become too overwhelming for me, and be caught in the double-bind of being responsible if I fail or succeed, whether I like it or not. 

Which is baloney, of course. I am responsible for my successes or failures, I always have the option to change, and I do believe that HP can support me through my difficulties. I guess procrastination for me is about not wanting to grow up....

Thanks, Kristen, for enlightening me!



"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." - William Penn