Desire For Failure

Most of us desire to be successful, yet not all of us see ourselves achieving that success. Much of this comes from fear, doubt and anxiety of the unknown. Fearing how success may change us or what success would bring that we may not desire.

We all have heard the stories of how fame and success of stars ends in tragedy. Why? Mostly seems because of a self-destructive attitude created by that same fame. In some cases, the self-destructive nature is a mechanism to deflect success. They end up destroying themselves or their careers to avoid the impact of success and fame. They begin to desire failure over success.

In my opinion, I don’t think they’re the only ones that create desire for failure. I have known those who are emotionally crippled by fear of the unknown or of success that that fear can grow into a self-destructive nature, even if they can’t see it happening. If they could see where they were, maybe they could change their direction and embrace success.

Many years ago I came across and interesting 2×2 matrix on success and failure. It was very simple, but it triggered a bigger idea. In this 2×2 matrix, the two axis were identified as Emotion and Outcome. Across the horizontal axis were the emotions of fear and desire, while the outcomes ran in the vertical axis with success and failure. This idea has stuck with me for years and has helped me challenge my thoughts on a personal level.

I must mention that I am not a professional psychologist. What I have developed and use to help others was created from my own personal experience.

About 12 years ago, I started sharing this idea with some writer friends. Each of them faced similar issues and fears. Over a few years I have embellished on this 2×2 spun from personal knowledge and interaction with others. I re-engineered the 2×2 into what I used today when in conversations with others about personal projects. Below is this latest version of the classic 2×2.

Something that is immediately noticeable if you are familiar with the classic Success/Failure 2×2 matrix is identification of the quadrants. After having drawn this many times over the years I realized I was identifying the quadrants to the left side as being reactive and the right as being proactive. This thinking helped re-identify the terms I used in labeling the quadrants.

On the sides of Fear, the use of the word “of” is applied identify that fear is a response to the outcome. On the side of Desire, the term “for” is used to imply intent. This subtle change changed the conversation and helped others identify were they were and possibly shed some light on why.

Some of the other adjustments that were developed over the years is the subtitling in each quadrant. These are common conditions that I have personally experienced and witness in others. Especially the crippling effect that fear has on people. In retrospect, I have come to believe that most success comes from people who are driven to be successful. Their actions are very intentional.

One more feature that I have developed into this version is the gap in the center. Unlike a traditional 2×2 that defines uniqueness of the quadrants, I allowed a space that connects the “Fear of Success” to that of the “Desire for Failure”. This gap is helpful as a visual cue in a conversation that the fear of success can become so strong that it could open the door to a self-destructive nature and create a desire for failure in efforts to avoid success.

So why am I sharing this information?

So many people I have met and chatted with about their ideas, personal projects or their goals have mixed feelings about their vision. This is not uncommon, we all do. Yet, having this digram accessible, allows one to see where they are and possible help focus on what thoughts, actions or situations maybe generating this thinking and begin to make adjustments to become more of those types of people who have a desire for success rather then become self-destructive and create the desire for failure.

Again, I am not a psychologist only someone who has experienced this first hand and shares this same thinking with others who are in a similar place of doubt or fear.

I hope this can help shed some light on your own project, goals and vision and allows you to have that “Desire for Success.”

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