The Number One Thing Keeping You From Success

Consider your dreams for a moment. Not the places you want to be, not the things you like, but your dreams. The outlandish “save the world” stuff that you don’t tell anyone but your closest friends. Consider them in their expansiveness and their breadth and be overwhelmed by it all and then ask yourself “why am I not doing this?”

Ask yourself, “why am I not following my dreams?”

A picture of a man who is scared of failing

It’s a terrible question because it causes you to question yourself and when you do that, you open up to vulnerabilities and when you’re really aware of all your flaws, jesus, that’s when things get real- but to save you the trouble, I’ll tell you why I, for the longest time, didn’t follow my dreams. It was something stupid, something so insignificant that acknowledging it as an block becomes vain.

For the longest time, I was afraid of failure. Something as simple and abstract and ridiculous as failure. I wasn’t afraid of the what might happen if I failed- to me, embarrassment is ephemeral and you can always make money back- but I was afraid of the idea of failing, as if not succeeding at one thing invalidated my existence and intelligence and everything I thought was important about myself.

I was stuck on the idea that, if I failed, everyone would know I failed and that would somehow be inhibiting, which is effectively saying “I’m so important that if I mess up everyone (who is already paying attention to the minutia of my life) will become hyper-aware of my inadequacies and I’ll have to move into the forest and live out the rest of my days as a hermit, dwelling in a rotted tree stump”. Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit. Maybe.

I want you to relish in the fact that you might be able to fail. Let it excite you. Taste it like how wild animals taste blood and let the primeval instincts that lay dormant in you jolt alive and rip the fear of failure apart from its own sinews. Own your goals. Understand that success is the only thing that will ever matter. Not success in terms of external gratification, but success as achieving what you deem important. Consider the actual consequences of failure: are they things that will will hurt your body or are they things that will hurt your ego?

That is the power of failure- that it lies in one’s mind. That it exists solely in the electric gelatin between our ears. Inside our brain, it has been given the ultimate resource. It takes your (and my own) creativity and, instead of you being able to use it towards productive means, the fear of failure devours it, halting progress and action towards what could have been. But luckily, failure’s greatest asset is also it’s greatest flaw- because it exists only inside you, you’ve got the power to control it. You can starve it, make it shrink down to an infinitesimal vestige of what used to be.

So that’s what you need to do. Eradicate it. Exterminate the number one thing that is keeping you from success- not your lack of knowledge (because you can learn) and not your lack of capital (because ingenuity is limitless), but the fear of failing. How much you will be able to accomplish when the nagging certainty of defeat is gone? How fast does a river flow when the dams have been blown away? Fast enough to change the world’s landscape. And that’s what you’ll be- a swift moving current, not seeing failure as an end but an obstacle, one you will surpass with marvelous ease.

A similar post to this is about Visualizing Your Goals. You should read it.

About the author

Walter Blake Knoblock is a lot of things. Follow him on twitter @WBKnoblock and on