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The Fear of Failure and the Fear of Success as Factors of Procrastination

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In this essay I’m going to talk about some of the fears that are around and fueling procrastination. These fears are present in people of all shapes and sizes from teens to adults, and it undoubtedly interrupts and interferes with their daily lives. These interruptions and interferences in these people’s lives are all a product of what these fears produce. Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing something for later, which for me usually ends up being the last possible moment. When peering into society, it is almost guaranteed most people have procrastinated, knowingly or not, at some point in their lives. There is a multitude of reasons one might procrastinate however in this essay I’m going to be focusing on two, the fear of success and the fear of failure. Although the fear of failure is discussed more than the fear of success, both of these fears are fairly common throughout our society with both seeming to be just as harmful as the other. Throughout this essay we’ll be looking deeper at both the fear of success and the fear of failure.

I’ll be starting things off with the fear of failure, as it’s likely to be the easier one to relate to. First off there is no doubt that most if not all of us are afraid of failing, at least some of the time. But being afraid to fail and letting that fear of failure stop you from doing the things that could propel you forward is what makes all the difference. People who are afraid of failure are likely to avoid any sort of task that they even have the possibility to fail at. The fear of failure, also known as atychiphobia, can be expressed through many different avenues. From things like excessive anxiety, low self-esteem, low self-confidence, and procrastination. The fear of failure can even trigger a sense of perfectionism where the person in question would only be willing to try out things that they knew they would be perfectly successful in. This causes the person in fear of failing to block out different things getting in the way of their perfect success and in some cases even go as far as to block out everything nonessential to their goal.

Next, the lesser known but still very real fear of success. While almost no one fears success there are people who fear what comes with it and as a result they avoid success altogether. This causes people to procrastinate on what they are supposed to do even if the task is a simple one in order to avoid the possibility of extra work. The people who are afraid of success often know that if they were to succeed then they would have even more responsibilities after their success. It is these other responsibilities that really frighten the people in fear. What is even more shocking is that it is not uncommon for people afraid of success to not even realize it until they find themselves working slower than usual or looking for any excuse to skip work. It gets to the point where their lives become more and more interrupted by a fear they may not even know is affecting them or even exists. It’s at that point where you have to ask yourself how you could possibly be afraid to succeed. What people often fall back to is the notion that when you fail, you then go back to what you knew and opposite to that, when you succeed you are then heading off into uncharted territory. It seems that some people are just more comfortable staying with what they know and that the uncharted territory is what that the people are really afraid of.

My experience with procrastination has been an interesting one. It’s been something that I’ve struggled to shake since as far back as I can remember even despite knowing all the stress and unpredictable problems that could come with it. The interesting part is that when I reflect and try to reason as to why I always find myself procrastinating I am not really able to settle on a sound conclusion. It seems at least in my case that depending on the situation the fear of success and the fear of failure both play a role. I often find myself sizing up a task, figuring out how long it will take, and then putting it off until I realize that that’s all the time left anyways. It’s then a frantic race to complete something that could and should have been done days sometimes weeks beforehand. For example earlier this year my astronomy class was told about a few easy ways to get some extra credit. The projects were going to be pretty easy and just required the student to chart some stars and talk with an amateur astronomer so I told myself that I’d just do it later on in the semester. It’s now the end of the semester and I still have not done it despite knowing how easy it would have been.

Throughout the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Dr. Frankenstein struggles with his own versions of procrastination throughout the book. His procrastinations were fueled first by the fear of failure then later on in the story by his fear of success. The first instances happened while Dr. Frankenstein was still working on building his monster, he is even quoted as saying, “I wished, as it were, to procrastinate all that related to my feelings of affection until the greater object, which swallowed up every habit of my nature, should be completed.”I found this quote very interesting because gives us a window into the doctor’s mindset, his fear of failure led him to work tirelessly on his objective to the point where he was neglecting his social and personal responsibilities. In this case his fear of failure seemed to propel him to procrastinate on all of his social responsibilities while focusing solely on completing the goal he was obsessing over. Later on in the novel, after his completion of the monster, Dr. Frankenstein runs off to the Orkneys in order to be able to work in solitude. It’s at this point in the story where he procrastinates once again but this time for a very different reason. This time his fear of success was what fueled his procrastination. As he was in the process of building his second monster, he was halted by the fear that on his success, he’d be making a monster just as destructive as the first one.

In conclusion both the fear of failure and the fear of success can play big parts in a person’s reason for procrastinating. While the fear of failing might be the better-known fear, the fear of success is still very prevalent throughout society. The fear of success and the fear of failure have some fairly similar but also some very different traits. The fear of failure along with the fear of success are both known to cause a person to avoid certain responsibilities, the fear of failing however can also cause a person to focus solely on tasks that they feel that they can do with perfection. By doing this that person is able to ensure him or herself that what their afraid of failing at can be done perfectly and without incident. However this path often leads them to neglect or procrastinate over all of their other responsibilities, personal or otherwise, until their goal is completed. Both of these fears can also be found throughout the novel Frankenstein By Mary Shelley where the doctor deals with his fear of failing at the beginning of the novel only to struggle with his fear of success later on towards the end of the novel.

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The Fear of Failure and the Fear of Success as Factors of Procrastination. (2020, September 01). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 21, 2021, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-fear-of-failure-and-the-fear-of-success-as-factors-of-procrastination/
“The Fear of Failure and the Fear of Success as Factors of Procrastination.” GradesFixer, 01 Sept. 2020, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-fear-of-failure-and-the-fear-of-success-as-factors-of-procrastination/
The Fear of Failure and the Fear of Success as Factors of Procrastination. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-fear-of-failure-and-the-fear-of-success-as-factors-of-procrastination/> [Accessed 21 Jan. 2021].
The Fear of Failure and the Fear of Success as Factors of Procrastination [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2020 Sept 01 [cited 2021 Jan 21]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-fear-of-failure-and-the-fear-of-success-as-factors-of-procrastination/
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