The Fear of Success

By Jontae Grace

The ironies of life never cease to amaze me, especially in matters of the heart. I’ve always believed that whatever is in your mind will eventually manifest itself in your reality, and there is no better way to see what a person envisions for their life than looking at their surroundings. After careful observation, I’ve noticed that most people are more intimidated by the possibility of success than the threat of failure, especially when it comes to relationships.

How can this be! Everyone wants to be successful, right? Wrong. Everyone wants to be comfortable, not successful. Success is very unsettling in many ways, especially in a relationship. It requires you to do what is right instead of what is easy. It demands that you think of consequences not only for yourself, but for those in your care. Most of all, success stipulates that you will lose every argument with a Sista, and even when you win, you’re gonna feel like you lost anyway. It’s not a task for the weak-willed and thin-skinned, but it is well worth it.

Success changes your overall reality. Things that you accomplish for yourself, the standard of living and loving that you created for your life are most people’s wishes. As such, there is a certain element of isolation that comes along with success, because you can’t completely relate to most people’s realities as easily as before. How can you, as a woman, sit up and kick it with homegirls who only wanna talk about how doggish these men are, when you have a pharaoh at home building a kingdom and planning an empire? How can you, as a man, go to some seedy windowless strip club with your boys and slap asses all night when you’ve got a woman who makes you money, and looks twice as fine with half the makeup? It’s just not rational.

So what does a woman do when her girls are all in her face like Noxzema about how she needs to be careful with her man? What does a man do when his homeboys are on his head like a durag calling him whipped, a rest-haven and a Captain Save-Em? They engage in acts of self-sabotage, hoping to stay in that comfort zone rather than commit all of their energy to uncharted territory. The reason being is that the comfort zone is familiar. You know what to expect, good and bad. You’ve been there before, and you can’t be too disappointed in a person should they turn out to be a complete zero. You can be manless with all your girls or foundationless with all your boys because hey! At least yall got each other!

Have you ever felt that “He’s TOO good to be true, something must be wrong with him” vibe? That depressing moment when you’re so used to losing that you can’t accept when you have a winner? That is self-sabotage. Your experiences forced you to expect disappointment and letdowns. Now you’re looking at every guy with the side-eye, tryna figure out what his angle is, what type of game he’s playing. Or you’re worried about what guy she laid with when yall were in high school, ancient skeletons in her closet while you’re leaning against yours hoping the hinges hold steady.

At that point you really aren’t afraid of failure anymore, because you have seen it often and it no longer scares you. You are afraid of success, because that is the great unknown that you haven’t tasted. You fear that that Brotha might just change your mind about everything you’ve been through in the past. Or that Woman can force you to question every song you’ve heard, every Bangbros clip you’ve watched, everything that you base your reality on. That is SUCCESS. That is scarier than any embarrassment that may be caused by a failed experiment. And not everyone has the heart to step up and claim that success for their own. He’d rather lie in bed with rat after rat feeling empty every morning; and she’d rather let Floyd Mayweather Jr. practice on her face before they’d ever think to link up with each other and form a winning team.

In the end, it’s very simple: your effort will show whether you are more afraid of success, or failure. Forget all that barking and jaw-jacking about how you’re doing it real big, got big things poppin and all that mess. One look in your eyes, and one glance at your program and I can see exactly what you are about, male or female. The majority of people stay stagnant because they are afraid to succeed in life and in love, not because they are ill-equipped. I know how scary it is. I languished for three years with sub-par women and sub-par effort in life, and all I got from it was advice to give. In this life, anything you wanna do, and anyone you wanna do it with, takes WORK. Hell, you have to work hard to be mediocre! So look through your contacts, dust off the number of the one who has been waiting for you to get your mind right, and handle that. I’ll see you at the top.


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Don’t give up before your blessing arrives…


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Amber says:

    You really just inspired me I love your writings over here I’m hooked but I have some questions if you don’t mind me bothering you? 🙂

    1. Jontae Grace says:

      Thanks Amber! Sure you can ask me anything 🙂

  2. untamedbutterfly says:

    This is so true…I always felt I had fears of success, but didn’t quite know how to explain it to others…most would think “why are you afraid to make it?” But in my mind its uncharted territory, and something that has to be maintained. I say “with great success comes great responsibility”. This blog explains my thoughts perfectly, and I am steady working to embrace my successes. Great post!

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