The Attraction of not doing TOO well.

‘TOO well’ What does that mean? It means going near or beyond the inner limit of ‘doing well’ that we have fixed for ourselves or more usually, was set for us. Going beyond what we were brought up to feel we deserve by our parents, social environment, class, neighbourhood. This can be in the areas of happiness level, material wealth, health or relationship harmony.

So this morning I was reflecting on the very poor quarterly results my business has had. This follows a successful year, the best results the business has ever had and the most money I have ever earned.

I wondered what about me is the cause of this result. In business its always your fault and your responsibility and so one doesn’t need to look far to find the cause of any problems. It’s always with me.

There is something glorious about being in control to that extent, knowing that I can change the course I take. It can also be daunting at times to take full responsibility and know that the buck stops here, every time. No recourse to the childlike state of wanting to be saved by a shining knight or to blame someone else.

So I glimpsed the attraction to not doing well, the pull towards failure. Here are a few I found this morning, some of which were more relevant in the past for me…but may still be activated at times and cause a conflict of goals. In fact if my main conscious goal is to be successful in every way this whole list demonstrates sub goals that can interfere with the main goal if not made fully conscious. After each I have put the kinds of affirmations I use to answer each fear or mistaken belief. I have done this really quickly this morning to its not complete, I may add to it later on.

  • It can come from adhering or being subject to unrealistic levels of perfectionism. If you are not doing it perfectly or hugely massively well you might as well fail – being perfect is a hard benchmark to chase, far too hard. It can suck your motivation – so why bother even trying – I am enough, I work hard enough, I love myself whether I fail or succeed


  • It can come from being over criticised as a child. You get the message you can’t do anything right, so you conclude like I did, that I may as well not even bother trying too hard. The parents won’t be pleased by your efforts and the desired praise won’t be forthcoming anyway. In fact I may as well do everything wrong, since you are being constantly chastised anyway. So rebel against this and that and everything including doing well in life – I no longer have to rebel against what others consider normal, I observe what works and use it, I can encourage and praise myself, I am very pleased with myself 


  • Hang about in struggle and you don’t need to take a fall from success or a high position. So if you don’t  allow too much success in, there is no chance of tumbling from the position, nowhere to fall if you are already scrambling about on the ground. So saving face? Pride is that – there is no need to worry about failing and losing face, life has its ups and downs, many times I have recovered from failure successfully and will again if necessary


  • Hang about in struggle and theres no danger of pride developing or getting carried away with feeling superior –I trust that I will maintain healthy levels of humility and I am conscious when my ego tries to step in and take over,


  • If I am successful people will probably not like me. I have had some of this already, friends who have called me right wing or attacked my lack of ‘social benefit’. People seem to associate doing well with right wing and selfishness. ‘The rich are to blame for societies ills’ is the dominant social paradigm. To be popular in the UK you have to fail, to be hated, just succeed – I am less and less concerned about being accepted and liked the more I accept and like myself, I accept that we can’t be liked by everyone and that to be yourself sometimes requires others disapproval 


  • You may lose some friends, and your social circle may change, you could feel abandoned – I feel compassion for myself and allow change to take place


  • Fear of causing others envy and jealousy. Your success may make others feel inadequate and they may consciously or unconsciously compare themselves to you- I feel compassion for any suffering I see in others and I feel compassion for myself


  • To ease up on the succeeding a bit…get back to old comfy familiar territory of struggle and strife and worry and uncertainty and living on the edge- Even though it can feel scary at first its actually quite exciting to explore new territory, I trust myself to thrive in the new circumstances and to cope adequately with new situations


  • My own unworthiness kicking in perhaps as doors of a better life open up to me and invite me in – I work daily on allowing myself to experience happiness and success, and I am mindful of my positive qualities and worthiness and I feel gratitude for all that I have in my life 


  • Fear of increasing guilt. The guilt says why would I want to have so much when most have so little? I trust that the more I have, happiness, wealth etc, the more I am able to share, and the more good I can do in the world, there is no need for guilt




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