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Are You Scared of Success?

written by John Chow on April 26, 2010

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A few years ago, I held a contest to give away two passes to Shoemoney’s Elite Retire. Those passes cost $5,000 each. The only requirement to enter was to write a blog post explaining why I should give you the pass. You would think a contest offering this kind of prize would draw hundreds, if not thousands, of entries. However, less than a dozen people entered.

Before Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas, Shoemoney held a contest to give away an all expense paid trip to the show. The winner would get the most expensive show pass, flight, hotel and $2,000 of cash to bet on a game of Blackjack. To enter, you had to write a blog post on why you should go, have your post selected as a finalist and then get people to vote for your entry. Again, you would expect tons of people to enter but, like my Elite Retreat contest, only a handful of people entered.

When the question came up on why we got so few people entering our life changing contests, I came up with the follow conclusion: People are scared of success.

You Can’t Be Scared of Failure. You’re Already Failing

I hear the argument many times that says most people won’t try to succeed because they’re scared of failure. I would argue that they’re failing already and I don’t see them being scared of it. Otherwise, they’ll do something to avoid it. What they’re really scared of is not failure. They are scared of success and all the “problems” that it brings. Yes, success can bring some huge problems and I would say the biggest one that makes people scared of success is, “What would my friends think?”

It really didn’t surprised me one bit that the winners of the Elite Retreat contest were Zac Johnson and Gyutae Park, two already successful bloggers and affiliate marketers. It also didn’t surprised me that the winner of Shoe’s Affiliate Summit contest was Lyndon Reid, another successful blogger and affiliate marketer.

I had a friend who once said, “The person who least needs it is always the person who wins it.” and it seems to apply here. Zac, Gyutae and Lyndon doesn’t really need to win those contests to be successful but they won because no one else entered. People did not entered because most are used to having excuses for failing and going to an event like Elite Retreat or Affiliate Summit would remove all those excuses. No more excuses mean they now have to succeed and that scares of the living daylights out of them.

So, while you will see hundreds and thousands of people enter a contest to win a free iPad, the instant the prize becomes something that can drastically alter the chance of success, the only people who enter are the ones who already successful.

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