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10 Types of Unnecessary Fear That Block Your Success

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10 Types of Unnecessary Fear That Block Your Success

When our mind and heart are taken over by unnecessary fear, our life grinds to a halt. Fear debilitates us and blocks us from taking positive action to move forward. Many types of fear can seep through our daily life unnoticed and unchecked.

Most common types of fear are unnecessary fears. This means that, unlike instinctive fear, these types of fear are mostly a fabrication of our mind or instilled through past experiences.

Unnecessary fear can and must be identified and avoided. They serve no real purpose apart from hindering our actions, goals, and progress in life.

Here are the top 10 kinds of unnecessary fear that should not block you anymore.

1. Fear of Failure

We all fear failing in something at some point in our life. This can include fear of failing in a job interview, a business venture, a relationship, reaching a goal, and so on. The problem arises when it becomes a fear of failure in general[1].

Some of the most successful people have a different perception of failure. They are detached from failure as though it has no consequence to their lives. In other words, failure does not say or imply anything about them or their work. It is only another important step towards their goals.

How to Overcome This Fear

Say, for example, a job opportunity arises unexpectedly. This is the job you have been wanting for a long time. You are called for an interview. Pressure builds up as you fear you might lose the golden opportunity.

You fear failing. How do you shake off that creeping fear, knowing that it can only debilitate you?

One important thing you need to do is to let go of thinking or putting too much importance to the outcome.

Stop linking future outcomes to the event. Let go of any expectations and just focus your attention on the thing itself.

2. Fear of the Unknown

When something is unknown or unfamiliar, such as the future, it poses a subtle threat and becomes one of the common types of fear and causes anxiety. Yet, this fear or anxiety is clearly an irrational response to a situation.

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It has no real definition or substance. It’s fine to be cautious about something unknown, but fear of the unknown is only a way of missing out on the many opportunities and thrills life has to offer.

How to Overcome This Fear

You have to face the unknown with interest but not suspicion or distrust.

If you’re deciding to make a life change, what’s next is unknown, but should you believe that the future is waiting to rip you apart? Or should you trust your instincts and your heart telling you that it’s going to be fine?

For more on how to overcome the fear of the unknown, check out this article.

3. Fear of Change

One of the most common types of fear, and one which is closely linked to the fear of the unknown, is the fear of change. It keeps us stuck to our comfort zone. A lot of the rewarding stuff in life comes from pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and into the next level.

It requires the courage and resolve to accept what’s new and to let go of the mental and emotional attachments to the old.

How to Overcome This Fear

It happened to me many times: changing careers, quitting my full-time job, changing my lifestyle, etc. At first you feel you don’t have the energy or will to change. Then comes the turning point, like a kid learning to swim.

She is holding with one hand to the pool’s edge, with an intense fear. She hesitates, and then she lets go of the edge, plunges into the water, and is swimming unaided by nothing but her own will.

Dive into change a few times to help your mind understand that it’s really the only path to the life you want.

4. Fear of the Haunted Past

The past can be a ghost, haunting us. We even create fictitious parallel pasts, pasts that could have happened but did not. Learning from the past is necessary, but fearing it is certainly not.

What is fear of the past? It’s the fear of reliving certain negative emotions connected with your past, such as guilt, regret, and resentment. These emotions can be quite disturbing, but their power over us can be dissolved if we consciously remind ourselves that the past has no place in the present. It is what it is.

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How to Overcome This Fear

Let’s say you have a regret that comes to haunt you every now and then from your past. How do you vanquish that specter from the past?

By forgiving yourself and by accepting that you are a being with feelings and beliefs in constant change. The “you” ten years ago was a different person than the “you” now. The link between them is only in your head. Forgive your past self for what it was, and the link will be broken.

5. Fear of Disapproval by Others

As social creatures, we have been brought up from a young age to regard others’ thoughts and opinions about us and what we do, which has created several types of fear. It becomes part of our life’s equation. Stretched outside of its purpose, considering what others might be thinking or feeling about you can become a stumbling block.

This is especially true when you fear that others might disapprove of your ideas, choices, and behavior.

How to Overcome This Fear

For instance, whenever you are making a decision, such as changing your look or following a new lifestyle, and you feel the fear of disapproval by your peers, catch yourself being fearful. Remind yourself that you are free and not chained to other people’s views.

Try some mindfulness meditation to build self-confidence. Once you have a solid base of confidence, it will be hard to shake.

Check out this article for more tips on how to build self-confidence.

6. Fear of Rejection

In relation to fear of disapproval by others, another of the types of fear is fear of rejection, especially rejection from those who are close to your heart. Fear of rejection can only cause emotional blockage.

How to Overcome This Fear

This involves a lot of practice in vulnerability. Only through an openness to the possibility of being rejected can we truly obtain the kinds of relationships and connections with others that we want.

Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly, once wrote:

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”

You can hear more of her thoughts on vulnerability in this TED Talk:

https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_the_power_of_vulnerability?language=en

7. Fear of Losing Control

People often feel miserable after feeling that they have been disempowered by others. They feel weak, hurt, and lost. This can come out of a bad relationship, physical or verbal abuse, and even ridicule.

The truth is that we never lose our power and control to others. We give it away.

How to Overcome This Fear

When you feel you are losing your power to others, for example in an argument with your boss at work, remind yourself that you are the only signatory of that transaction.

Put the argument aside, and confront the person when you are emotionally recollected and more conscious.

8. Fear of Heartbreak

Heartbreaks can form emotional scars, and those scars can linger for many years to the detriment of closing us off to new relationships and experiences. What you need to understand is that past heartbreaks are only trapped emotional energy that need to be released.

Once the connection between past and future is broken, the fear is dissolved.

How to Overcome This Fear

When you fear that you will be heartbroken, instead of withdrawing, do exactly the opposite. Try to open your heart to the person or situation. Allow it to happen.

When you respond to situations with an open heart instead of fear, things will change dramatically, and the relationship will open up in ways you never expected. With each new heartbreak, you will learn more about what you want out of a relationship, which will help lead you toward a healthy, happy relationship.

9. Fear of Success

This may sound strange, but yes, fear of success is one of the common types of fear, and it’s an unnecessary fear. It’s not well known because it is a very silent fear. Fear of success is basically the fear of not being able to handle, or live up to, the positive change that comes from success.

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It’s an obvious drawback, since fear of success will impede success.

How to Overcome This Fear

Many people have been at the door of succeeding in something but gave up on it at the last minute because of this fear. This is generally more problematic for women. One study pointed out that “women insufficiently self-promote because they fear backlash for behavior which is incongruent with traditional gender roles”[2].

For women, overcoming this fear will involve pushing against societal expectations that women are less successful than men.

For anyone, overcoming this fear involves telling yourself that you are up for the challenge of what’s to come, that you are capable of whatever life brings you. Then, start feeling good about all of your successes.

Learn the 6 Types of Fear of Success (And How to Overcome Them).

10. Fear of Love

Of course, this is one of the well-known types of fear. It holds us back from opening our heart to others and finding happiness. Fear of love is born out of a combination of other fears, such as fear of rejection, fear of heartbreaks, and fear of success.

The obvious drawback of this unnecessary fear is that it holds you back from giving and receiving love—one of the strongest currencies in personal affairs.

How to Overcome This Fear

If you feel you are afraid to express love to somebody, imagine two simple scenarios, one where you give out love, it is reciprocated, and you are both happy. The other is where you refrain from loving (because of this or that excuse) and that love remains forever a lost chance for happiness.

Both are hypothetical, but you have the power to make one of them actual. Which one would you choose?

Final Thoughts

These types of fears are unnecessary fears that will ultimately hold you back from living your best life. If you identify with one of them, take care of your mental health and start following some simple steps to overcome them and move toward the life you want.

More Tips on Overcoming Fear

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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Reference

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Gilbert Ross

Gilber is an expert in personal development and the creator of the online course 'Simple Living Hacks'

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Published on November 29, 2021

Why the 10-80-10 Rule Is Key To Achieving Success

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Why the 10-80-10 Rule Is Key To Achieving Success

The 10-80-10 rule is an extension of the Pareto principle that says 80% of productivity/wealth is generated/owned by 20% of the population.[1] This ratio is often observable in various statistics and studies.

The 10-80-10 rule takes this principle and applies it more specifically to human behavior. It is also malleable, enabling people to move between categories. If we apply it to a company (just as an example), in essence, the 10-80-10 rule looks like this:

  • 10% Highly Productive Elite – This is the core of your business. These people will work all the hours that God sends for your company, leaving no stone unturned and generating the maximum possible productivity/revenue for you that they can.
  • 80% Productive – These lovely folks make up the majority of your business and will work 9-5, getting their tasks done and not making much of a fuss about it. They are less likely to offer innovation, but they are reliable, trustworthy, and dutiful.
  • 10% Unproductive and Defiant – These people are outliers and mercifully low in number, but they create work. They are difficult, unwilling to work hard, and generally take more from your company than they give.

This can also be applied in other areas of life. Morality is another example, with the vast majority (80%) of us being law-abiding citizens who may bend the rules occasionally, 10% being unscrupulously good, and 10% being out-and-out criminals.

Who Came Up With the 10-80-10 Rule?

As touched on earlier, the 10-80-10 rule is an off-shoot of the Pareto Principle, first conceived of in the early twentieth century by Italian civil engineer turned economist Wilfredo Pareto. He simply observed that 80% of the property in Italy, at that time, was owned by 20% of the population. Wealth distribution, according to Pareto, was divided 20/80 across all sections of society. The country, age, gender, or industry didn’t matter. This principle still applied.

Later on in the 1940s, Joseph M. Juran (himself an engineer and management consultant) applied the Pareto Principle to human behavior with the aim of improving quality control, positing that 80% of the success on any one project would be due to the efforts of 20% of the team working on it.

Since then, various researchers and theorists have expanded the Pareto principle into the 10-80-10 rule—observing that 10% are true leaders, 80% seek guidance from others, and 10% wilfully act in a counter-productive manner.[2]

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How to Apply the 10-80-10 Rule to Management to Be More Successful

Well, let’s stay with the team/workforce model for now: if you want to improve productivity in your company, where should your focus be? All too often, “the squeaky wheels get the grease.” That is to say, we tend to try and fix what’s most broken in our organization (namely the bottom 10%) before we move on to the less broken.

When you realize, though, that you’re pouring resources into just 10% of your labor force, it starts to look very inefficient. Moreover, that 10% is comprised of folks who are highly unlikely to change their tune (statistically anyway). You need to focus on the 80%. That’s where you’ll have the most impact and where you’ll create the biggest uplift in productivity. The 80% aren’t (of course) completely equal. Some will sit closer to either of the 10% range, but this means that you should be able to increase the size of your top 10% to be more like 20 or 30%.

How Much of a Difference Would That Make?

Now, before you slam your laptop shut, haul off, and start brainstorming ideas about team-building exercises and corporate days out, it is first very important to understand the metric by which you measure productivity. Numbers on a spreadsheet or letters next to a person’s name only paint part of the picture.

What you value in your company is unique to you. As I’m constantly saying to entrepreneurs and business owners that I coach, you have to be specific with what you are asking of your team, your customers, and the universe at large. Ask a vague question and you’ll get a vague answer.

So, do the work of understanding exactly what is working for you and what isn’t. Simply saying that you want revenue to increase is not enough. By how much? In what areas? Who will we add value to increase their spending with us? Where and whom should we target for new growth?

Who Does This Desired Increase in Productivity Help You Become and Who Does It Serve?

Armed with this, you will have much more clarity to take to your team and with which to start formulating a plan of action. You can look at what would incentivize those in the 80% who just need a slight nudge. That’s where minimum effort will yield maximum results! So, start there.

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A 2014 Gallup poll found that a third of the US workforce felt unmotivated in their jobs, with the highest levels of motivation found among managers.[3] This tells us two things:

  • Firstly, the unmotivated third is comprised partly of those in the 80% camp, but the entirety of the unmotivated 10% is in there, too. If you take them out (because they are those people), the remainder isn’t as many people and they are in a group that still wants to work and get on.
  • Secondly, those in a position of management (i.e. those who feel as though they can effect change in the company) tend to be the most motivated.

Now, let’s not confuse motivation with productivity. You can be as motivated as you like, but without proper strategy or direction, you’ll just be a hammer in search of a nail. Nevertheless, those in management who felt the most motivated to be productive are worth interrogating.

Why Did They Feel More Motivated?

I would posit that the answer is very simple: they felt heard and that they could affect change. It’s a hugely important part of human psychology that we feel as though our ideas, thoughts, and feelings are heard by others. When we feel ignored, we feel unvalued. When we feel unvalued, we are (naturally) unmotivated.

This is not to say that you should make everyone a manager within your company. Your business might be a start-up or just a few people working out of your converted garage. The point is, make sure that they all feel heard. I guarantee you that—especially among the upper end of the 80%—you will see the greatest uptick in productivity if you simply listen to them. Make them feel as though they have a vested interest in growing your business, too.

If they can see the role that they play is important and understood by you, they will push themselves to go further, work harder, and achieve more. You have to put yourself in their shoes, which brings us on to the next point. . .

How to Use the 10-80-10 Rule to Improve Success

Okay, so far we’ve just looked at the 10-80-10 rule as it pertains to the success of groups. But how does it apply to us as individuals? What can we learn from it and use in our day-to-day lives?

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You might be a sole trader or maybe a consultant—someone who does not have a team to rally and simply sells your services to others. In that instance, how does this work for you? Divide yourself up into the 10-80-10. Do it by tasks: what are you most efficient/gifted at, what are you good at, and what do you constantly put off doing?

Here’s an example. Say you’re a writer (where did I get this one from?), and you’re very successful. You are asked to write articles for lots of great, top publications like LifeHack, or maybe you’re writing a book and your screenplay just got picked up by Warner Brothers. Writing is your 10% elite. It’s where you offer the greatest value.

It’s probably not the actual writing so much as it’s the creativity, ideas, and talent that you can bring to bear in your writing. The actual writing—sitting down at your computer, tapping it out, proofreading, and catching spelling/grammar mistakes—that’s your 80%. Sure, you’re good at it. You are competent and get it done. But it’s not where you are at your most powerful, and you usually run out of steam at some point during the day.

Then, there’s your bottom 10%. That’s probably your operational tasks, such as your timekeeping, bookkeeping, invoicing, correspondence, tax return, etc.

Where Do I Get These Examples From?

So, where can you be most effective in taking action that will support you in accelerating your growth? Again, start with the 80%. Try finding ways to improve the writing experience for you. Maybe observe yourself on a typical day, and note when you do your best work. It might be right after your second coffee that you stay at your desk for longer and write with the greatest clarity. So, start structuring your day around that.

What has that cost you? Nothing! It was simply a case of reorganizing your day and bingo, you are doing more of your best work in less time than it took you before. Pretty soon, after you’ve tightened up your day so that you are of maximum productivity, you’ll find that you have more time and resources.

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Once you are better resourced, having landed bigger and bigger jobs, you’ll be able to take care of that pesky bottom 10%. It could be that you eliminate it by outsourcing the work to someone else. Now that you earn more for less of your time, why not? Just take it out of the equation altogether.

Final Thoughts

The 10-80-10 rule is not about adding ridged structures or following strict rules per se. It’s simply a lens through which to view human behavior, including your own. The reason why it is (or could be) the key to your success is that it enables you to identify those small changes that you can make that will have the greatest impact and accelerate your growth the fastest.

If you categorize your labor and the labor of your employees in this way, you’ll be able to more easily identify where you can have maximum impact with minimum input. If you continue to work out from there, your success will snowball, and you’ll have the support in place to maintain it.

More Tips on How to Improve Your Success

Featured photo credit: Andreas Klassen via unsplash.com

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