At The Mental Health Gym, we make a big deal about doing the right things to maximize your potential. Nobody accomplishes all that they can achieve, but you can come pretty close by maintaining a positive mindset, taking reasonable risks, being willing to make mistakes, and learning from our non-successes rather than dwelling upon them. Not everything we do will earn us an A but there is a difference between a B or C and a Fail.
Over the years, however, I have run across too many people who actually are less comfortable with success than failure. They tend to downplay their achievements – whether they occur in the intellectual, fitness, personal appearance, social, or career areas. When I ask about this, I often get one of two answers: either an answer that conveys fear that they will be unable to keep achieving; or they fear that others won’t accept them in the same way if they become more successful.
There’s something crazy about expecting that you will be worse off by being successful than by staying stuck in mediocrity. One of the privileges that comes with having a human brain is that we have the ability to strive to thrive throughout our lives. Another privilege is the ability to choose to relate to others in a friendly and caring way – and that’s more likely to determine how others will relate to us rather than whether or not we own our successes.
Modesty is a virtue, but humanity advances because of the achievements of its members. You can still be a nice person with appropriate modesty, and still own your successes rather than downplaying them. Most people like to have successful friends. And as you become increasingly comfortable with acknowledging your achievements, the more personally rewarding it will be to accept your awesomeness.