Host: Michael Duncan
Drink: Nikka “From the Barrel” Japanese Whiskey
Hello there once again Simple Minds fans!
This weeks host is Michael and today he’s brought with him a fine Japanese Whiskey that’s come in a strangely – medicinal looking – bottle. He’s also apparently feeling a bit under the weather so who knows – maybe he plans to poison the rest of the guys and claim Simple Minds for himself? Perhaps. Perhaps.
Regardless, the whiskey still tastes pretty good and the topic for this week should be pretty good so let’s get to it.
This potentially fatal round is on Michael Duncan with the support of Matt Hanham, Justin Bourn and Jacob “The Prophet” Moffitt. The Simple Minds Podcast unravels topics such as personal development, philosophy, life, and business – one medicinal drink at a time.
Today’s sole topic of the week is brought in by Jacob! (Travis was supposed to bring a subject to but didn’t turn up, nice one Travis.) Jacob asks the guys if they agree with the idea that, much like a fear of failure, we also may suffer from a fear of success? If so, how does this fear of success differ from a fear of failure?
Jacob elaborates on these questions by pointing out his own perceived fears in his business, stating that he harbors concerns over what the future may hold as his business continues to grow.
“…Well, let’s try this whiskey first.” – Matt
Justin immediately proves his innate ability to be supportive by going on to state that fearing success is “bullshit”. Rather, it isn’t so much success that we fear, but the added work and responsibility that could come with that success. Our true fear, a fear of change, is the real challenge to fully overcome.
Justin draws on his recent experience in Vienna where he was a keynote speaker at an industry seminar, detailing the nature of his own success in his own business. More specifically, Justin speaks about the feeling of inadequacy and listlessness that he experienced when his business had achieved the great deal of success it had in the relatively brief time he worked on it. (He spoke to a few ducks in Hyde Park at one point, it’s still unknown what wisdom they held but it must have been pretty good).
Ultimately, Justin managed to get out of that sense of malaise by rationalizing that his feelings were coming from a fear of what other people thought of him (FOPO). More specifically, Justin draws on how he became anxious with the idea that people would begin to see him differently and then – by extension, would react negatively towards that change.
To summarise, Justin argues that “Fear of Success” is a largely incorrect phrase, with the fear we feel from success coming from a different place. Rather, the fear we feel is again, a fear of added responsibility, added work or, in Justin’s case, a fear of how we may be seen. As an example, Justin goes on to say that the fear of failing in his business is much less of an issue to him, arguing his business could fail tomorrow and he would still have the resilience to simply start up a new one.
Matt elaborates on the idea and brings up a conversation he and Justin had on the idea that they were something of a hybrid of an introvert and extrovert, with both being happy to sit behind a computer all day while simultaneously being able to handle the day to day responsibilities and roles that have been required in their leadership roles with their respective businesses.
If anything, Matt feels that the primary way he may “fear success” would be the fear that, should his business explode into a massive success, the time he can spend with family would be compromised.
This leads on the guys to briefly muse on the idea of what success means.
“If you have nothing to whinge and complain about, you’re successful.” – Justin
“Success is tranquility” – Michael
Ultimately, the guys seem to decide that having a continuous direction and goal to strive for is a good measure of success, should such an endeavor be a source of tranquility on a personal level.
In short, humans are kind of like dogs chasing cars. If we ever caught one and then we fear we wouldn’t know what to do with it.
Jacob starts talking about his experience playing American Football (again), stating that his original desires within the team to be a major contributor became fuzzy or difficult to fully ascertain as time went on. This seemed to stem from a missed opportunity to play in the position Jacob originally envisioned himself playing in before the giant flaccid penis of reality smacked him in the face and it became obvious to the everyone he wouldn’t be able to fill that role efficiently. (He won’t tell us what role he was aiming for, though the life-size Rob Gronkowski cut-out he keeps in his bedroom is probably a good clue.)
This all apparently came from the fact that Jacob didn’t attempt to claim the position for himself, believing he would be thought of negatively if he succeeded in becoming the Australian Gronk.
“In new and unfamiliar space, I’m quite quiet and introverted.” – Jacob telling us something we totally didn’t know already.
The guys eventually start moving on to the subject of Jacob inflicting a lot of self-sabotage in his own business from his own patterns of behavior. With, more often than not, this coming in the form of procrastination and a lack of follow through in certain plans. Again, this can be argued to be an example of fearing success manifesting through a form of behavior that, while Jacob is conscious of it, does not seem able to curb it.
“Being free of debt, I feel, is a strange thing to fear” – Jacob
Michael tries to build on this idea, making a decision recently to expand his business over the next few months and cites what Conrad said regarding how inspiration doesn’t create action, but rather it is the action that creates inspiration.
“He is here” – Michael on Conrad
“He is everywhere” – Matt on Conrad’s true, ascended state
The act of actually doing an action is a major step towards successfully achieving the goal that action is associated with. Musing or planning a system, whilst good, will only go so far before we need to force ourselves to make the first steps, as only then can we overcome the “fear of success” we feel in these moments of inaction or procrastination.
“It sounds simple of course, but simple is hard” – Michael
Michael then mentions the process he went through hiring his new colleague/manservant/Igor – Victor. Saying that despite the simple process of him finally inviting Victor into the business, much of the dialogue and planning around Victor joining had gone on for nearly two years before any action had finally taken place.
“One day, you’re going to write a whole series of philosophy books and on the back of the cover will be a picture of you with a really long beard.” – Matt, impressed by Michaels show of casual wisdom.
The guys move on to talking about how they were all good at school despite not studying as much as they probably should have. #humblebrag
But in all seriousness, a lot of what school teaches us, particularly regarding anything to do with nourishing a sense of achievement, accountability and/or ambitions, is severely lacking , particularly when we go into our final year of exams, which often leaves us a students developing bad habits to cope with the pressure of not only the work but also the social implications of doing work and ultimately succeeding.
For Justin (and the Medium article he said he would link us but didn’t), a lot of how success works is about aiming to achieve excellence in the subject you hold to be your passion and, rather than working towards the idea of it being successful or the perception of others that that success would bring, whether that be positive or negative, we should strive to achieve success for our passion for the love of what we are doing.
“Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” – Michael, summing up the episode.
On a final note, because you’re probably dying to know as we are, we made a little preview what Michael will look one day with a giant beard.
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