The Fear of Negative Outcomes, Black People, and Success
By Brenda L. | Published October 1, 2021
I cannot speak for others, but if you can relate to the fear of negative outcomes, as a person of color, this message is for you. This fear of things never turning out the way we plan, or just seems to never work out, or something or someone gets in the way, has been a barrier we’ve experienced time and time again. People of color trying to build a monument to their legacy only to be knocked down, destroyed and undermined, by the “establishment.” In other words, by white people. But that is no longer an excuse.
Where would Madam C.J. Walker be had she held that mindset during the worst of times for black people in America? Or Barack Obama today? Where would Nelson Mandela be had he lost hope? Muhamad Ali was respected around the world because he stood on his convictions. It is time for all of black America to grow a new backbone.
No, not all white people, but racism, discrimination, hate, police brutality, and no one giving a damn, are certainly dream killers. Nevertheless, this experience has too many people of color stuck in a mindset of, what’s the point? It is a waste of time. THEY have all the power. Nobody cares! It won’t work out. I was one of these people.
I had great ideas and beautiful dreams of a meaningful and fulfilling life, but there was something holding me back that I could not figure out. I just could not seem to move forward. I suffered a severe bout of inertia, the inability to get going in life, for nearly 20 years.
At one point I thought I’d figured it out, but I kept hitting up against a wall. It was not until these many years later that I put it all together.
It wasn’t the fear of failure, or the fear of success, or rejection which each can be barriers to the life you want to live. After much self-reflection, disrespect from family members about how I was living my life, and seriously hard soul searching, I learned that I had a paralyzing fear of negative outcomes. All my life it seemed as if things just didn’t work out. That nothing good ever happened. I inertly expected things to go wrong, so I stopped trying.
This has landed me in places I did not want to be and am still digging myself out of, but I am now fully aware of what’s at stake. We are all just doing the best we can, but we can do so much more if we can unlearn the fear of negative outcomes. Being aware is a start. When we know better, we do better.
This mindset is not only born in a biased society, but within our own homes. How many times have you been told by someone in your circle, whether a parent, teacher, friend, or relative, that you’re wasting your time? Or that won’t work. You can’t do that, or no one even seemed to care one way other the other, and offered no positive feedback. This can be a real dream killer too if you’re not the resilient type.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that even if we work hard, the odds are against us. That THEY have the power and won’t let you succeed. But it can also be true that, sometimes, we just don’t have what it takes. But then we wouldn’t be reaching. I’m reaching. And I have never stopped reaching. All this said, It is important that we do whatever it takes to unlearn the fear of negative outcomes, or what others have taught us to believe about ourselves. Otherwise, a negative outcome, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Focus your intent more on positive outcomes. They do happen. Believe it!
You can do what ever you set your mind to. This goes for anybody regardless of color, lifestyle or background. You can succeed. You can win! You just need to believe and stand on your own convictions. Make a psychological connection to the things you want to achieve, and let nothing and no one, especially not yourself, which is what it usually boils down to, stop you from accomplishing what you set out to accomplish. Build back stronger!
To our success, Ms. B