"Procrastination is the fear of success. People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy and carries a responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the ‘someday I’ll’ philosophy."
Denis Waitley


Have you ever found yourself putting off an important task, only to wonder why you're doing it? Procrastination is a curious phenomenon, isn't it? As humans, we inherently seek progress and success, yet we often find ourselves actively avoiding the very things that could lead to our achievements. Denis Waitley, a renowned motivational speaker and writer, suggests that procrastination is, in fact, the fear of success. But why would we be afraid of something we actively desire?

The Burden of Success

Success, as Waitley points out, is a heavy burden. It's not just about the recognition or the accomplishment itself, but rather the responsibilities that come along with it. Success often means higher expectations, increased pressure to perform, and the potential for envy or judgment from others. It's no wonder that we sometimes choose to procrastinate instead of confronting these intimidating aspects of success head-on.

Imagine climbing a mountain, with each step bringing you closer to the peak. As you ascend, the air grows thinner, the terrain more treacherous, and the stakes higher. Isn't it tempting to stop and enjoy the view from a comfortable ledge rather than push forward to the summit? This is the allure of procrastination: it offers a temporary reprieve from the challenges that lie ahead but at the cost of true accomplishment.

The 'Someday I'll' Philosophy

The "someday I'll" philosophy is a seductive trap that many of us fall into. We tell ourselves that we'll pursue our goals "someday" when the circumstances are right or when we feel more prepared. The truth is, there will never be a perfect time to take action. Life is full of uncertainties, and waiting for the stars to align only serves to delay our progress.

Think of a ship setting sail on a vast ocean. If the captain waits for perfect conditions, the ship may never leave the harbour. However, if they choose to set sail despite the challenges, they will learn to navigate the waters and eventually reach their destination. Similarly, we must embrace the uncertainty and imperfection of life if we are to achieve our goals.

Overcoming the Fear of Success

How can we confront our fear of success and break free from the shackles of procrastination?

Here are a few strategies to consider:

Acknowledge the fear: Recognising that the fear of success is driving our procrastination is the first step toward overcoming it. By understanding the root cause, we can begin to address it.

Set realistic goals: Break your larger goals into smaller, more manageable tasks. This can make the journey to success less daunting and help you build momentum as you achieve each milestone.

Embrace imperfection: Accept that perfection is an unattainable ideal and that it's okay to make mistakes along the way. Learn from your failures and use them as stepping stones toward success.

Celebrate small victories: Recognise and appreciate your achievements, no matter how small they may seem. This will help build your confidence and motivation to continue pursuing your goals.

Seek support: Surround yourself with people who believe in you and your abilities. A strong support network can provide the encouragement and guidance you need to overcome your fear of success.


In conclusion, procrastination is not merely a harmless habit but a manifestation of our fears and insecurities about success. By understanding the roots of this fear and employing strategies to confront it, we can overcome procrastination and unlock our true potential. Remember, the journey to success is a marathon, not a sprint; taking consistent action, even in the face of adversity, will ultimately lead us to the finish line.

In the words of the ancient philosopher Lao Tzu, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

By taking that first step, even when it's uncomfortable or frightening, we set ourselves on the path to success. Embrace the challenges and responsibilities that come with achievement, and remember that the weight of success is a burden worth bearing.

It is through overcoming our fears and stepping out of our comfort zones that we truly grow and realise our potential. So, let go of the "someday I'll" philosophy and take that first step today – the future you will thank you for it.

Article Summary - 10 Key Takeaways

  1. Procrastination stems from the fear of success, as it can be intimidating and burdensome, limiting our progress and growth.
    Explanation: When we fear success, we tend to delay taking action on our goals, preferring the comfort of the present over the potential responsibilities and expectations that come with success.
  2. The 'someday I'll' mindset often perpetuates procrastination, allowing us to put off tasks and live in a perpetual state of postponement.
    Explanation: By clinging to the belief that we will tackle our goals "someday," we avoid the discomfort of taking action now, leading to a cycle of procrastination.
  3. Success carries a weight of responsibility and expectations, which can be overwhelming and deter us from pursuing our dreams.
    Explanation: The fear of not being able to live up to the demands and responsibilities that accompany success can hinder our progress and keep us stuck in procrastination.
  4. Overcoming procrastination requires acknowledging our fear of success and identifying the specific fears that hold us back.
    Explanation: By recognizing and understanding the root causes of our fear, we can begin to address and overcome them, paving the way for progress.
  5. Taking even small steps towards our goals is vital in breaking the cycle of procrastination and building momentum.
    Explanation: By initiating action, regardless of its size, we create momentum that fuels our motivation and propels us forward.
  6. Celebrating our successes, no matter how minor, boosts our confidence and inspires us to continue our efforts.
    Explanation: Recognizing and appreciating the progress we make, even in small increments, reinforces positive behaviour and reinforces our commitment to our goals.
  7. Visualization is a powerful tool in combating the fear of success, allowing us to imagine and embrace positive outcomes.
    Explanation: By vividly picturing ourselves achieving success, we shift our mindset from fear to excitement, fostering motivation and determination.
  8. Challenging limiting beliefs and questioning their validity helps us overcome self-doubt and negative self-talk that contribute to procrastination.
    Explanation: By examining and challenging the beliefs that hold us back, we can replace self-doubt with confidence and take necessary action.
  9. Success is attainable and within our reach; we must confront our fears, take action, and persevere to unlock our potential.
    Explanation: Realizing that success is not unattainable or reserved for others, but a possibility for each of us, provides the motivation and determination needed to overcome procrastination.
  10. Breaking free from the cycle of procrastination is possible by committing to take action and embracing the journey toward achieving our dreams.
    Explanation: By making a commitment to ourselves, taking consistent action, and accepting that progress comes with time and effort, we can overcome procrastination and embark on a fulfilling path toward success.