The One Fear You Have to Conquer on Your Way to Success

(The question you never want to hear once it’s too late)

Alex Karadzin
8 min readJan 31, 2018


‘’This is my night, this is my night, this is my night!’’

I chanted this mantra in the back of my head as I slowly approached the stunning blonde in the red dress.

As I was walking towards the blonde and her friend, every fiber of my being was telling me: ‘’Get the fuck out of here, what are you doing?’’

I had no idea what I was going to tell her, or how the hell I’m supposed to start a conversation. The bar was full and everybody was looking at her from a distance.

I just felt I need to have the courage to make a move.

‘’Hey…’’ was the only thing I could say.

With a shaky voice and a body language of a person who undoubtedly doesn’t look comfortable in the situation at hand.

She stopped talking to her friend, turned towards me and sized me up before a corner of her mouth turned into a little smirk.

I was about to get schooled and I had no idea what’s coming.

The time stood still and I could hear my heartbeat. She took a long look at me and with a voice of an angel, she said:

‘’Fuck off.’’

My confidence wasn’t shaken. My whole identity was.

Those two magical words that a stunning blonde in the red dress told me have set me down the road of self-discovery and self-creation.

Since it’s almost a ten year anniversary of my first ‘’Fuck off’’ moment, I feel the need to share my experience as I went through my own little rabbit hole.

More importantly, though, I feel the need to share the lesson I learned about the fear of rejection and success on the other side of it.

Ultimately, that fear of being rejected for who we are and who we want to be is preventing us from accomplishing so much more things.

Eventually, that fear can stop us from experiencing life in its full glory and beauty.

‘’ URGH MORH TMRRHH GRRRRR’’ - The first caveman moments after being rejected from the tribe

Firstly, let’s stop for a second and see why we feel the fear of being rejected and what does it mean in today’s day and age.

About 100.000 years ago, life was very much different than what we now get to experience.

Back then, our ancestors had just one task and that was to stay alive. To do that, they had to develop a certain mechanism for survival.

The most important one was grouping in a tribe to increase odds of survival.

On the other hand, being left alone or rejected from the tribe would ultimately lead to inevitable death of the rejected individual.

With danger lurking from outside of the cave, the safest bet was to stick together and avoid rejection at any cost.

Fast forward to today, our survival is a given.

Unfortunately starvation is still a reality for many, but if you are reading this article and you have that luxury to surf the internet, it’s safe to say that you won’t die of starvation.

Now, we can order food instantly with just one click and predators are long gone.

Even if by some miracle, a saber-toothed cat would appear somewhere on this globe, it would be quickly shot down by a helicopter or an army.

Maybe it would be put to sleep and scientists could do the research that would benefit the human race in some ways.

In other words, we are safe.

The trick is that our brain doesn’t know that yet.

Even though human race has evolved significantly since then, rejection is still painful. Many studies have shown that the pain we feel when we are rejected is real.

Although, there is not much we can do to temper with our brain wiring system, the one thing we can do is acknowledge the fact that the fear we feel when facing the unknown is not based in reality.

“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me… The danger is very real but fear is a choice.” ― Will Smith

A couple of months ago, I published my first book.

One of my dreams was to create a learning experience for people who are struggling with social skills and those who want to learn how to be charismatic.

Once I decided that the learning experience was going to be in a book format, I spent the next few months writing and polishing it before it was ready for publishing.

Writing part was easy and I finished it on November 18, 2017.

However, I have released it to the public it on November 25, 2017.

A few people close to me who knew I finished the book, kept asking me why it’s not live yet. I told them that the book has formatting issues and that I’m still working on it.

By telling this, I did something I am not proud of.

I lied to those few people who love me and who’ll always have my back, no matter what.

The truth had nothing to do with a technical aspect of the book.

I was afraid.

I was afraid of being laughed at by the world. I was afraid to put my self in the spotlight and share my work, even though I knew the value of it and how hard I worked to make my dream come true.

My reasoning was simple; Once you put your work out there for everyone to see, there is no going back.

I did something which I knew logically make zero sense. I began to associate my finished but yet to be published book with my first ‘’Fuck of’’ moment.

I was reliving every second of my first public rejection for seven days, and played every possible ‘’what if’’ scenario I could think of that may happen from the moment I announce my book.

Human beings are fascinating creatures.

We are capable of projecting and visualizing any image we want and yet every ‘’what if’’ scenario is a negative one.

I went as far as changing my name and taking a new identity if I become a laughing stock. (I am not joking, I had an agonizing week.)

Finally, on November 25, after two hours of hovering over the submit button, I finally published my book on Amazon.

It’s safe to say: I’m still alive.

No one laughed at me and no one rejected me. My life is pretty much the same, as people already forgot about it and I have moved on to write a new one.

‘’The world is full of people who want to play it safe, people who have tremendous potential but never use it. Somewhere deep inside them, they know that they could do more in life, be more, and have more — if only they were willing to take a few risks.’’ — George Foreman

The truth is that we can survive and grow old as long as we don’t do anything unusual and unpredictable.

Friends, family, coworkers, and society, in general, will accept us and we won’t have to spend a moment worrying about rejection, and we certainly won’t feel any pain.

There is nothing wrong with being safe.

However, just because there is nothing wrong with playing it safe, it doesn’t mean it’s right.

My simple philosophy is that the meaning of life is to create a meaning for yourself. You are the only one who can do it.

No one ever created a meaningful life from the illusion of safety.

The crucial difference between those who live life and those who are merely surviving is the fact that the former deliberately choose to operate from an abundance and curious mindset, instead of fear-driven one.

The most successful people we all read about today and those we admire and respect learned from a very young age that the fear of rejection isn’t real.

More importantly, they figured out that the fear of rejection is what they need to overcome in order to succeed in the game of life.


Living a meaningful life requires your conscious decision to break the self-imposed shackles and conquer the fear of rejection.

You are not doing yourself nor anyone around you a favor if you are not living the only life you have on your terms; While you are here, take a few risks along the way doing what you feel you should be doing.

Now is as good a time as any to be honest with yourself.

Most likely you already know what it is you want to experience and what you have been putting away for reasons known only to you.

Rock that boat and do things that some people would say are out of character; Quit your job if you feel miserable all the time; Ask for that promotion if you feel you deserve it.

What’s the worst that can happen?

One thing is for sure: even if your ‘’tribe’’ rejects you, you are not going to die. Predators won’t eat you and you won’t starve to death in the wilderness.

You may experience a ‘’No’’ or even a ‘’Fuck off’’ from the world from time to time and it may hurt your feelings for a while.

Rejection may hurt for a moment, but a million ‘’Fuck Offs’’ now will never hurt as much as one ‘’What If?’’ once it’s too late.

Lastly, keep in mind:

“It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” ― Neil Young

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Alex Karadzin

Multimedia Artist. Modern-day Teacher. Lifelong Learner.