[T]he ripple effect of James Harden’s epic fail during Game 2 of the NBA’s Western Conference Finals on May 21 is still being felt. The Rockets lost Game 1 of the Western Conference finals to The Golden State Warriors in what started out as an electrifying series.
The Rockets had a chance to stay in the running in Game 2. It came down to a shootout between The Rockets’ James Harden (38 points) and The Warriors’ Stephen Curry (33 points). Millions of fans around the world watched the final :10 seconds of Game 2, when James Harden turned over the ball, trying split two defenders.
Instead of making the big shot – as he has undoubtedly dreamed of doing – Harden turned over the ball and gave The Golden State Warriors the win in Game 2.
His enraged reaction to the turnover in Game 2 instantly went viral, making Harden the subject of countless, hilarious memes.
A rut ensued into Game 3, and Harden just couldn’t produce, ending with a trivial 17 points. The Rockets lost again, in a lopsided victory. The Warriors crushed the entire game, winning 115 to 80.
It is a mistake that will haunt James Harden for the rest of his career, but mostly because of the Internet, lol.
Unless you are a Rockets fan, it is not that big of a deal. The sports world is “choke-full” of these types of stories – a high-pressure situation and a superstar athlete who cannot produce. Well, according to a study of over 4000 people, those who have a fear of success are the ones more likely to “choke” during a high-pressure situation. How would James Harden interpret these findings?
71% would feel humiliated if their success did not last and they ended up failing in the end (49%).
41% believe that being the best performer or being at the top of their field implies a heavy load of responsibility they don’t want to carry (compared to 17%).
However, he is still a human being. Let’s be real for a minute. James Harden is already successful. He plays at the highest levels of the NBA, and his signature beard has transformed him into marketing gold, worth tens of millions of dollars.
It is common to crack under the pressure of these high-intensity situations, according to Dr. Ilona Jerabek, the President of PsychTests, the company that conducted the research.
“A fear of success might seem nonsensical and unusual, but it is actually quite common,” explained Dr. Jerabek. “In our sample, 39% of the people who fear success quit right before reaching a goal, 55% admit that they suddenly get nervous when they get close and start ‘messing up’, and 64% purposely downplay their achievements when around others.”
Is this bad for James Harden and The Rockets? Probably.
They are attempting to come back from a 3-0 deficit, against one of the best teams in the league. After stunning the Los Angeles Clippers with a comeback from a 3-1 deficit to win that series, it is doubtful The Rockets have the fuel to do it again.
But, there is a silver lining in this, even if you are a fan of the Houston Rockets!!! Dr. Jerabek shared some tips to help you stomach the big slices of luck and success, which you’ve earned.
Face your fears
Recognize your fear for what it really is. It could be a fear of the unknown, of rejection, or of being envied. Take the energy you are spending on worries and self-doubt and channel it. Grab a paper and pen and write out your fear. For example: “What would happen if I did get that promotion?” Once you’ve created a list of all the consequences of success that you’re concerned about (“My former colleagues will resent me”), do a reality check with someone you trust. Discuss with him or her the likelihood of each consequence, and ways to avoid or overcome them. You may still be afraid, but now you know what scares you and how you can deal with it.
Rise to the occasion.
Don’t obsess about your ability to live up to expectations when offered a challenging assignment. You may have doubts about your abilities or be concerned that doing well on this project will mean that you’ll always be the go-to person for these tough assignments. The person who assigned you the project, however, does not doubt your ability to rise to the occasion. He or she probably sees something in you that you are too humble to acknowledge. Don’t pass up an opportunity just because you are afraid of the consequences. This is more than a chance to show others what you’re capable of …it’s a chance to prove it to yourself as well.
Don’t forget who you are.
Major success is often accompanied by the need to redefine yourself. This forced introspection can bring about anxiety. You may feel as though you don’t fit in with “the successful crowd,” but keep in mind (and keep reminding yourself) that you are just as talented and deserving of success as anyone else. Remember, success comes from within. Aside from a fear of success, a lack of confidence in your abilities is another setback that can keep you from attaining success. Perhaps you feel like an imposter, and attribute past successes to luck. If you believe that without luck you don’t have what it takes to sustain success, it’s a good sign that you need to work on your self-esteem and self-confidence. A little luck may have helped you along the way, but it’s your own hard work that got you there in the first place.
Forget the idea of a dog-eat-dog world.
When you excel at something, you are setting standards not only for your own future performance, but also for the performance of others. What if your excellent work raises the bar for friends or colleagues? Will they despise you? This, despite the idea of the “dog-eat-dog” world, is generally not true. When handled with tact, your success may be a source of inspiration and encouragement to others.