Interpretation of Findings
There are several pertinent results that arise from this study. One significant aspect that arises is the presence of Fear of Success (FOS) syndrome. This is debilitating and can lead to a great deal of barriers to advancement for African Americans at a core level. While it may not be directly correlated, this may have something to do with the elements of negative bias that are present for African American men and women versus those of other races. Being stereotyped constantly and receiving different treatment cause a lot of tension and frustration caused for African Americans on a whole.
This plays into African American fears of being judged or criticized, elements that they are particularly vulnerable to when experiencing fear of success syndrome. Since self-sabotaging behavior can arise from the subconscious mind or early child hood experiences, it is unfortunate that the external world will cultivate these aspects further in an individual of African American descent.
While blatant discrimination may have been the root cause for a great deal of these behaviors, it is unfortunately propagated with hidden or veiled discrimination today. Since many African Americans are stereotyped and judged differently based on their ethnicity or skin color, discrimination today reflects in different pay or the glass ceiling present within our society for their advancement. Many African Americans who are aware of this, may allow such complexities of the corporate world to continue to stimulate their fear of success.
In parallel with the understanding that people act based on beliefs that are consistent with the highest rate of achieving surmountable goals, it is evident that decision-making can be based heavily on the impression one has of obtaining the desired outcome. Based on the cultural history of African Americans in this country, there is great evidence supporting universal stereotyping and subsidization of these leading to the widespread prevalence of fear of success and relevant personality problems. It is clear that the perceptions and wide spread beliefs about these people has intensely affected their ability to perceive themselves clearly or as beneficial members of society that can be judged at an equal standard.
Further, the unequal systems of evaluation placed on African Americans may not be completely based in the past. With fierce competition in the job marketplace as well as in other aspects of life, there is definitely an uneven ground that defines environments for success. The distorted perceptions about advancement that African Americans perceive may be related to factual evidence, but promulgates into a debilitating condition that impairs the success of these people as a cumulative race.
Just as many individuals claim they feel trapped in a position, or that advancement may be difficult in their position, the idea behind a jello-floor are reality for many individuals. Thus being paired in competition for a job or other success indicator with someone who the African American does not feel is burdened by such realities will lead to further self sabotage from the success fearing dormant personality.
Overall, it is clear that individuals who engage in tasks or goals that are much lower than their capacity, is because of underlying success fears. This is stimulated and nurtured by toxic environments or evaluations of how others fair, and feed into the dormant aspects of judgment and self-comparison that is never resolved.
There are a variety of strategies that can begin to address the issues at play in undermining African American success in the workplace and in other professional avenues. For one, the invisible ceiling must be lifted in order to facilitate better growth and development amongst African Americans. This can be done in greater ways by appropriating diversity throughout leadership in corporations and government.
Further, better efforts can be taken to ensure the social and mental health of future generation of African Americans. Despite the negative perceptions and stereotypes portrayed through the media in poor taste, African Americans must begin to identify with the positive aspects or role models that demonstrate betterment for the race on a whole. This will reduce success of fear at an early age, and stimulate stronger personalities that are better suited for the competition present in the job market and workplace today.
Finally, it will be most beneficial to educate African American and youth of other minorities that may face the conditions of fear of success and related personalities throughout their life on how to cope with their feelings and self-perceptions. Because there is a void in education on these topics, it is critical to help individuals identify what is going on ahead of time. This will allow young people to discern the causes for their feelings and potentially limit the negative consequences of these ideas later in life.
The findings from this study support the literature, in that underlying psychological discernment contributes to the self-inflicted barriers to success experienced by many African Americans today.
There is great potential for social change that can benefit people involved with forward thinking and non-discriminatory practices. Not only will individual African Americans feel equal to others in judgment and competition on a skill and basic level, but there will be further implications for the African American race on a whole.
While it will definitely require a great deal of investment of capital into the media, as well as corresponding beliefs amongst multinational companies based in the United States, such efforts would eradicate the ‘jello-floor’ and assist future generations of African Americans succeed in furthering success throughout their lives. It will also ideally contribute to a diminishing amount of success fear in the population.
Other implications that could arise from this could be extending the success and overall racial advancement of African Americans. Since many comedians and media portrayals of this group identify poverty thinking or characteristics of people who may be unfamiliar with success, a stereotype that their potential is limited continues to be propagated. Changing this may lead to greater advancements within society, science, and all fields where African Americans may feel more comfortable to try their best and exceed their potential rather than setting themselves up for failure before even trying.
Ideally these implications would be visible in family units, cultural groups and schools at an early age. It could result in changes as soon as one or two generations into the future based on the intensity with which these aspects are nurtured in the media and other influential sources of information that can be trusted by the people of the United States in general.
There are a variety of causes that have been demonstrated to contribute to the measured success of African Americans as a community and race in the United States. Some of the most implicating evidence identifies success fear and related psychological patterns to greatly contribute to this. Paired with a great deal of circumstantial and prevalent evidence from society that judgment is skewed based on race, African Americans suffer with their beliefs being confirmed by elements in reality.
The strongest takeaway from this is the understanding that African Americans suffer from mental residues that exist at the unconscious level on many dimensions. While there is hope for the future in overcoming success fears through education and proper identification in youth, theses problems nonetheless plague generations of African Americans who live in the United States today.
Since the prevalence of African Americans in positions of authority and leadership has increased over the past century, these trends are bound to continue. However, because of the few stereotypes propagated unilaterally, African Americans may perceive their role in society as disjointed or unequal to those of others. While the history of America contributes to this on some levels, elected officials like Barak Obama and other prominent leaders are responsible for changing this belief.
Consistent with research studies identifying fear of success and the self-sabotaging beliefs that instigate this condition, it is necessary to assist African Americans in developing their unconscious mind through effective implementation of strategies both directly to this population, as well as in general reference to their perception in the US.