Wisdom//

Do You Have a Fear of Fear?

An octogenarian shares wisdom on how to do what scares you.

Courtesy of Slava Stupachenko / Unsplash
Courtesy of Slava Stupachenko / Unsplash

The Fear Factor. We want to do something, but we just can’t get to do it. Our palms perspire. We might even twitch a little. Somewhere buried in our system, there’s a voice telling us to go for it. We rationalize. More often than not fear wins. We sit on our hands and do nothing.

Here I am at 85, looking back at how I stuck my neck out, doing things maybe I shouldn’t have done. Some things worked and some things didn’t. But I didn’t say “What if”? very often. That’s the way I’ve lived my life. I can’t say that I haven’t fallen prey to the Fear Factor, but I tried to understand it.

What has guided me in my decision-making has been questions. I’ve worked hard on developing the right questions. As you know, you’re not going to get the right answers, without the right questions. I’ve spent over 40 years in the advertising field, and fear has played an important part of guiding my thinking in establishing motivations for someone to buy or not to buy a client’s product or service,

With that background, I’ve thought of a series of questions that you might find helpful when making an important decision.

Are you a scaredy cat?

Do you think you are your own worst enemy?

How do you use fear in making decisions?

Do you generally think of fear as being positive or negative?

Do you equate “playing it safe” with fear?

Do you think success plays funny tricks on us?

Is it true that the more we have to lose, the more fearful we are?

Do you ever wonder how fearful Branch Rickey was when he signed Jackie Robinson to a major league contract?

Or how fearful Jackie Robinson was?

What do you imagine the Fear Factor was when Neil Armstrong got into the spaceship heading to the moon?

What were Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs thinking when they introduced the Apple computer?

What role does religion play in fear?

Does fear affect your communication with people?

Does fear make you less tolerant?

What are you most fearful about?

Do you express your concerns about fear with loved ones?

What is the most important thing you didn’t do because of fear?

Do you wake up fearful?

Are you fearful about what people say about you?

What fears do you live with on a daily basis?

What fears have you overcome?

Does being fearful dominate your life?

How would you describe to someone your approach to dealing with fear?

I grew up in a household where education was important.  My parents were well educated. In spite of their education, both my mother and father were fearful of expressing their feelings. They were fearful of offending others.

While that was a monkey on my back, I’ve worked hard to overcome that problem. That fearful bug no longer bites me.

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