I’ve come to the conclusion that fear is the most powerful emotion. I’m probably late to this party, but it hit me recently just how powerful of an emotion it is. The love/hate relationship I carry with fear. From the perspective of a driving force in our world, fear is absolutely the alpha dog of emotions. Stronger than love and anger. Fear precedes virtually everything. If you’re wanting to say hi to the cute person across the room, it is fear that prevents you. You want to write that book? I’d bet it is fear of failure that keeps it an idea stuck in your noggin.
My wife and I have very different views on fear. She avoids it at all costs. I seem to embrace it. For example, the kids and I are notorious for hiding around the house and scaring the pants off each other. This typically ends in some sort of bodily release, usually a high pitched scream, and a load of giggles once the victim recovers their breath. While the kids and I are at this game regularly, it is well known not to include Mommy.
I was cleaning my drawers from one particularly well timed scare effort affected upon me by my eldest child when I got to thinking about what it is about fear that I love (and hate) so much. Why do scary shows like “The Walking Dead” and movies like “The Thing” resonate so well with me and, well, a good chunk of the world? I think it is because being afraid of something, yet surviving the trauma of said fear goes straight to the core of survival instinct. I am sure there has to be some psychological research out there that shows what neuro-chemicals are released upon a bowel moving scare event.
I see fear all the time in Design. You see one person, or one company overcome the fear of creating something new and previously considered a dumb idea, and you suddenly have a torrent of copy cats creating Me Too products. Companies are afraid to invest in innovation because of fear of failure. You hear it all the time coming from the mouths of engineers. The first reaction to anything new tends to be “no”. “It can’t be done”. “I’ve never seen that done like that before”. There’s always a laundry list of reasons why you can’t do something and the root of them all those reasons, upon personal reflection, seems to be fear.
It has been roughly 6 weeks since my last post. I kinda blasted my goal of one post per week out of the water with this latest arm wrestle with fear. I’ve left the company I help start and have started two new endeavors. I’ve been wrestling with the fear of this leap back into the realm of starting something new. I’ve been completely invigorated by it. I’m jazzed so much that it has nearly paralyzed me from doing some of the things that has kept me sane in the past little while. Fear is a weird mixologist. It has its hands on the controls of my life right now, and it is making some weird decisions.
While I’m excited by the future my new companies hold for me, it is making me put off exercise. I’ve put those 5 Lbs back on that I worked hard to get off a while back and now I’m afraid to start again because it’s going to hurt. I’ve stopped blogging because of fear that I don’t know what to write about. This emotional head-trash backs up into a spiral of emotions that can be overcome. But the source of them all….fear.
Fear is a great tool if you can leverage it to your advantage. As long as you don’t use fear as a tool for evil, you can do some amazing things with fear. I’m hoping that this recent stare down with fear is going to help me understand my relationship with it better.
How has fear ruled your world?