Fear as a compass

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A couple of weeks ago I came across an old CodingHorror post and a certain sentence became a sort of revelation for me.

“I won’t lie to you. It’s scary to trade the security of a safe, salaried job for the unknowns of your own small business. But the way I look at it, if it’s not a little scary, then it’s not the right choice. Failure is always an option.”

Jeff describes how different choices in life usually lead us down to different paths and outcomes - a well known fact, right? While he expands on his thoughts on the subject though, he comes across one evolutionary guardian emotion of ours; fear.

Everone feels or felt fear at some point in their life.

"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 danger is very real but fear is a choice."

It’s a trait that we must have spend millions of lifes to earn and it manifests in different forms. It comes in various shapes and intensities but this blog post - I guess - focuses on the fear of the unknown, uncertainty, unpredicability and survival.

Analyzing fear

Fear is a compass. It can point you in the right, or wrong direction so all you have to do is be able to interpret the readings and choose a course of action.

In modern society, fear is rarely helpful, unless you are living in the middle of the jungle or you wonder through the night in bad neighborhoods. In some cases, fear is an indication of a “gambling attempt”. There is something to gain and - occasionally - something to lose. It may also mean that you lack information, preparation or control for what you are about to do. So for me, fear is an interesting tool; it tells me where improvements may be made by certain choices and where gaps that require more thinking lie.

Fear is one of the most common emotions and yet you rarely hear people talk about it. I think that society raises us to think that expressing or communicating fear is a sign of weakness; it’s almost a taboo. I find the fact that noone gives you guidance on how to deal with these emotions even more perplexing so in the next blog post I’ll share some information on how I learned to deal with it.

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