Fear of the unknown

Fear. It’s a powerful motivator. It can be good or bad. It can inspire us like a dog does a rabbit (thank you 21p) or it can freeze us like a deer in headlights. It sharpens our senses gives us new strength or leaves us with regret of the action we could have done. How about you?

Think back to when you were a child. You’re tucked away for the night and your room is dark. Maybe you watched something scary on television that night or heard a story that scared you. You start to think about it the uneasiness inside begins to grow. Next you draw your sheets up a little higher to offer more protection. At least you feel better. But it doesn’t last. You notice a shadow in your room. Did it just move? Are you in the room alone. You strain your ears to hear any movement. There! You heard something didn’t you? You move your eyes slowly to look around as much as you can without moving. But you can’t see the whole room so you slow motion move your head to see as much as you can. Your heart is pounding. You can feel your bladder wanting to let go. You see something out of the corner of your eye. Is it coming for you? You are about to cry out when you realize you can either run for it or hide under the covers.

I’ve done both in my life. I have run through the fear all the way into the light but I have also hidden under the covers hoping I was wrong and that nothing bad was going to happen. Ironically, as a child the fear turned out to be the monster and it was all in my head. As an adult, the fear is still in my head but hesitation or running for it can create real impacts. FOMO – fear of missing out is largely in our heads yet it drives markets up and down based on perception. I was excited about an industry and decided it was time to buy as the next bull cycle was around the corner. I bought up and lost 25% within 12 weeks. That was awesome! FOMO kicks in again, cut loses and get out? Wait it out and see the bull return? We do this in all aspects of life. This is one example, but they are endless. That yellow light at the intersection, that conversation you need to have, that person you need to call. The fear builds up and leaves two options. Run though it or hide.

Hiding is deadly. It creates most of our problems in life. We hide from the hard conversation because of the way it makes us feel. We hide from the confrontation we need to have because of the discomfort, and ultimately, we hide from our true selves. If we did this at a young age and developed  it into a pattern we typically build coping mechanisms around it. We don’t like feeling the pain and discomfort of not being our true selves and we numb ourselves with drugs, sex, busyness, doing good, and a host of other things as long as we don’t have to spend time with ourselves feeling our hearts. This technological age has made it even easier. A person can be an addict without everyone knowing it outright. They can be addicted to hiding from life through self-righteous arguments and feel good about their tribe as they lock arms to right a wrong. All the while not righting their own wrongs. History is full of examples of great people with great flaws. How much greater could they have been? How much greater can I be? How much greater can you be?