Don't Fear The Creeper.

Today I want to talk about the irony in fear.

For starters, what is fear? And why does it exist? Fear is, to my knowledge and in a strictly scientific sense, a defense mechanism created to protect us. From the very first man who walked the Earth, we were instilled with a sense of fear to help aid us in a "fight or flight" response. We NEEDED fear in order to quickly analyze potentially dangerous situations and asses if we ought to stand up to them or run from them. Fear also instills in the human body a rush of adrenaline so that if we DO choose to fight the good fight, we have that extra boost of energy to complete the task. People need fear to survive. Fear is a very, very good thing.

As people evolved and day-to-day situations became safer and safer, our need for fear has (in my opinion) decreased. We aren't out in the wilderness, fighting for our lives against wild animals and natural elements. We're in safe, warm homes. We are protected and well fed. And the need for us to use fear to our advantage has leveled at a minimum necessity. But we still have this natural gift in us, and because it's in our nature, we have to use it somehow. So I think we transfer it. We aren't using it for survival anymore, but for what we think will have the least potential risk. What will be the path of least resistance? And we choose that path. And rather than look at the more difficult path as an exciting challenge, we fear it. We feel that it's a threat to our comfortable and "safe" little lives.

But the irony in fear is that it has become an overly wasted emotion. For example: a good friend of mine was talking about being nervous to embark on a particular class at school. She was intimidated by how intensive it would be and she was getting nervous because she feared she would fail it. I asked her one simple question: How many things that you try do you ever fail at? Not just not be the best at, but actually FAIL? Her response was, "Well.... none that I can think of, actually." We will always have things in our lives that we aren't the absolute best at- but rarely do we set ourselves out on a path that we completely fail at. Not if it's something we really try hard to succeed in doing.

And it's funny because I'm afraid of failure ALL THE TIME. I'd venture to say that my fear of failure is one of my biggest setbacks in life. It prevents me from trying a number of things that I'd really like to do, but am afraid of doing. And why?? I think it's important to think, during these situations, what is the worst case scenario? I am going back to school for my Bachelors Degree in Journalism. I've always wanted to write, but I think I was afraid of doing it. I guess on some level I worried that I wouldn't be good enough, or that I WOULD be good enough in my classes but upon graduating I wouldn't be able to get a job. But what is the worst that could happen? I get my degree and can't find a job in my field. And so I get a different job but one day, I apply for a new job and realize that my degree pushes me towards the top of the list of applicants. Or maybe I never use my degree, but I gain more knowledge. In none of those scenarios am I any worse off than I am now. So why the fear? Why the irrationality? I'd be willing to bet that 9 out of 10 times in my life, the leaps I've been terrified to make but made anyways have ended up being the best things that have ever happened to me.

I suggest we all stop being so scared of failure. And stop fearing life going a different way than we planned. Rarely does life go as we plan it, but it's also pretty rare that the things we fear are the things we actually SHOULD fear. It's almost always some unforeseen event in our lives that becomes the "bad thing" in it. Living in fear of the unknown is a waste. Just don't do it.

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