Fear — The Good and the Bad

Halloween is the time of year when we love to be scared. Fear can be good for us, especially if it’s in a controlled context, but it can also be limiting. Sometimes, we’re simply too afraid to take the action we need to.

The Positive Side of Fear

We need our fear. Without it, there would be nothing to make us avoid dangerous situations, and we probably wouldn’t live very long. Fear is a vital survival instinct that’s evolved in all species — at least, all that are still here to tell the tale.

So why do we so consistently insist on scaring ourselves? The horror and ghost stories we’ve told one another, especially on dark nights, have been a constant of human nature from huddling round the fire in a mud hut to watching a horror film late at night.

One explanation is that we’re practicing being scared in a safe context. Especially if we’re experiencing the fear in company, the reassurance when the light comes on again and the danger’s gone creates a cathartic effect.

The Negative Side of Fear

The problem is that fear can also stifle us and prevent us from taking the steps we need to grow and progress in our lives. This is at its worst if we’re unaware of where the fear comes from, or even that it’s there at all. Instead of acknowledging that we’re afraid, we come up with a thousand and one rationalisations for not acting.

This is where the natural and healthy fear we’ve developed and practiced for our survival turns against us, and the greatest fear becomes the fear of change. After all, what we know works. Perhaps it doesn’t work very well, but what if the change makes it even worse?

Fear in Business

Both the good and bad of fear apply to business. As business owners, we can’t just do whatever seems fun with the business on the spur of the moment without thought for the consequences. A healthy fear protects us from crashing the business and maybe ending up in court.

On the other hand, a business owner who’s too scared of change to explore options can be just as bad. What worked yesterday won’t always work tomorrow, and refusing to contemplate change can destroy a business.

The answer, of course, is to explore your position rationally — to acknowledge the healthy fear and understand how to overcome the debilitating fear. That requires a carefully thought-out strategy, which is where the Resource Centre may be able to help you.

And, meanwhile, have fun scaring yourself safely at Halloween.



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