fear as motivation

Fear is a powerful motivator. Fear of poverty, fear of loss, fear of pain, fear of failure. Strange as it may seem, some folks even fear success (Primarily for the new challenges, tasks, and changes it brings plus the opportunity to fail/fall from an even greater height).

While positive things (happiness, pleasure, success) certainly do motivate as well, study after scientific study shows that “Loss Aversion” trumps positive motivators time after time. Perhaps because to our primitive forefathers being hunted by beast on the plains of Africa and stalked by famine and drought, staying alive was more important than anything else.

Whatever the reason, my goal as a modern man is to use whatever tool I can to make the most of myself, protect and nourish my loved ones, help others and leave the world a better place. So if fear can serve to motivate me to a better place, I’ll use it in moderate doses. Indeed, complacency is the biggest enemy of champions. It takes a different, more evolved skill set to STAY on top of the mountain once you’ve climbed to the peak. 

A moderate amount of fear (too much stress = deer in the headlights; too little stress = low energy/motivation) can serve to keep you on your toes. Indeed, one of the most dangerous moments in a racquetball game is when I’ve got a big lead, just a few points to go and I mentally award myself the game without getting buy in from my opponent. I relax, lose my fear of losing, and I become vulnerable to a loss of momentum.

Over-confidence is a fool’s way to lose. Stay alert, stay constructively scared. 


As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier