Using fear

We’ll be in a better position when we'll be able to approach potential dangers with a calm mind, very vigilant to our internal signals but not anticipating every possible bad thing that could happen.

We don’t need to live in fear to stay safe. A better approach is to be aware of the risks we face, accept that some are unknown or unpredictable, and do all we can to be prepared for any serious or imminent dangers.

@george_ii20

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Seneca
“We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.”
Being afraid won't keep us safe

We misunderstand the value of fear when we think that being constantly hypervigilant will keep us safe.

Being afraid all the time doesn’t keep danger away from us. Instead, we need to learn to recognize key signals that could predict risk, in order to actually feel calmer and safer.

When we walk around terrified all the time, we can’t pick out the signal from the noise.

If you’re constantly scared, you can’t correctly notice when there is something genuine to fear
. True fear is a momentary signal, not an ongoing state.

Anxiety (as opposed to fear) is always caused by uncertainty - the uncertainty of ultimately, by the forecasts we make, but in which we have little to no confidence.

Forecasts with high confidence free you to respond, adjust, feel sadness, accept, prepare, or to do whatever is needed. Accordingly, anxiety is reduced by improving your prediction capacity, thus increasing your certainty.

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RELATED IDEAS

Observation is about seeing the world around you, having situational awareness, and interpreting what others communicate verbally and nonverbally.

Good observation skills allow us to test and validate what others intend for us. Are they kind, unselfish, empathetic? Or selfish, cruel, indifferent, and apathetic? If we discover it early enough, we can spare ourselves.

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IDEAS

The key to facing your fears is to take one small step at a time. Going too fast or doing something too scary before you are ready can backfire.

Keep moving forward. A moderate amount of anxiety is good. Don’t wait to take a step forward until your anxiety disappears.

If you can’t actually do the thing that scares you to practice, you might use imagined exposure. 

  • When automobile safety laws were introduced, the drivers started taking more risks while driving, leading to more pedestrian accidents.
  • Children (and even adults) take more physical risks while playing a sport with protective gear.
  • Safety features like Anti-lock brakes in vehicles ended up increasing the accidents for taxi drivers in Germany
  • Child-proof caps on medicine bottles made parents careless about their being opened by kids, including the ones which don’t have the safety feature.

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