"Fear is stupid." - Marilyn Monroe
FDR characterized the nature of fear eloquently with “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Marilyn Monroe put it bluntly with “fear is stupid.” Evolutionary benefits aside, like making us run so we didn't get eaten by lions years ago, fear can be pretty stupid and here are five simple reasons why.
Reason #1: Fear doesn't exist…right now. Think about it, if someone is pointing a gun at you, you aren't afraid of someone pointing a gun at you, you are afraid of being shot. If you’re shot, you’re not afraid of being shot, but that you’ll bleed to death. A little dramatic, but you get the picture. We seldom experience fear with whatever is happening in the living moment. Fear is a projection of what might occur. So if you generally stay rooted in the moment versus thinking about the future, many fears will magically subside.
Reason #2: Fear may actually create the exact outcome you fear. Sounds crazy but it’s true. Think about the mom who constantly fears that her kid will get sick so she lathers him up with hand sanitizer gel. Guess what, the kid doesn't build up an immune system and what happens, he gets sick. Fears do a really good job of actually manifesting the precise outcome that we fear. Crazy uh?
Reason #3: 99.9% of fears never happen. Think of all the hypothetical fear-driven scenarios that you let take over your mind. How many of them ever come true? Right, hardly any of them. Remind yourself of this the next time one pops in your head.
Reason #4: Fears can turn healthy preparation into paralyzing paranoia. As noted, fears have served a useful evolutionary function and still do in our daily lives. They can provide healthy constructive pressure in the living moment that compel us to take actions that can have life-furthering benefits. That being said, there is a fine line between when healthy fears can turn into paralyzing, paranoid thoughts that inhibit our ability to adapt and respond creatively to circumstances that confront us.
Reason #5: You are going to die anyways. Just like FDR and Marilyn.