How Fear Influences our Decisions

Can you think about the last time you were afraid of something? When did your fear set in? Think about it – was it before, at the time or after something happened?

The interesting thing about fear according to Edith Croteau, Speaker and Life Coach, is that fear is not in the present – it is about the future.

Let say you have a fear of falling. A few years ago, I fell down the stairs in my house and broke my wrist in three places. Since that time, every time I approach a set of stairs, I stop at top, take a deep breath and brace myself. I replay that fall and fear sets in yet I push through it.

Edith posed the question – what do you really fear – the fall or the result (what happens after the fall)? Most likely, you fear the result – that you will be hurt if you fall. If you do fall, you’ll be hurting so bad you won’t even be thinking of fear because you are dealing with the results of the fall.

The fear of falling affects how you act or behave around later situations where you may fall. You may never fall yet your fear influences your decisions and choices. Right or wrong.

Consider other places where fear influences decisions and choices in your life. Perhaps you have experienced roadblocks in moving forward on a project, relationship, job change or other significant decision. Consider if your fears had a positive or negative impact making progress or reaching desired outcomes.

How would decision be different if fears were removed from the situation? Would moving forward be easier? Would you be able to reach your goals, feel greater satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment? Would you have more fun and have less stress in your life? Only you can assess the tradeoffs.

  1. This is interesting on a number of levels. Yes, fear is future oriented. If people would learn to live in the moment, they would have less stress and less fear. Fear is nothing but worry. Worry can be best described as thinking about a future event and predicting a bad outcome. It is a choice we are faced with repeatedly. I spend a major portion of my speaking career talking to audiences about how fear affects performance, productivity and personal satisfaction, I am extremely educated about fear, why we have it and how it impacts us. Yet try and get me near the edge of a precipice and you will fail. For reasons I am yet able to adequately explain to myself, I feel that I will fall off that edge. Oh, well. I can’t be perfect. 🙂