The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fear Make You Stupid?

The Seven Faces of F.E.A.R.: Part Six--Intellect

The sixth arena of fear encompasses the world of the mind. Intellect. Logic. Reality maps. Epistomology and Cosmology. How does fear influence us here?

Well...stress can decrease functional intelligence. It makes us nervous about leaving “the herd,” striking out to explore new territory. Human beings are communal creatures, and if you are afraid to lose your “group” you may submerge your true opinions just to “get along” in the same way that “politics makes strange bedfellows”--in order to create a movement, the leaders search for what everyone can agree upon, and manage to ignore areas of disagreement.

Fear of criticism stops people from pursuing business ideas. Fear of being ostracized stops people from disagreeing with plans popular to the masses. Think that we might have used such a person during the lead-up to the Iraq war? Think that both sides, both Republicans and Democrats, Left and Right, found themselves swept up in a rush to judgement which lead to a misinterpretation of intelligence data?

It’s possible that a little more independent thinking, a little less herd behavior, might have saved America a trillion dollars. And Iraq tens of thousands of lives. Where have you been afraid to speak your truth, promote your ideas, write that original work, propose a new theorem, or file a breakthrough patent?

How many times have you had a thought, quashed it, and then a year later watch someone else get rich with that very idea? Creativity flows from a wellspring of confidence, otherwise we would strangle all our ideas in their infancy. Writer’s block is simply lack of confidence in the first draft. Fear makes us doubt that there are answers to our questions. We lose faith in our ability to problem solve, and the world looks like it is staggering toward disaster.

When we fear, we forget that there are resources beyond our knowledge and capacity, that we can reach out to others to create “mastermind” groups to brainstorm our problems. Fear separates us from our genius, our special voice.

But fear hides in the darkness. Admit that fear is your Achilles heel, and set yourself free!

No comments: