Fighting your fear

Of all the significant impact Frank Herbert’s Dune has had on popular culture the “Litany Against Fear” has, most probably, been most notable. From a neuropsychological perspective “fear is an emotional response induced by a perceived threat, which causes a change in brain and organ function, as well as in behavior.” 

It’s so far-reaching in its neural, psychological, emotional and physical effects that it became one of the key responses that “The Sniper Mind” shows how to overcome. I’ve written about the effects of fear before and I have also shown how it is linked to our sense of trust and the way we go about forming our own identity.

Inevitably, when something has such profound effect upon us it is going to be used to control us by leveraging our response to ‘guide us’ as a social corpus to some kind of visceral response where we will be willing to trade what we are asking for, for fear to go away. It is a predictable perhaps part of human economic behavior where someone exploits known vulnerabilities for specific self-gains.

As you’d expect of something that so deeply affects us there are considerable resources devoted to finding ways to overcome it ranging from inspirational Tim Ferris talks to ways that you can overcome your fears and learn to “embrace the suck” to my own curation of some of the best snippets from “The Sniper Mind”.

Fear’s deep neurobiological connection marks it as a primal response which means that it has fundamental ways of bypassing our higher brain functions and ‘guide’ our responses in quite literally, visceral ways.

The brain is a predictive machine. Its primary function is to enable us to understand “what happens next” in order to increase our odds of survival and in doing so it engages in all sorts of complex behaviors that are not always obvious to us.

The complexities of connecting sharing and becoming inevitably generate their own uncertainties in a world that is inherently uncertain. Fear is then a natural response. But one which, like all of our natural responses, when left unmanaged makes us work against our own best interests.

When that happens fear controls us. Facing our fears is the first step towards taking back control, reducing uncertainty and making the kind of decisions that actually move us towards the future we want to live in and not that dictated by kneejerk actions, ours and those of others.

We can live in a better world. One where many of the problems we’re currently facing are eliminated. But that requires us to behave differently, be different. Be better than we currently are.

I know that you’ve been staring down your fear of facing Sunday without coffee and have overcome the uncertainty engendered by what would happen if you didn’t have donuts, cookies, croissants and chocolate cake to fall back on. So, have an awesome Sunday, wherever you are.