The Philosophy of Fear

"In general remember that it is we who torment, we who make difficulties for ourselves—that is, our opinions do." -Epictetus

If you’ve been exposed to any semblance of motivational jargon, you’ve heard the following adage more than once: be fearless. Don’t let fear rule you! Fear is the enemy! The irony of preaching fearlessness as the answer is that achieving this clichéd state isn’t what induces action. Fear itself does that. It could be argued that without fear, we wouldn’t actually do anything. Some of our greatest accomplishments come after moments in which we were filled to the brim with fear—that project launch, that presentation, that pressing question that changed everything. It’s the very harnessing of this fear that leads us to astounding ourselves. With that in mind, it may be safe to conclude that “fearlessness" isn’t what we need; a set of right fears is.

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