Danger Must Be Known Before Fear Can Be Felt

October 15, 2012 — 17 Comments
Danger Must Be Known Before Fear Can Be Felt | Joseph Lalonde

One of the worst feelings we have is false fear.

We build ourselves into a frenzy of fear by claiming there’s a danger here and there. It’s everywhere to some people.

The fear only takes hold when we place a level of danger to an action.

Man rock climbing

Image By Alex Indingo

Some people fear leaving the house. Having children. Growing old. Being abandoned. Skydiving.

I face some of those fears. And I have others. Like public speaking. It terrifies me.

Why?

Because I’ve associated it with something dangerous. Failing. Stumbling over my words. Looking like a fool.

Yep. To me those are the dangers of public speaking.

But what happens if we took away the sense of danger? The fear begins to subside.

Without danger, the fear has no hold.

Senator Carl Hayden of Arizona, the oldest senator in continuous service in the Senate chamber, emphasized this point in a story he told.

There once was a dude rancher from Brooklyn, NY who returned to his lodge after a day in the mountain, waving a formidable set of rattlers.

“Where did you get those rattlers,” asked an astounded dude wrangler.

“Off’n the biggest woim I ever saw,” was the calm reply.

Now, we all know rattlesnakes can be a dangerous creature. Especially when provoked.

The dude rancher didn’t know the danger when he approached the rattlesnake. He just went, killed the snake, and took the rattles.

Imagine if he would have known what he was facing. I’m certain he would have turned tail and ran.

Instead, he had no sense of danger. He thought it was a big worm. Thus he had no fear.

Is it time you stop applying fear to every situation in your life? Would this cause you to be less fearful? To do a better job?

Let’s see how this could be applied:

  • You fear your boss: Yes, your boss can be scary. He has the power to keep you or fire you. There’s a lot of power he’s wielding.
     
    So you associate him with danger. This causes your job performance to suffer as you spend so much time worrying about what you will do wrong. Your productivity decreases.
     
    Instead, let’s say you stop seeing your boss as dangerous. Your demeanor changes when he’s around. You’re calmer. More relaxed. You’re able to do your job without fear.
     
    What could happen as a result?
  •  

  • You fear your wife will cheat on you: Whoa! Did I just say that? Yep. There’s people out there who fear this.
     
    You place danger with your spouse being away from you. Your mind fills with thoughts of disloyalty. As your thoughts flow in this direction, you begin to pull away from your spouse. Becoming guarded and secretive because you’ve given danger a name.
     
    This isn’t healthy. It creates a poor marriage. Stop claiming infidelity as a danger in your marriage. Focus on what you can do to ensure you’ll create a strong marriage. Listen to your spouse. Support your spouse. Give your spouse your best.
  •  

  • You fear your employees are not giving their best: The danger you’re naming is poor employee performance. With it named, you begin fearing that they’re trying to rip off the company.
     
    This grips you with fear and you begin to rule with an iron fist. Counting the minutes of lunch breaks. Counting the number of pieces they output. Counting the number of bathroom breaks.
     
    All this goes to create an unhealthy work environment. It’s not productive to you or the employees.

Can you see how giving danger a name causes you to feel fear?

By knowing the danger you begin to focus on the negatives. They grow by the minute. Until they’re overwhelming.

Instead of deciding on the dangers of a situation we must begin to focus on the positive outcomes.

As you take this turn you’ll notice a change in your life situations. Your boss begins to like you more, your wife is more affectionate, your employees begin to care about the company.

It’s time we stop naming the dangers in our everyday life. Begin to live looking towards the positives. You’re life will be better for it.

Question: How have you let danger bring fear into your life? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Opt In Image
Like what you just read?

Enter your email address below to receive updates on leadership and to receive a free eBook on leadership

  • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

    Our perception can make or break any situation.  It’s easy to see the negatives, we must actively choose to see the positives, to trust, to give thanks and to look beyond the fears.

    “…for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 12:2b NIV

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Great thoughts TC. How do you actively choose to see the positives?

      • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

        Keeping my eyes, heart and mind open.
        “… quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” James 1:19 NIV

  • http://www.leadingeveryday.com/ Juan Cruz Jr

    Joe,I use to fear what customers would say when I had to be the bearer of bad news. I’ve gotten so much better at it. Confrontation can be scary thing so we try to only bring good news, or please people. But that’s just setting yourself for failure because you really haven’t conquered the fear.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      That’s wonderful Juan! It’s great when we can move forward and through our fears. How has that helped you in your career?

      • http://twitter.com/LeadingEveryday Juan Cruz Jr

        Joe, it’s really helped me to the right expectations with the customer. Also, to be open and honest, present the facts, and let them know what I can or can’t do. I think it has also created credibility for me in my customers eyes. 

  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    My trip to Guatemala this summer had some potential danger that definitely brought an element of fear into my life.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Yeah, that could have been dangerous. Through the experience, did the sense of danger rise or fall? How did it affect your fear?

      • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

        The sense of danger definitely fell as the time progressed.  My fear subsided as the trip went along.  (My fatigue and homesickness went up though.)

  • http://www.brandongilliland.com/ Brandon Gilliland

    Word! Fear can take control of your whole life or it can just be a motivator. You have to choose.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      That’s right Brandon. We all have the choice to choose. We can choose to be the victim or not. I know you’re making the right choice, especially at this crucial point in your life. Keep it up man!

      • http://www.brandongilliland.com/ Brandon Gilliland

        Thanks for the encouragement!

  • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

    I also fear public speaking. I have learned doing it again and again eases the fear a little. When I was a youth leader at the church I attend in Oregon, the youth pastor encouraged me to start preaching, it took some time to gain the courage to start preaching but after several times preaching the fear eased up and it started to become easier.

    So with public speaking the secret, at least for me, was just to do it.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Great advice Dan. As you faced the fear, did you realize that the danger you perceived never happened?

      • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

         Defiantly. Are you moving past your fear and starting to start public speaking? A great place to start could be on a youth night. 

  • Jeff

    I open up or close down in social situations, depending on where I think the relationships are going.  If I don’t see any potential long-term mutual benefit in the relationship, then I tend to perceive it as dishonest to pursue, and I find it difficult to do so.  Do I really plan to be ‘myself’ in this group of people?  If so, then I’ll take steps to move into it.  If not, and I think I’d just be a false masked person, then I’ll make distance.

  • Pingback: The Top 10 Leadership Posts I Read The Week Of October 15th | Brian Dodd On Leadership