What scares us?
It’s interesting to watch some of the cable shows about ghost hunters, big-foot hunters and other things that go bump in the night. We all have fears of different kinds but what is interesting to note is that we are only born with two fears. Do you know what those are? Take a moment to think about it, what two fears would we be born with that would help us survive? The two fears are the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. Every other fear we have is a learned fear. Amazing isn’t it? However our brain will respond to our learned fears exactly the same way it will respond to the fears we are born with as a species.
Think of the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. One occupation that comes to mind where they have to deal with this combination of fears on a daily basis is a dental practice. What is one of the first things that is done to you as you sit in a dental chair? You are lowered backwards in the chair, fear of falling. One of the other things if you’re having work done on your teeth is that a noisy instrument is placed inside your mouth about as close to your eardrum as you can get, the fear of loud noises. Dental practices struggle with patient retention and sometimes just the factor of dealing with the two born fears have can a major impact.
Most of our learned fears come from other people and what scares them. We learn from watching them behave when they encounter a spider, snake or even a difficult discussion. Talk around a campfire with a group of people about ghost stories and people will scare themselves silly. You never see a couple of homicide detectives standing looking at a corpse and proclaiming, “It looks like another ghost murder.” Do you know of anyone who has ever been killed by a ghost? Me either.
There is a part of our brain called the amygdala that deals with our fears, whether they are the 2 born fears or the learned fears we have. We are going to explore how the amygdala responds to these threats, whether real or perceptive in the next several blogs. We’ll also put it into perspective on how exceptional leaders deal with conquering fears.
Thanks for coming along.