You are not afraid of the dark. You are afraid of what is in it.
You are not afraid of heights. You are afraid of falling.
You are not afraid of trying. You are afraid of failing.
You are not afraid of being in love. You are afraid of not being loved back.
The natural response to fear is fleeing from it. It is an instinct designed to preserve our life. But fear – like all emotions – is an irrational thing. Sometimes we fear something not for what it is, but what it could turn out to be. Therefore, the greatest fear is the fear of possibilities. Because we are scared of a certain possibility, we avoid the precipitant to prevent the possibility from happening.
But the possibility you are afraid of is merely one of many branches on the tree of possibilities. You might find the dark room holds a surprise party for you. You might find the height will not lead to a fall to your death, but show you the greatest scenery you have ever seen. You might find that the person you were too afraid of asking out may have been in love with you all along.
By not opening the proverbial box, you extinguish all of these wonderful possibilities. No matter how scary it may be, give the future a chance and take a shot.
Do not let fear steal your funk.
One still autumn night, a student woke up in tears. A teacher who found this peculiar asked the student:
“Did you dream a scary dream?”
“Did you dream a sad dream?”
“No sir. I dreamed a sweet dream.”
“Then why are you crying so?”
As she wiped away her tears, the student said:
“Because that dream will never come true.”
(from Bittersweet Life)
The following is the world’s shortest horror story.
The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door.
The ten things people are most afraid of are as following (according to a study of 1000 people in France in 1990):
- Nauseatingly high places
- Enclosed spaces
Ants do not feel fear. The reason is simple. An ant does not know the meaning of death or its own frailty. It may worry about the survival of its city and the entire society, but even then they do not fear their own death.
To understand why they are never afraid, one must first consider that an anthill acts as a single organism. Each ant acts like a cell in the human body.
When we clip our nails, are our fingertips afraid? When we shave, is the hair scared as the razor approaches it? When you dip your feet in the bath to check the temperature, does the toe shudder in fear? Because they do not act as an autonomous unit, they do not feel fear.
Similarly, when we pinch our right hand with the left hand, the right hand does not feel contempt towards the left hand. If the left hand has more rings, the right hand does not envy it. If you forget self and think of the community like an organism, all your worries disappear. Perhaps this is how ants run such a successful, efficient society.
(from The Encyclopaedia of Relative and Absolute Knowledge by Bernard Werber)