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Old 11-10-2010, 12:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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How much does fear control your life?

Pretty simple question I guess. Are you the type of person that always weighs every consequence of every action or just dives into life head first damn the consequences and dangers, perhaps you lie somewhere in the middle like me? I've found in my own social circles the responses tend to be all over the place ranging from all out recklessness without any logical purpose to allowing fear dictate nearly any and all actions to very specific fears that limit only certain aspects of living to being very reckless in some ways and timid in others.

So fellow TFPers I thought I might come across some pretty good responses here and submit the question to you. How much of a role does it play in your own life? If it does, in what way and how? Do you feel you're own quality of life has suffered as a consequence or do you feel you've struck a pretty healthy balance between weighing dangers and living your life the way you want to? Maybe you have a specific phobia that prevents you from doing something you really want to do? Does that bother you or is it just not worth facing the phobia?

Will Wes stop asking so many questions and let me write my damn response?

Looking forward to reading folks and I'll weigh in myself a little later when I feel like I can better articulate my own feelings on the subject.
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Whenever I feel fear start to weigh me down I turn to drugs and alcohol. So far so good.
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:47 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I like your posts, Wes. I wanna party with you. And hang out in alleys with you.

...

I get paid to do dangerous/stupid things that reasonable people try best to avoid.

Could say I do it for the money or because I'm not smart enough for another job. Lies.

Kinda get off on it. I usually have these delayed reaction jitters. Might need therapy.

I find it is best to use fear to motivate you. You can be scared, but just keep going.

Hated jumping out of planes. Hated walking down the aisle to be married. Did it anyway.

Fear should be a rational response to danger. Being afraid of clowns? I dunno.

I'm more afraid of failures in my personal life than I am of getting hurt or dying.

I think you're being a little broad with the definition of fear in this particular discussion.
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:47 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I can be very impulsive and I can be very contemplative. I don't think fear plays a role in either case, though-there are simply some things I prefer to weigh more carefully (such as choosing between new computers), and some things that are totally on-the-fly (such as biking over the side of a cliff). I tend to take things on a case-by-case basis, and sort whatever becomes of it one way or the other.

I don't like living with regret, so if I feel a quick decision is merited, I'll choose quickly, and if I feel I need to learn more about something, I'll give it more thought.
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Old 11-10-2010, 01:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks P9er but I don't think anyone should have to witness the things I've seen in alleys 'round these parts lately, you are however welcome for a drink anytime. I see what you mean about the broad definition of fear but honestly I have absolutely no idea to word it better, maybe how much does weighing dangers and consequences control your life? I don't know you bring up people being afraid of clowns and being afraid of failure but in both instances wouldn't that be a fear that could potentially effect your life in one way or another? Anyway I liked your post, it got me thinking a little deeper about the topic.

LOL Zereph

Furious your take sounds a bit like mine. Weigh the dangers/consequences involved but ultimately try to live your life the way you want and maybe not let irrational fears or simply fear of the unknown hold you back?
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Old 11-10-2010, 01:49 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Yeah, more or less. Though there are occasions where I don't even weigh the consequences at all-"This needs a decision now so I'm going with what I see as my current best option."
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Old 11-10-2010, 02:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I guess I'd have to say I fear myself more than anything. It's kind of my only fear too. The closest thing to that is an apprehension of hurting others. Not really a fear, but close, I feel sick if I hurt someone. Even when they desperately deserve it. Now, before rocks and bullshit flags start flying, let me say, this isn't a statement of Ego. Like 'I'm so bad my shadow runs from me'. No, this is a statement based on 40 years of doing some really stupid shit.

Sure I evaluate and weigh a situation before leaping. It's just more of a risk vs. reward analysis. Than an afraid vs. I can do it, analysis.

e.g.: I'm on this side of the ravine and I want to be on that side of the ravine. I'm on a dirt bike.
Assessment: If I have the speed and I hit the lip right, I can make it, no problem.
Risk: If I miscalculate, I could plant the front tire on the opposite lip and do a low level Superman, collecting 20yds of rock, cactus and lizards with my face. Or worse.
Reward: If I make it, I'll be on the other side and that would be pretty cool.
Decision: Fuck it or go for it. Depends on the how badly I want to be on the other side.

That, by the way, isn't a random example. I did decide to go for it and I did do a spectacular low level Superman collecting all of the above and a slow moving beetle of two. Cracked my helmet, caved the front forks and bent the front rim. I then, after picking the larger rocks and cactus out of my face, had to climb down the 15' deep wash and ride 10 miles with bent forks and a flat tire over basket ball size rocks. Before finding a wall low enough to ride up and out of the wash. Then 5 miles back to camp. Yep, I scare me. I did it again the next day and made it. The other side is cool.

That's kind of how I approach everything. I don't always go for it, sometimes I'd rather just cruise along and enjoy the day. Not out of fear, just because it's good enough the way it is.

When I hesitate it's because I know there's a real good chance I could really mess myself up. So I'm weighing the odds of pulling it off in my head and considering how it's going to affect the rest of my day and those around me. If I'm with some of my crazier friends and there's a medic handy, the scales tilt to one side. If I'm with mellower people or I'm looking at crawling 3 miles over hot sand and cactus to patch myself up or find someone else too. The scale tips to the other side a bit. Fear doesn't play into it. It's just weighing the risk and the reward.

Knowing that I'm like this and always have been. There are some things I will not do. One, is jump out of an airplane. Not because I'm afraid of the fall, but because I think I might like it too much and forget to pull the cord while I'm falling and screaming weee weee weeeeeeeeee, know what I mean?!

It's more the lack of fear that's affected my life. Recovery time cuts into living time. It's also cost me a few friends. Their ego's couldn't take watching me do what they wouldn't do, or they were convinced I was going to end up killing myself and they didn't want to be around to see it. Oh well, shit happens.

This still reads a bit egotistical, it's really not. I'm very relaxed about life and living. I'm not a daredevil, running around, looking for ways to hurt myself. I'm not an adrenaline junky looking for the next fix. I just don't see any reason not to do, what I want to do. That's life, isn't it?! Living.

This is a physical example, but is analogous to how I live in all aspects. I keep emotions tighter to the vest, but the rest is kind of a free-for-all for living. e.g. I lost one very good friend because I wasn't afraid to talk to any woman in the bar. He was afraid to approach most of them, but he was also afraid one of their boyfriends was gonna kill me. Shit happens.
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Last edited by RogueGypsy; 11-10-2010 at 02:26 AM..
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Old 11-10-2010, 02:18 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Rogue, you explained it a lot better than I did. I, too have done some pretty fuckin' stupid things in my life. In my head the justification is usually, "Why not?"

It leaves for some pretty interesting stories, I tell ya' what. And life is a collection of experiences-so why not have a few gems to think back on?
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Old 11-10-2010, 02:22 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Yeah, I'm not riding bikes with Rogue anytime soon. He's gonna make me carry him after I put an e-bandage on his destroyed whatever.
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Old 11-10-2010, 07:18 AM   #10 (permalink)
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An inert particle does not have anything to fear.

I have some major issues with social anxiety. There are a lot of things I fear but I just have to get over, because otherwise life would just be me at home, being a hermit.

However, sometimes when it comes to certain things, I do wonder: what are the consequences if I do nothing?
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Old 11-10-2010, 07:39 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I sometimes get this crazy feeling that a lot of bad things are going to happen. I usually stop myself and rationalize it, though. In class now, but more on this later.
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Old 11-10-2010, 07:42 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Considering consequences isn't fearing, it's logical. Fear doesn't require reason or logic and can lead to impulsive behaviors which may or may not be damaging. Knee jerk reactions are fear based, and quite often more damaging than careful consideration.

That being said, I try not to let fear rule me, but we all have fears. I won't let the fear of being seen as careful lead me into stupidity, though.
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:00 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I want to reply to this, but I am afraid. No joke, I really am. I may have to reply to this in my blog, instead of in General Discussion where the outside world can see it (some of you know my reasons for this).
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:27 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I have social anxiety and I have a great fear of personal failure, which has certainly damaged some areas of my life (school and work related mostly). In other areas (mostly parenting) I find myself outside of the box that my acquaintances deem normal. My husband and I do things people think are crazy; I think they're helicopter parents. I traveled alone to England on a whim and met two ladies from NYC on a guided tour who thought I was crazy. Maybe I was, I didn't feel afraid once. I'm not afraid of terrorists - if it's my time, it's my time. I'm not afraid of chopping all my hair off and what that will do to my femininity. I am afraid of spiders and heights and undercooked meat. I think I'm probably a weirdo.
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:29 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I'm a perfectionist who fears both success and failure. Fear doesn't just control my life, it often paralyzes it.
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:30 AM   #16 (permalink)
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fear completely rules my life. if i wasnt afraid of starving, i wouldnt eat, if i wasnt worried about getting kicked out of the Air Force, i wouldnt put as much effort foreward
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Pretty simple really, do your own thing as long as it does not fuck with anyone's enjoyment of life.
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:41 AM   #17 (permalink)
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This is an interesting discussion, and certainly has me thinking. When I first read it I thought, "oh I'm not afraid of anything". I'm usually the type of person that just goes with the flow, things happen as they should, the path you're on is the right one, nothing to fear... just keep moving forward.

However, after thinking about writing that statement down I realize that can't possibly be true. Right? Everyone has to fear something, right?

For me I think that my biggest fear is probably disappointing people. And I don't understand why. I've been through a lot in my life, rough roads and struggles and had some very down time where I feared even just standing up straight. At this point in my life, my kids are grown, my demons have been beaten down and are now in hiding, and I am squarely in that "go with the flow" head space that I love so much.

Yet... I sit at a job I hate, why? I could quit my job today and move in with Rogue, find something I enjoy that is less stressful and not have to make the commute that I do or put up with the BS I put up with on a daily basis. But I don't, and that has me thinking it must be the fear of disappointing. I took this job, made a pledge to help this company out of their hard times and I've done that. Why am I still here? I work for an elderly man who has been in the construction business for too many years past when he should have retired, and it's miserable here every day. But, I took this job because he needed my help to fix things (I'm an accountant). I could and should move on, but I don't... is it because of fear of disappointing this man who is a bear to work with? In a way yes it is, even though I hate it here I come here every day because the thought of leaving him in the lurch to find another accountant that he trusts is hard for me. Shouldn't I be thinking of myself, yes! Maybe I'm just more driven by what others need from me, and when that person or situation arises that needs me more than this one does my fear of disappointing this situation will be out weighed by another.
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:42 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wes Mantooth View Post
Are you the type of person that always weighs every consequence of every action or just dives into life head first damn the consequences and dangers, perhaps you lie somewhere in the middle like me?
I'm definitely not in the middle, I'm at both extremes depending on the context.
I'm a hard core adrenaline junkie. I'm very comfortable with my ability on both skis or motorcycles. It takes zero effort to talk me into going around corners to fast or ski down something that is stupid steep. How fast ... , will always get a "let's try it" response from me.

Other aspects of my life are absolutely boring and conservative. I've worked the same job for >30 years, I'm way ahead on my mortgage. 2 adult kids and a dog ...
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Old 11-10-2010, 11:04 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baraka_Guru View Post
I'm a perfectionist who fears both success and failure. Fear doesn't just control my life, it often paralyzes it.
I find that I'm often the same way. I'll think things through, then become worried that one choice may lead to a bad consequence, whereas another will lead to a different bad consequence. In the end however, I just choose one option and go with it.
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Old 11-10-2010, 11:47 AM   #20 (permalink)
 
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i'm not a particularly anxious person.
but i tend sometimes to avoid difficult things for a while.
so if i am anxious about something, it will often not be obvious to me either that anything like that is up or that i am avoiding anything.
generally, once i figure it out, i'll try to change the situation.
but it can take a few running starts to get there.
it's the strangest thing.

back in the day when i was broke, this would get me in trouble.
one of the things that made me nervous was being broke.
one of the ways i would avoid it was by acting as though i wasn't.

i still have to force myself to look at by bank balance, and if i don't force myself, i can go for extended periods without checking once.
this despite the fact that my material situation is quite different than it once was.
it's a carryover i think.
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:46 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roachboy View Post
i'm not a particularly anxious person.
but i tend sometimes to avoid difficult things for a while.
so if i am anxious about something, it will often not be obvious to me either that anything like that is up or that i am avoiding anything.
generally, once i figure it out, i'll try to change the situation.
but it can take a few running starts to get there.
it's the strangest thing.

back in the day when i was broke, this would get me in trouble.
one of the things that made me nervous was being broke.
one of the ways i would avoid it was by acting as though i wasn't.

i still have to force myself to look at by bank balance, and if i don't force myself, i can go for extended periods without checking once.
this despite the fact that my material situation is quite different than it once was.
it's a carryover i think.
This is very close to the way I deal with things. In fact, I would do the same exact thing with my bank balance...when I had a bank account. I would only check when I had to make a decision about purchasing something and wasn't sure how much cushion was there. The only thing more terrifying than seeing in cold, black and white numbers how broke I was was the thought of overdrawing my account and making things exponentially worse.

I don't really fear any people, places, events, situations in particular, but I do have to deal with unexplained anxiety from time to time that I then have to backtrack and investigate to discover the source of. It's almost always some sort of personal dissonance that I failed to deal with sufficiently. Once dealt with the feeling dissipates.

That's not to say that I'm impulsive or that I don't take precautions to keep myself and people in my care safe from harm, just that the bad things that could occur rarely cross my mind.

---------- Post added at 03:46 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:33 PM ----------

One very real and forthcoming fear I will have to deal with once I am a nurse is the fear of medication errors - possibly harming, possibly killing someone in my care due to an oversight. On the one hand it's disquieting and on the other I hope I continue to fear it every single time I administer medication to a patient for the length of my career.
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:55 PM   #22 (permalink)
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You just gotta love TFP ask a simple, shallow question and get a flood of well thought, informative responses that take the conversation all over the place and really make you think. Good stuff folks I enjoyed reading it.

I guess like most I'm somewhere in the middle, its odd because I can be incredibly reckless often times putting very little thought into the dangers of what I'm doing and yet other times I'm carefully weighing the consequences of my actions and deciding weather or not I'm up for it. I do try steer clear of worrying about the unknown or letting irrational fears get the best of me when it comes to having fun or trying something new, so I guess within reason I tend to not let fear get in the way of just enjoying life the way I want to.

On the other hand, like others I seem to have a fear of failure, not so much because I have to succeed but rather because I don't want to mess up what I've achieved or have to start over from scratch. The fear or making the wrong decision often leads to me not wanting to take chances in my professional life and always sticking with the safe bet. I've always felt that's held me back, yet as long as I'm successful enough to get by and pay my bills I'm kind of okay with not taking the big chances. I do find it a little strange that I'm fearful of losing my livelihood but not quiet so fearful of losing my life...

Maybe that cancels out my first point or maybe we all have aspects of our lives where fear does paralyze us and others where it isn't much of an issue.
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