Fear: The Great Motivator | Teen Ink

Fear: The Great Motivator

September 8, 2019
By stratkay001 BRONZE, Highland, Utah
stratkay001 BRONZE, Highland, Utah
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

There is a little creature inside my chest.  When it gets riled up I feel uncomfortably warm, my breathing quickens, my legs feel shaky and I can hardly think.  The little creature is an unfortunately common companion, going by the name of fear.  

Fear is one of the largest, if not the largest motivators in our lives.  So much of what we do every day, or maybe just what I do, is based on various fears.  Everyone deals with fear, on some scale, even a trifle of uneasiness, on a daily basis. There are small things we do to accommodate our fears and alleviate some of the discomfort that arises from them.

 Personally, my small apprehensions come when I touch wood, walk near bees, or step on the salt on the ground. Some of these are rooted in past experiences, like two hands full of splinters and multiple wasp stings, and others have no reason to exist, yet they do. Because of this I speed walk past the buzzing bushes in springs, do my best to avoid unfinished wood and step very carefully during winter. If these fairly insignificant fears, that barely classify as such, dictate my actions, the impact of deeper fears in my life must be monumental.

Beyond those meager qualms lie the greater fears, ones that play a much more vital role in our actions. While fears range far and wide, the one we secretly share is fear of society. What those around us think when we act a certain way, whether or not people will like us, how a mistake we made will affect a friendship. Fears like the fear of becoming a pariah, fear of what others think of us (or of us looking silly), fear of failure or falling short of expectations. Fear dictates so many of our choices, we often don’t recognize it.  Why did we join in laughter to the joke that we didn’t understand? Our fear that we would look like we don’t belong. Why do we feel so much pressure to take the hardest classes and that receiving the fatal B is the end of the world? We do what is socially acceptable because to be pushed out of our society would be terrifying. 

But is fear really that bad of a motivator? Fear keeps order like nothing else can. History is full of leaders who have gone too far with ruling by fear, but on a smaller scale fear maintains order. While laws are what make up order, fear is the enforcer. The stigmas attached to being an ex-convict, teenage mother, or a drug dealer precede the actual person and having those stigmas will often bar a person out of certain societies and once we are cast out, it becomes extremely difficult to find our way back into good graces. The rules are followed because of fear of the immediate consequences as well as the long-term stigmas.

Fear carries a very negative connotation and it can often hold us back from opportunities that are good and would help us grow, but it is not without its merits. In excess, fear ends up causing chaos, but in moderation, fear provides motivation and order in society.

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