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8 reasons why fear is good for you

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This is the first part of a three part series on fear.

Throughout your life people have probably told you not to be afraid of anything. Fear is associated with weakness. It is for cowards.

You could find hundreds of self improvement blogs or self help gurus that tell you fear is a bad thing. That it stops people from living their passions, so you must pursue your dreams without fear. I could go on and on about all the reasons why people say fear is something to be avoided, but that is not the point of this article.

I am here to tell you that everyone who has ever told you not to be afraid of anything is mistaken.

Here are 8 reasons why fear is a good thing and you should keep moving toward fear, not away from it. Embrace fear, know how to use it and it will be your best friend:

1 – Fear keeps you alive At the most basic level, fear is a survival instinct. It is a necessary response to threats and dangers. It has protected us as a species from extinction. Without fear, we wouldn’t have known to run away from that sabre-tooth tiger or step back from that thousand foot drop. Fear is a biochemical reaction that has been vital for our survival. It is responsible for the fight or flight response. So if nothing else, be grateful for fear, it has brought us into 2012 thriving and continuing to grow as a species.

2 – Fear makes you feel alive On a similar note, fear not only keeps us alive, it makes us feel alive. What’s more exciting, sitting at home in front of the television or leaping out of a plane. What do you think would make you feel more alive? There is nothing more exciting than confronting your fear head first and engaging it. Facing your fears is a natural and positive drug. The adrenaline your body produces when you venture outside your comfort zone actually creates a high. That high is the distinction between existing and living!

3 – Fear is a sign you are doing something awesome What are the stories about yourself you love sharing with your friends and family? Why is it things like skydiving or climbing a mountain appear on bucket lists repeatedly? Have you ever heard someone say I wish had one more day in an office before I died? The stories we share are those that push us into the unknown and challenge our fears. Fear lives in that unknown and so does possibility. Ask yourself what you want to do before you die? How many of those things scare you just a little bit? That’s good. Fear is a sign that you are about to experience your greatness. Nothing great can be accomplished without facing a fear. Olympic athletes, football players and successful business people, they all feel pressure, anxiety and fear. That’s what makes them great. They do something worthy of fear. As Mark Twain said, courage is not the absence of fear, courage is the mastery of fear. There is nothing scary about sitting at home being comfortable every day. But doing what is beyond the impossible, that inspires fear. That makes fear worth pursuing.

4 – Fear is the precursor to possibility Fear comes before infinite possibility. Let’s look at every area of our life from finances to career to relationships to personal goals. Every great dream is usually a little scary, whether it be starting a new business or making your first million or running your first marathon. When we feel the fear of chasing a big dream, with that also comes the awesome reality of actualizing that dream. The unlimited possibility available to us in life follows the fear we feel at the thought of actually manifesting those possibilities.

5 – Fear inspires action An idle mind is the devil’s playground. Sitting at home bored will only add fuel to an existence that is not serving you as it is. Within each one of us lives a great and magnificent dream that is waiting to be actualized. The problem is most of us get caught up with making a living that we forget to design our life. Fear changes that. Fear is the push we need to escape the mundane and be our greatness.

6 – Fear sets you free When you are encompassed by an empowering fear that pushes you forward, past and future cease to exist. In that moment, you are living only in the now. Without time, you become truly free. The English Theologian William Law said of time, “ask what time is, it is nothing else but something of eternal duration become finite, measurable and transitory.” The excitement of fear has the power to shift time and bring it back to its eternal state. Even if only for a few minutes, within those moments when you challenge your fears, you become immortal.

7 – Fear builds confidence When you do something that scares you, you become stronger. As you read in the last post, self confidence is the result of having successfully survived a risk. Doing something risky, something that scares you, will make you stronger and help you grow in confidence. Each step outside your comfort zone and into fear builds that muscle. As that muscle gets stronger and stronger so does your spirit.

8 – Without fear, you WILL NOT SUCCEED!! Plain and simple. In order to achieve unimaginable success and turn the impossible into possible, it is vital to embrace fear. Fear is your best friend and ally on your path to success. As you read this list though, you may still be skeptical. You may be thinking about people you know that become paralyzed by fear. That fear prevents us from achieving success because of its paralytic effect.

The famous fight manager Cus D’Amato once said, “The hero and the coward both feel exactly the same fear, only the hero confronts his fear and converts it into fire.”

On Sunday we will go into how to turn fear into fire so that instead of paralyzing you, fear will offer you all the benefits you just read about.

If there is something I have missed, please add to this list in the comments below.


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35 thoughts on “8 reasons why fear is good for you”

    • Hi Foong. Thank you, I am glad you got value out of this post. You are most definitely welcome to post my article on another website. I hope it helps other readers as well!

  1. THIS IS CRAP. Your heart keeps you alive, your heart beating makes you feel alive and lock picking sets you free and must inportantly you need decent literary to succed not fear.

    Again, THIS IS CRAP!

    • Hi Joe. I am not sure what you mean by lock picking sets you free. Please let me know what exactly you are referring to so I can address the issue specifically. Thanks for your courage in sharing your opinion though Joe. I respect that!

  2. Still i can not get what ever i want in my life. I focus the things what ever the things i want in my life. I don’t know weather i am focusing in wrong way.
    (1) Do i want to get my mind to calm position first and focus the thing after that?
    (2) If so, how many minutes i have to keep my mind in calm position?
    (3) How many minutes at a time i have to focus my desires?
    (4) How many times i have to do this in a day?
    (5) When i am focusing my desires, do i want to focus that desire, i have already got that?
    (6) Or i have to focus i am getting that step by step?


    • Hi Naushad. Calming your mind and focusing on the things you want can both happen at the same time. Don’t worry too much about how much time to keep your mind calm, start with 5 minutes a day and increase it as and when you feel is right for you. There is no “right” way to do this. It takes work though, so results will not come overnight. But if you read my latest article, it covers the science behind why centering the mind is so important. With regards to getting what you want the two most important things are immense clarity on what you actually want and taking constant action to making it happen. Simply focusing on the results you want will not get you there, you must take action to produce them. If you need any more support with this, feel free to reach out Naushad. More than happy to support you in producing the results you want in your life.

        • It only stops us if we let it. By shifting our mindset on fear we allow it to work its magic. Fear unleashes a collection of chemicals into our brain that help us improve focus, learn better and ultimately make us more able to handle the challenge ahead of us. It is a powerful ally once we start seeing it as one.

  3. like your reasons why fear is good for you. I am hosting a theatre event called F E A R in Liverpool, UK – 2013. Can I use bits from your article to highlight that fear can be a good thing? I would reference the website Existing2Living and mention yourself as the author. Cheers les

    • Hi Les. Of course, you are more than welcome to use this information. I hope it proves to be of value to your audience. If you or your audience has any further questions for me, please feel free to reach out. Wish you all the best for your event!

  4. This is a damaging article in my opinion. Its damaging to believe that fear is a good thing.Fear creates more fear and paranoia. You attract what you focus on. Focus on fear and you will constantly live in fear. This is something I have struggled with and am overcoming. On your same website is an article about shattering your fears: It says “start associating massive pain to your current conditions and pleasure to your dream life. Once you are disturbed by your reality, you will then find yourself making changes to create a new one.” Well, I want my dream life to be my real life…one where I am not disturbed and living in fear! My fear has been that my fears will attract what I do not want. That is the “law of attraction” is it not? Who wants to attract what they don’t want?? That is why I have working hard at overcoming my fears….so they won’t come true.

    • Hi John. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I completely understand where you are coming from, but the reality is that fear is an inevitable part of the human experience. And as my friend and cave diver Jill Heinerth says ” if you don’t chase fear, you spend your whole life running from it.”

      We only grow when we step outside our comfort zone and take risks, without risk, no progress can be made. And fear accompanies risk, which is why seeking it out is good for you. It allows you to discover your unlimited potential. Without it, life becomes comfortable and when we are nestled within our comfort zone, how can growth happen?

      Yes, I do have a page that teaches people how to “shatter” their fears, but as you will see, I also say this on that page:

      “This is the single biggest block in the way of your success, but it can also be your best friend if you know how to use it right.
      Because everyone experiences fear. It is the very first point of access between any external event and your brain’s processing of it. So whether you like it or not, the reality is that it is an inevitable part of the human condition.
      The only difference between successful people and failures is that those who succeed know how to use fear to their advantage.”

      Some people are paralyzed by fear, others learn to use it. The purpose of shattering your fears is only to find the next one. Right now I am training to run across every country in the world, it is an expedition that terrifies me. I am scared of pain, failure, loss of life or limb, but all those fears are to be expected. I wouldn’t be human if I wasn’t scared of these things. Besides, if the expedition was easy, I wouldn’t do it, because what would be the point? But each time I shatter one fear and make a crossing, I find another one that accompanies me on the next crossing, that is the beauty of fear and the rewards that lie on the other side of it. It is a neverending journey. One of my favorite quotes of all time really embodies this cycle of fear and reward. It’s from Vince Lombardi:

      “I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”

      It is terrifying to step onto that field of battle, but our finest moments live on those battlefields.

      Here is a small piece of advice John, do with it what you will: Because you avoid fear is precisely the reason you have been struggling to overcome it. Embrace fear, be with it fully and recognize that it is as human a emotion as joy. You too might be feeling fears of failure and loss, but that’s okay, work with that fear and you will find that everything you want in life lies on the other side of it.

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts John and I wish you the very best on your journey through fear and into success!

  5. Hey I’m 18 and I hope u respond because I NEVER comment on Internet forums b/c they haven’t inspired me as much as u did. I knew there was a reason fear is good and u revealed it. Again, this information is priceless. Makin me wiser and smarter. My life is limitless and u contributed to it . I like how u said,

    “Within each one of us lives a great and magnificent dream that is waiting to be actualized. The problem is most of us get caught up with making a living that we forget to design our life. Fear changes that. Fear is the push we need to escape the mundane and be our greatness.” I knew that and think that that idea should be publisiZed and taught in school, not te bullshit teachers try to put into my ADD brain. So kudos! Haha I like how u said,
    ” self confidence is the result of having successfully survived a risk”. Thanks for the enlightenment sensei

    • Hi Mark. Thank you so much for commenting here and sharing your thoughts. I am so grateful and honored to hear that this post inspired you and that I have contributed to your life in some way. That is what makes this work worth it!

      You too have inspired me Mark. In recent months, I have been thinking about doing more work with teens in school and colleges, instead of just working with adults like I do now. Your comment has inspired me to pursue this with full force. You provided the final push and validation that I needed, so thank you Mark!

      I look forward to hearing more from you Mark and learning more about your person journey into fear and the rewards that lie on the other side of it. I wish you nothing but the best and hope to meet you in person one day soon! Thanks again for sharing your thoughts here.

  6. P.s. I don’t know what joe doe is talking about lol I think he thinks 1-dimensionally

  7. Hi Akshay.
    Interesting blog you have here.I googled ‘does fear keep us alive?’ in order to widen my research into the army and I have ended up on your page. At first I thought fear would damage your survival in a job like the army, but after reading what you have wrote, it is quite the polar opposite. From your perspective ‘fear’ strengthens a soldier. I guess this is true, but at the same time depends on the person. Do you think fear is more likely to keep someone alive in a job like the army instead of dead or without an arm/leg?
    Is fear what attracts a person to the army?

    • Hi Dolph. Thank you. Fear is absolutely more likely to keep us alive. In the Marines we always used to say If the man next to you isn’t afraid, he is either too stupid to know what is happening or he is insane. We didn’t want to fight next to someone who wasn’t afraid. As I said above, fear actually helps us focus and improves our decision making skills when we are “in the suck.” When fear shows up, all it takes is a simple mindset shift to use that fear to your benefit.

      For example, I just got back into rock climbing after 2 years away from it. Before getting on the rock, I was terrified. Initially I said to myself “what is wrong with you, why are you scared. You are on top rope.” Then I reminded myself that I can’t control what first shows up in my brain and this is not a bad thing. Fear would only help me on this climb. So the fear didn’t go away, I just chose to smile in the face of it. As a result, I flowed up the rock wall 🙂

      Fear will make you a better soldier Dolph. Embrace it my friend

  8. Fear is necessary. Fear indicates a hurdle you’ve yet to face. And it’s also an indication of something you’ve got to get past if you expect to progress in some way. Nice article!

  9. hi poster, i think this is my end to cure for fear, i was trying to overcome fear, by the way we were though, that fear kills your brain and shits, like that but each time i try i fail because it always combart the brain trying to get ride of fear, i stongly believe now in working with fear than trying to kick it out of my life, thanks fear is my little bestfriend, so i chase it now not avoiding it as we were thought and never worked for me. thanks

    • Awesome! That is so glad to hear Stan. Avoiding it and running away from fear is the biggest mistake I see people make. It is what keeps them from achieving their goals. You can’t control what first shows up in your brain Stan, but you can control what you do with it once it shows up. Embrace the fear and it will make you stronger. I wish you nothing but the best on your journey

  10. Akshay, I love the first one, “makes you feel alive”.

    The tremendous energy spurred on by our perfect ability to sense danger and change, alerts us to use all our faculties to evolve.

    It’s as if fear is actually a super power, and if I feel it fully on the edge, what can I be, do, and have that would expand my life?

  11. Good points. Points 7 and 8, although seemingly simple in concept, are two of the most important yet also two of the most difficult to implement at times. These two concepts are actually crucial to some therapy such as that for OCD, as obsessive compulsive disorder is fed by the avoidance of fear (e.g. avoiding bad thoughts, doing rituals to negate bad thoughts) and is improved by confronting it (embracing bad thoughts, avoiding rituals).

    • Thanks Doc. Great point about using these strategies to treat OCD. Avoiding emotions in general is never a good idea. By accepting what shows up we can use it to serve us in becoming the person we want to be. There are no bad or good emotions, there are just ones that empower us or disempower us – we get to choose

  12. is there any name I could use to quote you? i’m writing my persuasive research paper in language arts and I had multiple things from this article i wanted to quote

  13. Thanks for generating high-quality content.
    There is so much info and even more advertisements online it is in fact hard to find worthy and
    appropriate info. These days, no one visits libraries where you are
    able to find primary sources. In the electronic world, you perform distinct


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Fearvana inspires us to look beyond our own agonizing experiences
and find the positive side of our lives. ~ The Dalai Lama