Fear stifles innovation and progress


One of the most common fears we experience everyday is fear of the unknown. This kind of fear can inhibit innovation and progress. We may end up doing things the same way we have always done them because we are afraid of failure i.e. what if this new way of doing something doesn’t work? It’s easier to stick within the realm of what is known and certain. But when new opportunities present themselves they often do so with a degree risk attached. The risk of failure can range from very low to extremely high and consequences of failure can similarly range from tolerable to completely undesirable. Assessing these variables and making decisions based on them is a fact of life and something most of us do on a daily basis.

I recently had to make a big decision based on very little information. The kind of decision where you only really know the detail of once you are committed. I felt the fear of failure. The consequences were undesirable but manageable—albeit at a high cost of time and money.

I decided to accept the risk and embrace the opportunity.

I can tell you that when I reflect on my decision a few months after the fact, I am extremely glad that I faced the fear, took the risk and embraced the opportunity.

Some of the things we tell ourselves — you don’t know how good you’ve got it. Why change what’s working? What if what you end up with is not as good as what you’ve got now?— demonstrate how fear can keep us from experimenting and embracing new things.

I have come to believe that the more we practice stepping out of our comfort zones and embracing new things, the higher our risk tolerance becomes and the wider the horizons of our lives open up as we embrace the opportunities that come our way.

I’m glad I did not stick with what I had for fear of never having it so good again. Time and again when I have committed to new opportunities I’ve found that the risk that I feared just did not materialise.


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