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The Fear Factor

July 4, 2010


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

                       -Marianne Williamson  


Rahul is a stage actor and dancer performing various stage shows and dramas for his company “The Stage Kings”. He is a very popular performer commanding a Star value for his troupe. He draws massive crowds in his performance thus having a high sale value . He remembers the very first time he was told to perform a small role for his troupe. He was trembling with fear. His heart was thumping loudly and was feeling the pressure in his chest. He was struggling and could barely speak.It was not that he was weak kneed  but the fear of not able to perform correctly and facing the possible consequences from both the audience and later from his company was very visible on his face. This was his Initial Reaction or nervousness  of his just before his first appearance on stage .His colleagues were trying their best to help him overcome this fear. Yet when he entered the stage he was able to give the desired performance acceptable to his audience. Neither  did he  face any hooting from the public nor any action from his company nor did he set the Stage on fire. Both were satisfied from his performance. He was happy and pleased from his performance too and glad to overcome his the initial reaction .

This Initial Nervousness which he had just before entering the stage to perform his role is experienced by almost all the performer and actors of his kind no matter how big or small they are at present.This type of Fear  is commonly known asStage Fright ”  in the parlance of public  performers who conducts such kind of role in front of their audience no matter how large or small it might be.

Not all the performers are lucky enough to get away from this feeling. Some perish just before performing their first act. Others become an object of ridicule in front of the audience. Yet for some this emotion acts as an motivating force which helps them to give their best when they perform in front of their audience.

This type of fear is not only limited to Stage performers or actors only. It is experienced  by Marketing persons, Doctors , Pilots , Politicians, Public Spokesmen, and many others who have to demonstrate and show their potential for the first time in front of the audience who judge and grade them  thus determining their future in this field. Many of them might experience it again and again thus ruining their career.

This is not the only type of fear which we experience in our daily life. Their are other type of fear which keeps molesting us in while doing our work .

The school child fears the worst the day when he  has to get his report card . His fear intensity increases rapidly as this  day approaches gradually . It is highest when his name is being called telling his result. A young man fears about his future which is so uncertain. He is so obsessed with his later life that this fear engulfs him making him think about nothing else but himself. A young woman thinks about her life after her marriage . How is she going to cope with her in laws. Imagine how a candidate feels when he appears for his first interview for his Job or to get into a college. After all his whole future depends upon this interview. The old persons fear about who will take care about them . Young couples whole love each other dearly fear about being separated from each other .A leader or a politician fear about losing the elections. A batsman fear his shown on his face when he enters the playground to bat in cricket or baseball. A goalkeeper fears the most during the penalty kick in football. An soldier fears for his life when going for a battle. The policeman fears for himself when called to curb a riot. A Businessman fears losing money after investing it in a project. Some fear are life long or trouble us for a long period. We all fear when we do something wrong or make mistakes or we fear that we will do something wrong when given a task thus facing the punishment.

Fear is also felt by our Sixth Sense as if something wrong or tragic is going to happen to us in the near future.

The kind of fear which is felt by large number of people living in a same place or city or country is known as Public Fear. Like  fear of natural catastrophes like flood , heavy rain, cyclone, drought , earthquake , etc. Fear of violence , crime and riots . Fear of misery , disease and hunger. These phenomenon affects large number of people at the same time and at same place.

No doubt this type of emotion in public and individuals has been used and exploited by the Religious leaders, tyrants and dictators since ages  in history to achieve their ends .

A Phobia is a twisting of the normal fear response. A phobia is an irrational and excessive fear of an object or situation.The fear is directed toward an object or situation that does not present a real danger. The sufferer recognizes that the fear is unreasonable, yet cannot help the reaction. Over time, the fear tends to worsen as the fear of fear response takes hold. Various phobias are Social Phobias – Fear of Social situations , Agoraphobia – Fear of being trapped in an inescapable place or situation , Specific phobias—fear of a specific object like animals such as snakes , natural  environment  such as lightening, medical such as fear of doctor and situational such as driving.

We all fear God or a supernatural being  even if we don’t know about its existence. Similarly we all fear the Evil , the Devil or the Ghost whose existence is also not known to us.

Fear is not only confined to Human Beings but it is also present in animals.

Psychologists  and doctors may have calculated the degree of fear or used scientific methods to measure the degree of fear which we keep on experiencing in our daily lives. They may be researched on the origin of fear . On what glands produces this kind of emotion.How much of fear is good for the Human beings.

Let us first define Fear. It is a painful emotion or passion excited by the expectation of evil, or the apprehension of impending danger; apprehension; anxiety; solicitude; alarm; dread.The Psychology  definition of Fear is that it is a powerful and primitive human emotion. It alerts us to the presence of danger and was critical in keeping our ancestors alive.

Fear can actually be divided into two stages, Biochemical and Emotional.

The biochemical response is universal, while the emotional response is highly individualized.

Biochemical Reaction is when we confront a perceived danger, our bodies respond in specific ways. Physical reactions to fear include sweating, increased heart rate and high adrenaline levels. This physical response is sometimes known as the “ fight or flight ” response, in which the body prepares itself to either enter combat or run away.This biochemical reaction is likely an evolutionary development. It is an automatic response and is crucial to survival.

The Emotional response to fear is highly personalized. Some people are adrenaline junkies, thriving on extreme sports and other fear-inducing thrill situations. Others have a negative reaction to the feeling of fear, avoiding fear-inducing situations at all costs. Although the physical reaction is the same, fear may be perceived as either positive or negative.

Conquering fear presents a new physiological response. The abundance of adrenaline leads to a natural high. The body is energized yet relaxed. Giddiness and elation are common emotions.Repeated exposure to similar situations leads to familiarity. This greatly reduces the fear response, leading adrenaline junkies to seek out ever new and bigger thrills.

Fear plays both positive and negative role in our daily life. To say that fearful person is inferior to a fearless person will be wrong. It depends upon various situations and circumstances to know its impact on our life. A soldier is required to be fearless at the time of going to battle as the situation demands. Similarly a stage performer is required to control his fear to perform well on stage. A student has to control his nervousness at the time of taking his exam , lest he forgets every thing he studied. Similarly a candidate appearing for an interview has to be confident in front of his interviewers. We all have to fight and overcome the Fear which keeps on attacking and haunting us in some form or other in our daily life like competition, crime, racial discrimination,caste system, sex discrimination, inflation , injury or accident, illness , failure or non performance leading to public ridicule , fear of going out, fear of being bullied ,abused and laughed at and so on. The fear of losing in life, the fear of losing power, losing our control on others , our senses , our goodwill and friendship ,fear of losing our job and livelihood , fear of losing our reputation and self respect , fear of being cheated keeps haunting us through out our life. Fear may be man made or by nature which may or may not be in our control. Many of us fear from the  problems which till now our parents or our guardian were facing and solving for us daily .The government has enacted thousands of acts and policies and has set up various departments and institutions for the public to inform and guide them . It also informs them about the penalty and punishment they will face in case they are found infringing them .

A fearless person is always likes and admired by others. It is a quality which everyone of us wished to possess. No one wants to be regarded as timid person or a coward. After all fortune favors the brave. We have to fight and overcome our fear to be regarded as brave. However too much of fearlessness can lead to tension between fellow beings and can invite trouble. For example we all live in a society that has made certain rules and regulations for us to follow so that we can coexist peacefully with each other. A normal person will follow fear and follow these rules and regulations  laid down by the society for his well being. To say that breaking these  rules and regulations will make a person fearless will be very misleading. Such a person is not a fearless person but a social criminal or a social leper. He has no right to stay in that society. A child when make noise in a class invites a minor punishment . If he keeps on doing again and again , he will be thrown out from that school. A businessman will be blacklisted if he cheats his customers or the government again and again. Adultery is not done a sign of fearlessness in any society. A model or and actress or an actor exposing his or her body in a cover magazine is not a brave act whatever the media hypes about it. A soldier no matter how many medals of bravery he may have won will immediately face court martial in case he is found breaking army rules or disobeying orders by his seniors. Showing arrogance , bullying or disrespecting others is not an act by a brave person. A country is regarded as a terrorist nation if it keeps on going to war with other nations or supports terrorist activities openly. None of the persons above are brave nor they committing the acts of bravery.

From the early childhood our parents and teachers have instilled fear into us  like a daily tonic to keep us safe and sound. They have been doing this so that we do not get into any sort of trouble. We have been taught to follow the rules and regulations in the family like respecting our elders, obeying them , in the school like being punctual , being neat and tidy, keeping quite in classroom, doing our homework in time , in our social life like being polite and considerate , keep smiling, greet others , empathize with others and so on. Any disregarding these rules would mean inviting punishment and humiliation by our parents , teachers and friends. This fear later on guide us in our career and married life .We may not taken seriously by them in the matter of importance. A player no matter how good he may be will be kicked out from his team if he is found guilty of breaching rules or misbehaving with his teammates. A driver is fined and may be arrested in case he is caught in a drunken state or disobeying traffic rules no matter how big shot he may be.

Fear is an emotion or the feeling which we all want to resist or discard but yet a little bit of this state of mind will always be there inside us. It is good for us too as it helps to salvage our pride and our self respect.It warns us of impending danger that lurks all around us . It is like that we are moving in a dense forest fighting a guerilla warfare with enemies sniping us from all sides. We have been surrounded by them and they are just waiting  for the right moment to attack us. The surprising fact is that we can only sense them but we not able to see them. Our mind is at the maximum state of alert at this moment  to warn us of impending danger and we have to be ready to deal with any kind of eventuality . Any mistake on our part will be fatal for us and our comrades.This is how the fear attacks us and we have to learn to cope with it. It is like we have to fight number of battles in this concrete jungle ignoring whether we win them or lose them. But each battle will make us stronger and more stoic in our life helping us to live a fuller and more matured  life with our family and in the society.





The Fear Factor
marketing, general

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