3 Reasons You Need To Run Toward Fear

3 Reasons You Need To Run Toward Fear

Conventional wisdom tells us that fear is an uncomfortable emotion we ought to avoid. We are often encouraged to play it safe instead of confronting situations that evoke apprehension. However, running from fear can profoundly limit personal growth and success. Embracing fear and moving toward the unknown opens exciting possibilities that make life all the more rewarding.

The following article explores the evolutionary basis of fear, its psychological impact, and why people neglect facing fears. We present compelling arguments for rushing toward your fears and provide starting strategies. An inspirational case study further illustrates the power of approaching frightening situations head-on. Read on to understand why you need to run toward fear.

What is Fear, and Why Do We Experience It?

Fear is an emotional response triggered by perceived threats or danger. Our brains are neurologically wired to activate fight or flight responses in risky scenarios as an evolutionary self-preservation tactic.

For instance, standing at the cliff’s edge elicits fears of falling, which motivates us to step back from the precipice. This fear response protected early humans from environmental hazards, enabling the propagation of genes across generations.

Modern advancements, however, mean most fears relate less to survival and more to social acceptance and self-esteem. For example, many intensely fear public speaking not due to tangible danger but to potential embarrassment if they stumble. Understanding this difference between rational and irrational origins of fear is essential.

How Fear Impacts Mind and Body

The mind and body react strongly to perceived threats when afraid. Fear-inducing situations preparing us for action trigger rapid heartbeat, sweating, and acute stress.

The brain’s amygdala region is vital in assessing risk and coordinating the fear response. While these reactions serve an evolutionary purpose, chronic activation heavily affects long-term health and happiness.

As such, people often go to extreme lengths to avoid known fears in hopes of dodging intense discomfort. The agony of feeling afraid becomes motivation enough to shy away from beneficial actions. Unfortunately, running from fear eventually limits personal potential.

Why Avoidance Often Seems Easier

Many reasonable reasons drive people to avoid confronting situations they dread. First and foremost, fear feels awful, so it is natural to want respite from the agony it causes. People are similarly taught from childhood to set aside scary ventures deemed too risky or inappropriate.

Additionally, fear of failure runs rampant in modern culture. People run from doing anything unless guaranteed flawless execution. Perceived social costs of coming up short suppress ambitions, leading many to stick firmly within their comfort zones.

These factors drive otherwise talented, intelligent individuals into self-imposed confinement of underachievement. Overcoming this requires understanding the actual costs of letting fear rule your choices.

The High Costs of Avoiding Fear

Hiding from fear may offer temporary relief but stunts personal growth. Research shows confronting fears build grit and resilience, while avoidance feeds anxiety disorders. When we repeatedly back down, neuropathways are reinforced, making it incrementally more challenging to face future worries.

These patterns hamper trying exciting new ventures critical for realizing your full potential. Had Einstein avoided challenging established scientific notions from fear of ridicule, we likely would have missed his ‘miracle year’ breakthroughs enabling space travel and much more.

Life progresses by taking chances, trying new ideas, and embracing uncertainty. Dodging fears robs you of becoming the person you can be when rising to meet scary situations. The short-term comfort of avoiding fears costs the long-term joy of personal accomplishments.

Why You Should Run Toward Fear

Now that the pitfalls of avoiding fears are clear examine why confronting them is vitally important for reaching your potential and living life to the fullest:

1. It Builds Resilience

Facing fears strengthens mental fortitude. Like any other skill, resilience improves by practicing facing uncertainty and anxiety. This experience of moving toward hardship also builds reference points that make future fears easier to tackle.

2. It Opens New Doors

Chasing fears paves avenues to hidden opportunities. Seeking big promotions, starting businesses, authoring books – these ambitions evoke fear but immensely enrich life when pursued. Confronting emotional barriers lets you stake claims others neglect.

3. It Boosts Confidence

Fears shrink when confronted as the unknown becomes familiar. Feeling able to take on adversity fosters confidence to keep challenging yourself. Fears constantly faced and conquered lead to monumental personal growth over a lifetime. The path of least resistance quells fear but sidetracks greatness. Pushing forward opens new worlds of possibilities to actualize untapped talents within.

Start by Identifying Personal Fears

Introspection reveals limitations we impose on ourselves to stay comfortable. An honest evaluation of career growth, financial goals, social life, and self-expression highlights fears needing attention to reach full potential. Track patterns around recurring avoidant behaviors to pinpoint specific phobias.

For example, John dreamed of launching a small business but always had an excuse to push it off another day. Taking stock of these mental self-sabotaging tactics helped him tie the avoidant actions to an intense aversion to financial risks rooted in his humble upbringing.

Gradual Exposure is Vital

Rarely does rapidly charging into intensely feared situations yield success. Begin by listing more minor fears within your control and intentionally seeking them out. This builds competency in managing discomfort, strengthening resilience for more significant challenges.

Fear of gambling his meager savings, John started his business as a side hustle, keeping his day job until he gained confidence in running his bakery full-time. This incremental risk approach eased the fear enough to commit later once traction was proven wholly.

Leverage Resources Around You

None of this is easy, but having a solid support system eases the demands, making progress and sticking to challenging fearful situations better. Confide in trusted friends and family to hold you accountable for chasing feared opportunities. Consider finding a mentor who successfully faces similar fears. Therapeutic guidance also helps prevent spiraling anxieties from derailing best-laid plans.

John kept his wife looped into budget planning to determine realistic pivoting timelines. Her emotional reassurance gave him strength, absent tackling fears alone. Seeking business coaching further enabled calculated risks.

Case Story: Emma Goes From Fearful to Fearless

Emma was a gifted writer crippled by extreme social anxiety and panic-inducing stage fright. Though creative, she resisted career paths requiring public visibility, sticking to solitary freelancing work she was overqualified for yet paid menial wages.

A childhood speech impediment bred intense public speaking anxiety, causing her to avoid anything involving presenting, event networking, conference panels, and the like. However, seeing financially successful author friends highlighted missed income opportunities, which began weighing on Emma more as she approached forty.

Committed to change, Emma made a plan listing more minor social situations to thrust herself into while leveraging therapists plus friends to ensure she faced fears responsibly. What began with short poetry readings at open mic events expanded to local library panels, eventually even nationally renowned literature festivals, as one fear after another fell.

Just five years since starting small, Emma now lives an abundantly enriching author lifestyle speaking globally, which never could have happened, circumventing those fears. Stepping toward hardship sparked a journey to unimagined joy.

Key Takeaways

  • Confronting fears builds the resilience and confidence needed to unlock your potential.
  • Avoidance leads to anxiety, stagnation, missed opportunities, and regret.
  • Start small facing fears within your control, using resources around you.
  • Growth happens by taking risks – run toward hardship.


Fear triggers inevitable discomfort, given its evolutionary survival origins. However, what served primitive tribes now hinders modern self-actualization. Therefore, we must tip the scales from avoidance toward action by rushing toward hardship holding us back.

Your capacities far exceed limiting comfort zones. Dare to dream an expansive vision for your life and muster the courage to suffer temporary struggles expanding boundaries. If Emma can speak globally once unable to utter a word publicly, you, too, hold boundless potential now masked by fears demanding confrontation. Face forward and run ahead boldly. Destiny awaits progress unimaginable today – if you are willing to embrace fear as fuel toward greatness.