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Coach Soch: How fear can aid decision making

Coach Soch: How fear can aid decision making

Coach Soch: How fear can aid decision making
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By Srinath Sridharan  Feb 5, 2022 10:09:58 AM IST (Updated)

A short business narrative that sets the context, challenge(s) faced, the type of leadership involved and the questions to ponder about, to solve for the issues. This is not to give answers; for business and life in general is not like a school-guide-book. This column is to provoke the reader to think more. And to sensitise that each individual or organisation are unique, and the answers would depend on the situation, difference in organisational culture, context, etc.

To question is to think.

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To think is to introspect.

To introspect is to seek.
To seek is to be aware.
To be aware is when the journey begins.
Fearing fear
Confront your fears !
Fear is like a shadow.
It clings to you, as long as there is light or darkness.
You have to understand the fear, basis of what you are fearing. Else the ‘fear monster’ will follow you and at times, even mislead you.
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. - H. P. Lovecraft (1920s)
Most of us try to ‘run away’ or feel confused when we fear something.
When you fear something, do you have a sense of not being able to think what to do or even not being able to think?
Do you feel as if you can’t do anything?
Do you feel out of control?
Do you worry or panic?
Fear gets to us in so many ways.
Our genetic coding of fear
Fear can be a positive sign - that your body, sensing fear, is preparing you for an emergency, so it makes your blood flow to the muscles, increases blood sugar, and gives you the mental ability to focus on the thing that your body perceives as a threat.
Our ancestors - early humans - needed the quick responses that fear causes as they were often in situations of physical danger.
But in the modern era, we don’t have such physical dangers like our ancestors did. Yet, due to generic coding, our minds and bodies still work the same way as our ancestors, and we have the same reactions to modern worries.
Instead of alerting you to a danger and preparing you to respond to it, your fear or anxiety can kick in for any perceived threat, which could be even imaginary or minor.
Can fear be constructive?
Fear, in particular, can be constructive, making us more effective decision makers in the face of risk.
Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of looking stupid and fear of the unknown. And many more.
Do you have any of these?
For many of us, revised job descriptions, raises and promotions, hiring freezes and budget cuts can generate fear and anxiety. Does it for you?
Will I be valued for what I do?
Will I have a say in decisions?
Do I have to start from basics, to prove my worth, or will I be respected?
Fear and anxiety can last for a short time and then pass but they can also last much longer and you can get stuck with them. In some cases, they can take over your life, affecting your ability to eat, sleep, concentrate, travel, enjoy life, or even leave the house or go to work or school. This can hold you back from doing things you want or need to do, and it also affects your health.
The point is you don’t have to suffer. Just accept and confront the fears.
Do you fear setting goals? Confront it and start with goal-setting.
Fear of failure stops far too many people from even attempting to achieve their goals. Remember this: many a path to success is littered with mistakes and failures; it goes with the territory.
Research indicates that fear can aid decision making. Surprising?
Fear is one of the most powerful emotions. It has a very strong effect on your mind and body.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Find mentors and resources to help fill in your blind spots.
Seek feedback from others at each step of the way. But don’t wait for their approval for you to take each of your steps.
And importantly, don’t allow fear to cause you to constantly second-guess yourself. Have confidence in yourself and trust your gut instinct.
Fearing fear is indeed frightful.
The author, Srinath Sridharan is a Corporate Adviser and Independent Markets Commentator. For other articles in the Coach Soch series, click here.
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