Out of the Darkness
Image by Simon Scott via Flickr

An interesting article in the Huffington Post entitled “Fear of Failure is a Childhood Epidemic”  gave me pause to consider some of my own fears.  I had recently read an article in SAI Pan Pipes entitled “Discipline, Exercise Can Conquer Stage Fright“.  Together, these articles and experiences prompted  me to write of series of posts centered on fear.

What is fear? The Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionary includes the following definitions [1]:

  1. “to be afraid of : expect with alarm
  2. an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger
  3. anxious concern
  4. profound reverence and awe
  5. reason for alarm “

It is important to note that definition #4 is a “positive” rationale for fear.   We tend to consider the remaining definitions as “negative”.  Yet, the other definitions can also have a positive aspect as fear may:

  1. play an important role in keeping us safe from danger.  Fear is one survival mechanism.
  2. provide learning and creative opportunities.  When balanced with periods of security or points of support, fear can motivate us to find other solutions, to try again.
  3. help keep us alert or motivate us to move forward.  There are times in my life that fear of a negative consequence was enough to get me to accomplish a task.

When fear immobilized us or keeps us from healthy activities  (becomes debilitating), it becomes an issue.  Society has, as cited in the Huffington Post article before mentioned, expanded the fear of failure, assigned a negative stigma to failing, and encouraged failure avoidance.

In future posts, I will discuss some ways to appropriately address fear including some that use music.


[1] Merriam-Webster Online [book on-line] (accessed 20 September 2010); available from http://www.webster.com; Internet