Fear and Curiosity

Supplies are limited! Act now

These are familiar marketing messages. Someone wants me to give them money, or take an action and is using FEAR to motivate me.

Fear of dire consequences

Fear of humiliation

Fear of lost opportunity

I don’t like to be afraid. These advertisers and salespeople know that and use it to manipulate me to their ends.

And boy does it work. Not just on me. Fear is a strong motivator. It’s a basic human survival reflex to react to fear. To scan the horizon for things, notice changes and feel a jolt of adrenaline.


I hate the manipulation of using that to sell soap. It feels slimy. I have to say I have been averse to learning more about the art of selling because I dislike it so much, which probably is why I am not so good at it.

Fear is a reason to move away from one thing and toward something else. If I want to get Science-y about it, the amygdala –the very primitive part of the brain—is activated. Blood goes to the essential places, starving part of the body, and the senses narrow onto


That’s great in a true emergency, but something that really should be saved for a special occasion.

I prefer to foster an environment of curiosity and wonder. Famously, for both cats and Pandora with her fancy box, curiosity is not trouble free.

I still want it. The attraction, the pull.

What’s inside? What is it?

What if…?

Left to myself, I live in curiosity. As a writer I build worlds, or at least rearrange them.

Fear is an interruption on my paradise. It’s the solution once.

Twice—it’s the problem.

I can get curious about the fear the second time. Is running required? Could I survive this threat? Can I try something different this time?

Oh, hi fear. What do I need to know? How about I take a breath and create a plan before I react?

Hey fear-monger—I’m onto you. The choice you offer is not the only one.

When I pause to wonder I can be pulled, not just pushed. What would happen then?