Fear as Motivation for Consciously Directed Purpose

In my bubble of limited awareness, I’ve defined fear as an unfulfillable need to resist change. That because I add my interpretation of what I think fear should mean. Which is, a negative or unpleasant emotion I associate with what I don’t want. Fear is a feeling that motivates me to act on it. How I act on that feeling is what I interpret as fear – two separate things. Motivation is NOT the action in a consciously directed purpose.

Beyond that limited awareness I can interpret fear as one of many emotions that motivate me towards fulfillment. Since emotions drive my thoughts into action, I can choose to use them productively. Thus, a simple shift in my perspective of fear and can move towards change in powerful and meaningful ways.

When I think of fear as an emotion I can then choose to use it to serve my purposes. I can more easily meet change with confidence. As I let go of my need to resist change, I bring clarity to its benefits. I see change and fear as one and consider its uses as a conscious tool.

Motivation in Conscious Purpose

The body program associates fear from an instinctual perspective of fight, flight, or freeze – each an action. Even when I’m frozen in fear, there’s a strong sense of, “I’ve got to get out of here!” This results in a rush of chemicals I interpret as a feeling of exhilaration – a need for movement. That’s the chemistry of motivation. The question becomes, what do I do with this motivation?

The motivation to flee, fight, or freeze is an expression of feedback to my mind about my perceptions. That’s useful information towards an understanding of self. One such understanding is that of emotion as motivator.

As an emotion, fear bridges thought to action – motivation. What are some ways I can utilize this bridging characteristic of fear to apply conscious purpose to my intentions? Consider:

  • What if that bridge could motivate me to consider other ways to act?
  • Could fear be an agent of change I need for growth towards understanding?
  • Might fear be useful in accomplishing intentions?

I get to choose what to do with the energy of fear. I might go with the default – fight, flight, or freeze. Or, I may choose to direct that energy towards my conscious intentions – purpose!

Who’s Driving this Bus Anyway?

All emotion can be understood as motivation towards action. Key to this understanding is recognition that it’s NOT emotions that drive the directing aspect of thought.

Although fear may be the loudest voice at the table, it is not the only voice. Imagine a board of directors meeting in which the CEO presides. Mr. Fear says, “OMG! We’re going under fast! We have to do something drastic NOW to save the company!” Meanwhile, the other members of the board cannot compete with Mr. Fear’s passion, intensity, and volume level. If the CEO listens only to the loudest voice, what do you think will happen to the company?

The authority we give to fear is our belief that is is powerful enough to make us do what it wants, rather than what we want. However, passion, intensity, and volume are not direction! They are the fuel of motivation.

Fear provides motivation for change, and although it appears to be dictating my actions and thoughts, it does not. In reality, I do the directing. Like my car, the fuel does not provide the direction for the vehicle – the driver does.

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