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CAN FEAR BE PRODUCTIVE??? (3 Things Every Driven, Fully-Engaged Person is Literally AFRAID Of…& Why YOU SHOULD BE TOO)

25 October 2011 6 Comments

Two women afraid

In everything self-help, people are constantly dissing fear: all the experts, gurus and consultants (and even little ol’ me sometimes) talk about “overcoming fear,” how “fear is an illusion,” the “10 steps to eliminate fear for good,” etc. etc. as if it’s productive-person enemy #1…

So just the other day it occurred to me that most of us “self-developmenters” (I’ll continue to make up words for the rest of my life, so get used to it) never think about how FEAR CAN WORK IN OUR FAVOR…that there may be a few ways in which fear can actually make us MORE driven, ambitious, creative and efficient without us even being aware to the fact.

So – “generating off the headpiece” like I always love to do – here’s FOUR instances my black-behind thought of where being afraid of something ultimately led people I know to more productivity and SUCCESS then they would otherwise obtain (at least from my limited perspective). Check it out:

Productive Fear #1: Ending Up Just Like “What’s-Her-Face?”

Every productive person I know has someone they work with, someone they went to school with or someone in their family (or all 3 and then some) that’s THE DIRECT OPPOSITE of what they’re aspiring towards, and that person motivates them in reverse.

Like 50 Cent once said: “Daaamn homie…in high school you was the maaaaan homie…what the eff happened to you???”. Literally every ambitious person I know can relate.

…seriously though: EVERY productive, on-point, self-motivated individual I ever met has someone they see (at least from time to time) that makes them virtually scared about what’ll happen if they don’t “pull up their shoes,” and they REVERSE ENGINEER motivation out of that bad example.

aframerican male thinking

So I ask you: who’s your nightmare-motivator? Take a look at how they talk, carry themselves, think and behave and then simply do the direct opposite.

Productive Fear #2: Being Dependent

On a deeper note, a lot of productive and accomplished people are also afraid of being dependent on someone else to take care of them. If you listen closely, you’ll hear a lot of focused people saying things like, “I just don’t want anybody else to control me.”

Now if this sounds negative to you, remember that this fear usually comes from a direct experience of what being controlled looks like on a day-to-day basis. These people are motivated to NOT GO BACK to something destructive that they’re intimately familiar with. It’s called wisdom…

Me? I don’t judge anybody, and although I don’t have a direct experience of being dependent like that, I know the power of learning from other people’s mistakes, and I suggest you do the same.

Productive Fear #3: Staying The Same

This one really applies to me the most of all: productive people are AFRAID of staying the same. They say to themselves, “I don’t want to look down the road, and after 10 years still be making tacos and playing video games with Norbert and Winston.”

When I was in high school, I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life going to parties and chasing girls (because it felt pointless), and when I was in college, I didn’t want spend the rest of my life going to activist meetings and organizing protests (because it felt futile and victimizing). And to be honest, now that I’m here, I don’t want to spend the rest of my life blogging either (it feels good…but I also feel like there has to be some greater call for me too).

african american male at laptop with business suit

Maybe it all boils down to a fear of being trapped: I want to have new talents and skills, not just be a writer and I want to travel and see the world, not just live (and die) in America. All I can say is, once I begin to master something, I get scared that that mastery will become the circumference of my life-experience, so I start channeling my energies in a new direction…

So take a second to think about all this. If any of it makes you go, “Y’know Bryan, these fears really stem from being critical of others,” or “Maybe they just have trust-issues from childhood, and they need to dissolve their Ego into Universal Cosmic Non-Beingness” remember the bottom line: THESE PEOPLE ARE OUT THERE GETTING IT…

I know people doing all types of creative, magnificent things to reengineer their lives and get themselves and their family in a better situation. Take it as you want, but the older I get, the more results-oriented and less ethics-concerned my thinking becomes, so I have nothing but support for them.

My main point though is that productive people are simply AFRAID of the things un-productive people are content with: they’re not necessarily better or more talented, but their fears often drive their behavior down an alternate path.

Be free of unwanted fear

Now leave a brother some love in the comment section: which of the “productive fears” above resonate with you most? Are there any other things you’re afraid of that help you to stay focused? If so, what are they???



  • haroon said:

    spot on.

    the fear of ending up like my father is one of my strongest motivational factors!

    peace and love

  • Tanya said:

    All three! I swear this article is written about me! I’ve always said I learned first what NOT to do! Great blog post! I’m sharing!

  • Sepia Prince said:

    This was a really FUN read…very original and can be understood by us all. For me, Fear #3 resonated with me the most, for all the reasons you stated. While I may enjoy what I do, making photographs and the like, I see myself as having the natural birthright to take a stab at anything with prime intentions to thrive in those other areas as well.

    Also, that photo of the one-eyed practitioner of meditation is hilarious!

  • Bryan Ogilvie (author) said:

    Thanks to both of you, and yeah, that picture had me rolling too…originally, I had a pic there of a brother reading, but then stumbled on the meditation image while playing around with some old files and said, “hold up…this got to go in there.”

    Originally, I was also going to have a FOURTH fear, something along the lines of “the fear of missing out/being left behind” but it wasn’t coming together as well as I wanted it to, so I scraped that. Stay tuned for more blogging goodness…

    Take care and thanks again,

  • Chrysler Kuba said:

    Awesome article! Straight to the point too, and funny. Haha you quoted one of my favorite songs too! The part I like most is when you describe your fears or desired changes such as not wanting to be blogging the rest of your life and getting better and better. That is tremendously awesome bro! Its motivates me to realize that there truly are no limits. God bless. And aslo, i would like to keep contact with you. My calling is similar to your frame of work as well. (Preaching, self-help, and blogging) I am 20 years old so i could use some assistance from time to time. Respond to my email and check out my blog when you get a chance. God bless

  • Bryan Ogilvie (author) said:

    No doubt! Glad to make the acquaintance. Keep in touch and let’s definitely build more soon…

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