Irrational Fears

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Fear has a strong power over everyone in some way.  Though fear is seen as a nuisance to many, its value is often overlooked.

Students run to class in fear of being late or missing an exam. Students spend all night studying in fear of failing a test and losing vital scholarships.  Students choose not to party the night before a test in fear of getting caught and failing their test the next day. Students work-out in fear of getting the freshman fifteen.

In cases like these, odd though it may seem, fear acts as a source of motivation for students to improve themselves.  Out of a rational fear for becoming someone or something worse than they are, people generally make good decisions.

However, irrational fears often have the ability to consume people. Ranging from claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces), arachnophobia (fear of spiders), mysophobia (fear of germs), to the infamous fear of death, many people become imperious to the will of some sort of irrational fear. Perhaps the question is not what the fear is, but rather what it means about the person, and ‘what does one do about his or her fear?’ Should he overcome it and bask in the glory of having overcome it, or should he use these fears as means of defining who he is?

Overcoming fears is an arduous task which can often seem daunting in itself. People can use drastically different methods to overcome fear, but each may produce similar results.  By overcoming a fear, its power and control are taken away and the person is left free and able to live as they choose.

Without a looming force of an irrational fear, a student can simply worry about the things that really matter: working hard, getting to class on time, but most importantly, enjoying a life without an irrational fear.

Looking at fear as an entity, it is clear that it can create positive outcomes as shown above. Even the most common fear of death can be used positively and all it requires is a new point of view. The fear of death arises from an acknowledgment or awareness of mortality, which is often amplified by the death of a loved one or a friend.

Deep down within, the fear of death is the fear of unfinished business and regret.  Adapting ‘carpe diem’ as the motto of life may be a way of alleviating some of this regret. If everyone lived each day as if it was his or her last, taking solace in the pleasure of the little things in life, the possibility of death would not seem as bad.  In the moment that people adopt this method of thinking, they can start to improve their lives.

Not all irrational fears are the same, but if there was a way to channel the feeling of fear into something positive, it would act as a means of defining us, without controlling us. Unlike overcoming a fear, the power of fear may be eliminated, but the fear itself may remain as a motivator. Embracing an irrational fear is comparable to embracing a flaw.

The fear comes to be a part of us as we grow and come across it throughout  our lives. It is something unavoidable, but with the right attitude, it can be made better. 

About The Author

Prem Naik

Naik (Electrical Engineering '21) is a member of the Vector writing team. "It's not every day as an engineering student that you get the chance to write, especially about pop culture, and that's why I love being a part of The Vector! I am also a member of the NJIT Honors College and Honors Ambassadors, and I like to learn as much as I can about new movies, tv shows and music!"

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