Fear is the strongest driver of behaviour

Fear is the strongest driver of behaviour

Fear is an interesting thing. In the modern world, it comes from our perceptions rather than our reality. We should fear the lion stalking. It is real. But instead we fear what someone might think or say. We create imaginary situations, translate them to reality and become fearful.

Our imagination plays an enormous part of fear. The mind imagines our reality, no matter how much evidence placed before it. This is “confirmation bias”. Where you filter all evidence to the contrary to what you imagine is reality or your belief. Religions use this natural brain function well. It is very powerful and we see its effects on behaviour.

Reflecting on my own experiences, I ask myself “How many times have I not done something through fear?” The main reason I am where I am, in my life journey, is due to my limitations. The things which hold me back. Those things which fear is limiting. Often the fear is simple. Not doing something or speaking up.

I see this all the time in safety. Recently, a person came to me concerned about what he saw as a major safety breach. Two people were working at height without fall protection. The risk was high and potential consequences catastrophic.

He told me what he saw. I was gob-smacked! He knew to tell them to get down. But he couldn’t. He was fearful of the repercussions.  What might happen to him, his company and the guys involved. Times are tough and these guys could lose their jobs.

What he imagined overcame logical, rational thinking and the expectations of him as a supervisor. He regrets not acting in the moment.

Fear is the strongest driver of behaviour.

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