Episode #636

April 10, 2021

“… the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
— Franklin D. Roosevelt

In my years of consulting the most common reaction to computers is fear.
Fearful users do not understand the operating system interface.
Application controls are unfamiliar and therefore frightening.

Instruction helps.
When the computer is explained as a metaphor for an office users relax from their fear.
Most people know what a desk, paper and pencil, address book, calendar, copy machine and encyclopedia do. They are not afraid of these common office items if recognized on the computer.

Learning something new will evoke fear in most people.
The point of learning, however, is to develop skills while becoming familiar with something new.
Familiarity breeds confidence which thwarts fear.

Social interaction either comes naturally to people or it comes with fear.
What will that person think of me?
How should i act around that crowd?
What standards of behavior do they endorse?
Get to know new people and then engage.

We are all in the midst of a global virus pandemic.
We should all be afraid.
We do not know what will happen to us if we contract the disease. 
Even the scientists don’t know what the long term effects of vaccines are.
There are vast numbers of people who are on the side of the virus because of inaction and disbelief. 
They need to overcome their fear with knowledge.
We need to fear them until that happens.
Fear can be a tool for self preservation.

Some fear government, thinking it will forsake its representative mandate in favor of the special interests of the rich and powerful. One cure for this kind of fear would be to run for public office. The view from the inside is less frightening than what is seen on the news.

i was afraid of public speaking until i joined Toastmasters. i learned techniques like speaking to one person in the back of the crowd and imagining that they were naked. Working my way up to leading the local speaker’s bureau gave me an understanding of what the audience wanted to hear. As such, i did not fear their reaction to my speeches. 

Before my first jump i was afraid of skydiving. That fear disappeared 10 seconds after exit when the experience of the free fall environment encompassed me and i understood what it was.

Starting a new job can be trepidatious.
We ease our way into a new job by recognizing what is familiar.
Where is my desk?
The break room is down the hall next to the copy machine.
i work with that team of people… and i just made an email list of them.

The same can be said about moving into a new home. Becoming familiar with the environment alleviates fear.

One of our greatest fears is the fear of death.
Faith can give us an understanding and a calmness.
Facing our mortality with resignation and open eyes can dissuade the fear.

Education, understanding, experience and familiarity are weapons in the fight against fear.

There is only one kind of fear that humans experience.
It is fear of the unknown.


  1. Tom Mills April 9, 2021
    • Rick Thues April 9, 2021
  2. Stewart Wavell-Smith April 9, 2021
  3. Maria Doyle April 9, 2021
  4. Luana Langlois April 10, 2021
  5. Vic Spindler April 11, 2021

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