We’ve been told by motivational speakers that fear and anxiety are destroyers of destiny and we’ve been programmed to see fear as a huge detriment to success. I wonder if they can ever get enough of the bad press. Humans and animals alike have the ability to experience fear

Everyone has either been afraid of or is afraid of at least one thing. Any daring attempt to boast that one has never been afraid is nothing but a cowardly behaviour. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi “Fear has its use but cowardice has none”

It’s good and very natural to have a healthy size of fear over some things. A small amount of fear before presenting an important speech or an examination might serve a great purpose. Such a feeling pushes you to study hard and make adequate preparation so as to avoid the shame that convoys failure.

Ironically, fear in this sense becomes a great tool. Even if you weren’t passionate about studying; the fear of being an empty head becomes a motivator. This type of fear is essential in sharpening the mind and also bringing out the best. I see it like this, if you are not afraid of anything, the truth is that you are not living! For it is only when you summon the courage to conquer your fears that you truly become yourself.

Same goes for the fear of poverty. Many have been able to achieve their financial goals and aspiration because of the knowledge and fear of what poverty is capable of doing.  I could remember the response of Chude Jideonwo, co-founder and Creative Director of RedSTRAT/The Future Project, when he was asked in an interview–why do you do the things you do? “Besides being a passionate person, a lot of things I do are driven quite seriously by the fear of poverty”, Chude explained. The world is truly a better place because young people like him were afraid, yet they didn’t turn away.

If only Nigerian leaders were afraid. Afraid that their thoughtfulness to looting and insensitivity to the people they govern will one day make Nigeria a failed state, remain permanently on the list of most corrupt nations and of course the sixth most dangerous country in Africa as the case presently is.

Fear helps to focus. Are you asking how? Ok come to think of it, in what circumstance do we catch ourselves extremely focused?  Like me, have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and feel that a housebreaker has found his way into the house, probably because you could hear some imaginary foot steps you can’t account for? Have you ever been chased by a dog before? Did you at that point call for coffee or try to remember the movie you saw last? Absolutely No!

We avoid and deny fear, feeling we would be better off without it. We forget that it’s from the artificially induced fear from adventure that we gather the greatest emotional excitement. Simply because it makes us focus, agile and alert. If you check thoroughly, you will discover that there is only a slight difference between fear and excitement. Besides that one is a negative emotion and the other is a positive emotion, it basically boils down to how you see it. The sensation is the same. It’s just that you add a little “oh no!” for fear and oh boy!” for excitement.

Fear helps to check and put balance to things by helping to ask the important question. Such as, hope nothing is missing out? It also helps to concentrate on the most important things and ensure that they are achieved in the shortest time possible. How? Imagine I give you two minutes in the shopping mall to fill in a chopping cart with things of your choice. You know too well to ignore things you can always afford, you don’t even want to say hi and chat away your time with that old friend that just walked in to the mall, simply because you don’t want to waste such an ample opportunity.

In the same vein I strongly feel that we should be afraid of missing out of life ‘cos we only have about 70 years to grab all we can. And come to think of it, life expectancy over here is estimated to be forty-eight years, and you must be reminded that that was before bombing started.

We should be afraid that we just might be focusing on the trifles and frivolities of life alone.

It’s worth noting that no one on the death bed regrets not having enough sex, wine, food, shoes or designer wears. What many regret at such point is; not having spent enough time with loved-ones, not having spent time in the most productive way possible, and not having made enough significant impact in the lives of others essentially when they had the opportunity.

On the other hand, some types of fear that are excessive can inflict severe pain and anguish, but majority of the daily fears we encounter are basically illusions and many of them shouldn’t be given more attention than television commercials and the jumbo size election year promises of fresh air and  transformation

‘Lanre Olagunju

@Lanre_Olagunju on Twitter

#INSIGHTWITHLARIGOLD runs on every Saturday.






About the author


Lanre Olagunju is an hydrologist turned freelance journalist. He has a degree in hydrology from the University of Agriculture Abeokuta and a professional diploma in journalism from the American College of Journalism. Lanre advocates on several international platforms for the prosperity and absolute well-being of the African continent. He's @Lanre_Olagunju on Twitter

  • Niyi-Leigh Olajide

    Fear!!! (Can feel my heart thumpimg). The fear of poverty I so much agree is a great source of motivation. Though, as much as a lot of success stories and inventions can be attributed to it, it also is responsible for numerous social vices. Common to we nigerians are the fears of the Nigerian police, KAI, LASTMA(which every lagosian knows to be the beginning of wisdom) , and recently added to the pack is the fear of BH. However, there are some kind of fears that was not mentioned. The kind that either takes you to the psyche or your pastor. “The fear of the UNKNOWN”. Nice one larigold!

  • you come forget primal instinct bros, everything that man has today or would tomorrow is a result of fear. Religion don’t get me wrong here pls (also is a result of fear). Fire because man feared darkness and all things associated with it. How how project be guy should I expect something soon?