The five types of fear slowing your progress in life

2 min readAug 5, 2020

Fear is a powerful emotion. In the face of danger, it prepares us to respond with a fight or flight response. However, certain modern-day fears prevent us from living our best life. This is not an exhaustive list but the ones that have been prevalent in my own life.

Fear of failure

Goals achieved are rewarded, in the form of grades, promotions and external recognition. In a society where wins are applauded, there is little incentive to try and fail. There is a pervasive feeling of shame if we ventured out of our comfort zone and failed. In a structured schooling system, achievement is recognised on successful passes in chosen subjects. In the working world, failing at a job is akin to being incompetent at a professional life. We have not been encouraged from an early age to simply try and not been reassured that it is OK to fail.

Fear of the unknown

The irony of fearing the unknown is that we are all deeply aware of not knowing what the future holds. Yet, we are uncomfortable with the feeling of uncertainty. A false sense of security allows us to naively go about our daily routine. As humans, we hate change and will do everything in our power to stay in the status quo.

Fear of rejection

The fear of getting hurt is so real that we hesitate to ask. We might be brimming with ideas that stay stuck with us, scared of being turned away. What if we ask someone out and he/she refuses our advances? Then we are left with a feeling of being exposed and vulnerable. What if we send that business proposal and they do not like it? Being rejected affects our self-esteem and leave us with a sense of not being good enough.

Fear of being criticised

Anything worth pursuing will bring about its own share of criticism. Even the best work will attract negative comments. With the advent of social media, it has become common practice to criticise and express disapproval, on public platforms. The fear of having our work judged, even if it is constructive feedback, can stop us dead in our tracks from showing anything we have produced.

Fear of playing big

We sometimes prefer to squash our dreams or keep our opinions to ourselves. Often it is due to a conservative upbringing, where we have been conditioned to feel safe by staying in our lane. We tone down opinion or our talents, so as not to upset anyone or make the world uncomfortable. We refuse to acknowledge the power of our own presence for fear of imposing ourselves and sadly, resolve to playing small.


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