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Are Your Fears Well Founded?

Written by Zoe Weil | Published on June 27, 2013 | Filed under Humane Connection
The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Humane Education website at http://humaneeducation.org/blog/2013/06/27/fears-founded/

frightened eye

Image courtesy DiskoFaery.

I recently wrote about a mother Black duck and her ducklings who paused to play in a puddle on the grass after a downpour. They played off and on throughout the day, and my husband, Edwin Barkdoll, decided to set up a GoPro video camera to film them. After a few hours, he brought the camera inside to see if the ducks had returned. It was fascinating to see the footage he captured, which he turned into this amazing short clip.

Watching the film was mesmerizing. That tiny camera, no more than a foot high, spooked a fox and a duck.

We all know how challenging change can be; how easy and ubiquitous it is to fear the unknown. This anxiety about what is new and different is a trait we share with many species, formed in our evolutionary past, likely present within our common ancestors. Whether bird or mammal, we are naturally wary of things we do not know or understand.

There are those among us braver, more curious, more precocious. Such people run greater risks but often experience more exciting and innovative achievements.

There are others among us who are more cautious, wary and circumspect. They protect themselves and sometimes the rest of us. We each fall somewhere along a spectrum of wariness and fearlessness.

What’s good to remember is that if we fall on one side of that spectrum, it’s good to push ourselves toward the other end. At least a bit. There is something to be learned from taking risks and pushing past fear, and something to be learned by being careful.

Where do you fall? What can you learn from pushing past your comfort zone?