Thursday, September 24, 2015

Channelize your fear

I read this article in Harvard Business Review, the other day, about points to consider for newly appointed managers. It started with the understanding that being in a managerial role, one is armed with a very potent weapon i.e. fire. Fire here is a metaphor for power. The power to execute. The power to influence. How one uses that fire will depend on success and failure. One of the points mentioned ‘taking counsel for fears’. It is said that fear is normal and if you aren’t scared, you shouldn’t be trusted with fire.

This line turns our usual understanding upside-down. Logic says that if you aren’t scared, you should be the one entrusted with fire. The new concept being explained here looks at the practical and underlying aspect of human psychology. Not the superficial one. The common catchphrase that when one doesn’t have anything to lose then they become free from fear, is wrong. Rather it makes them more callous. It also makes them think that others too aren’t fearful. The self-reference criteria sets in.

Fear of failure makes you take calculated risks. It doesn’t make you look at the best solution but the optimum solution. Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises shows this in an apt manner through Batman’s prison escape sequence. The rope acted as a safety net resulting in lack of fear. As soon as the rope was done away with, fear of failure set in. This made his resolve even harder. There were no second chances.

Not technically alike to Goebbels law, but a set of beliefs followed by the crowd does result in a ‘don’t-question-the-belief’ syndrome.