Everyone experiences these six universal fears as part of their human journey. Those who overcome or at least manage their fears are those who find enjoyment and often success in life
Six universal fears that to some extent drive every person on planet earth are:
- Do I have what it takes? – The fear of not being good enough. This question lurks in the mind of every person, no matter how confident and successful they appear outwardly. My experience speaking with highly successful people confirms this. Their success does not mean they have no fear. They have had to learn how to manage their fear. And success never totally eradicates this nagging fear which is the basis of self-doubt.
- Am I lovable? – The fear of being rejected. In an ideal world loving parents in the first 10 years of a child’s life instill the love and security that minimises this fear. However, then we all need to relearn this all over again as awkward teens finding our place in the schoolyard. Everyone fears rejection at some stage of their life. Developing a strong sense of self, a realistic view of your strengths and limitations, and learning how to build strong relatonships seem to be the best ways to keep this deepest of all universal fears caged.
- Do I belong? – The fear of being isolated from community. Linked to the fear of rejection is this sense that many have that they do not belong. Everyone wants to and needs to belong. Human beings thrive best in healthy community. The challenge is to be part of community diverse enough to allow you to be fully individual. The tension between our personal growth journey and belonging to community is one of life’s challenges. It is amazing where rejected people find a sense of belonging. This is the origin of all tribes, gangs, groups and online communities. People who feel so deeply unlovable that they choose to isolate themselves from initmate relationship can become more intimate with fantasy worlds like video games or pornography. Some prefer a pet for safe connection.
- Will I have enough? – The fear of lack. This fear lies deep within all of us. It is not always based on the amount of resources we have acquired. The fourth of the universal fears drives many people to hoard, to steal, to grasp after things. This fear binds people and kills community. Healthy community works from generousity that is based in love. When we start life feeling rejected and isolated then the fear of lack can really kick in. People often become hard, self-focused and dehumanised by poverty. I’m not sure why poverty is seen by some as a spiritual quality. The fear of lack is best conquered by being generous, building great relationships, and finding a strong sense of purpose for your life.
- Does my life have a purpose? – The fear that my life does not really matter. Finding a personal sense of purpose is where we often gain the courage to face our fears and take on the world. People thrive best as part of community with a sense of purpose. Employees are more motivated when they are part of an effective team where they believe they are making a difference in the world. Work becomes meaningful when it is linked to purpose. Life becomes meaningful when it is linked to purpose.
- What if I miss out? – The fear of missing out (FOMO). This has been added to the list of universal fears over the past 30 years. As the world has become smaller in the age of technology, jet travel, 24/7 news cycles, and the global economy there are just so many options available. This has led to a fear of saying ‘No!’ However it has also led to the inability to focus. Many people have more information at their finger tips than ever, but do not have the focus or discipline to know what to do to build a life.
Which universal fears affect you the most?
Would you add any universal fears to this list?