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The Gift of Fear and the Curse of Fearless - Interesting Podcast

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This goes a little to mental training. I listen to podcasts when I run every morning and lately I've been way into NPR's "Invisibilia" podcast. This morning was on the topic of fear, how prevalent it is in our (American) culture and its benefits and hindrances. It opens with what kind of free range kids had growing up in the 70's - I was given a really free childhood, personally - and how that's very different now, following the kids from the 70's research who are now parents making very different choices for their own kids based on fear. But, they explain, we're "hardwired" to take notice of frightful things; it has evolutionary benefits.

Then they talk about a woman who is literally "fearless." A particular disease causes calcification in the amygdala in the brain and the only emotion it does away with is fear. So she simply cannot feel the emotion; her heart doesn't race, her hands don't sweat, she doesn't get startled by sudden loud noises, etc. Is this being a superhero? Not so much; the doctors who have been studying her for 20+ years now don't give out her real name because it's so dangerous to be fearless. SUPER interesting.

Lastly they cover the common phobia of snakes and why this "unknowable" quality is so creepy to so many people. We're not born with this fear, we have to learn it. And a fellow who has found a solution to overcoming his own fear of rejection by basically becoming really practiced at being rejected. That's a great system and one that is incredibly useful for Muay Thai. I get a lot of people writing to me asking "what's wrong with me?" for being afraid of being hit in sparring. Nothing, man... totally normal. You just have to get used to it; get hit and the fear gets less and less.

Check out the podcast for "Fearless: Invisibilia" and I recommend the entire series.

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Interesting. Lol fear of being hit while sparring was the first thing I thought of while reading through your post. I've seen that so many times when I spar with someone brand new. They usually don't say anything, but you can see they are nervous and doubt themselves a little bit. Putting yourself in fearful situations (controlled fearful situations), is the only way to overcome them in my eyes.

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  • 1 year later...

Well, they say that courage is impossible without fear: it's the act of overcoming your fear. And heroes are the people who overcome that fear for that extra couple of seconds.

When I'm sparring (I LOVE sparring) if I start to feel afraid then I grab that fear by the throat and use it to fuel an attack. I'll be damned if I'm going to be afraid in fighting.

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