Correction On the scary shortcomings of “fearless” philosophies.

Correction On the scary shortcomings of “fearless” philosophies.

  • Words Katie Calautti
  • Photograph E. E. McCollum

Fighting fear is a lucrative industry. The US personal development market is projected to be worth over $13 billion by 2022, and niche organizations focusing on fearless living and courage coaching have cropped up within it. “Master fear,” these gurus advise. “Re-wire your fear-based habits!” 

But is the mastery of fear a worthwhile goal? Fear is a survival mechanism—a protection against the threat of physical violence, but also an internal GPS guiding us away from people and things that don’t serve us and reminding us to live life to its fullest.So a healthy dose of fear can actually do a world of good.

On a base level, fear reminds us that we’re alive, and confronting it creates resilience. When we experience a threat, it’s followed by the euphoria of release when ...

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