Fears Can Be Our Friends: How Phobias Help Us Balance Our Objectives

There are two primary or fundamental fears (phobias) underlying any of the possible secondary fears we might encounter during our lives. The first is the fear of loss of prey, or the fear of losing that which we impulsively desire and seek. Our brains associate this fear with starvation. The second one is the fear of gain of predator, or the fear of that which we instinctually attempt to avoid. Our brains associate this fear with being eaten.

In other words, these two fears represent the loss of that which we are infatuated with, desire or seek and the gain of that which we resent, despise or desire to avoid. All other secondary fears ultimately boil down in essence to one of these two basic phobias.

These two phobic behaviors are still hardwired into our inner, evolutionary animal brain, the amygdala, as basic neuro-emotional survival reflexes or responses. Anything that we attempt to seek or avoid we can fear the loss, or gain of. If we are infatuated with a new romantic partner, we can simultaneously fear their loss. If we resent a disrespectful client that has refused to fully pay our bills, we can simultaneously fear their gain (coming around and wanting more service). If we are infatuated with money, we can fear its loss. If we resent our added weight, we can fear its gain. Anything that we become philic about, or have an affinity for, we can be phobic about its loss and philic about its gain. And anything that we become phobic about, we can be philic about its loss and phobic about its gain. Our attractive philias are inseparable from our repulsive phobias. They are like two inseparable or entangled poles of a bipolar magnet. Whatever we desire to seek, we desire to avoid or repel its opposite.

As with any polarized magnet, there are always two poles, not one. Monopoles do not exist (except possibly momentarily in a Planck’s dimensional quantum vacuum in the early sub-seconds of the birth of the universe). If we were to pursue the acquisition of a one-sided magnet with only a positively charged pole and try to avoid its complementary opposite accompanying negative pole, we would attempt to pursue an objective that would be futile to obtain. We cannot acquire a monopole, except abstractly in our conceptualizing mind — which could be classified as an imaginary fantasy.

The same occurs for the two psychological poles of philia and phobia, or fantasy and nightmare, or any other complementary opposite states of mind. As the Buddha is believed by some to have stated: The desire for that which is unobtainable and the desire to avoid that which is unavoidable is the source of human suffering.

When we are momentarily experiencing a fantasy, infatuation, attraction, or philia, we are making an assumption that we are about to experience through our senses or imagination more positives than negatives. We believe there will be more advantages than disadvantages, more benefits than drawbacks, more gains than losses and more pleasures than pains from some person, event or experience. But this turns out to be our illusion and we eventually awaken to the synchronous and inherent balance that exists within our initial monopolar state of mind.

When we are momentarily experiencing a fear, repulsion, or phobia, we are making an assumption that we are about to experience through our senses or imagination more negatives than positives. We believe there will be more disadvantages than advantages, more drawbacks than benefits, more losses than gains and more pains than pleasures from some person, event or experience. But again this turns out to be our illusion and we eventually awaken to the synchronous and inherent balance within the initial polarized state of mind.

Nature innately provides us with complementary pairs of opposites with each of our experiences. But we subjectively filter out part of our perceptions and divide our full consciousness into conscious and unconscious halves where we subjectively assume more negatives than positives or more positives than negatives are about to be experienced. This initiates a philic or phobic emotional reaction instead of a fully conscious and rational state of poised presence where and when we can be clear and focused on our most meaningful purpose or primary objective.

Now let’s get down to business with all of this basic behavioral insight being stated. If we pursue subjectively-biased fantasies in our lives or careers — those with one-sided polar outcomes (philias) they will assuredly be accompanied by their complementary opposite one-sided polar (phobias) that will simultaneously surface within our minds in order to attempt to keep us balanced, poised or centered. Our minds/brains will not allow us to consciously pursue a one-sided philia without simultaneously bringing into our awareness from the unconscious, the other pole — the other one-sided phobia — to make sure we pursue a fully conscious, truly balanced, reasonable and objective goal that is obtainable. Our minds have entangled memory and anti-memory capacities designed to assure that we are more stable for our maximum potential and survival.

To set truly achievable goals, it is wise to set them with more reasonable and objective perspectives — with whole and balanced views — more than with partial, emotional biases. By understanding and preparing for both sides that accompany true and obtainable goals and by setting up contingency plans for potential obstacles and challenges we might face, we mitigate the risks and clear our minds of their essential compensatory phobias that were destined to accompany the initial philias we may have set. Our phobias are inherently there to assure that we set true and balanced objectives that are meaningful and obtainable. The purpose of strategic planning is to transform impulsively-sought monopolar fantasies into true, reasonable and objective goals where we are ready for both sides of life’s or nature’s balanced equation.

When we have brought our minds into a wise and balanced state through strategically planning our most meaningful goals and mitigating the potential risks associated with our inspiring objectives, we allow our forebrain’s executive center to overrule our amygdala’s immediately gratifying, impulsive and instinctual trials and errors. A masterful leader sets their inspiring goals with objectively-balanced foresight so they are prepared and ready for whatever emerges along their road to ever greater achievement.

Dr. John Demartini, founder of the Demartini Institute, is a human behavioral specialist, educator and international multiple best-selling author.

About The Author

Dr. John Demartini

Dr. John Demartini, one of the world's leading authorities and educators on human behavior and leadership development, is the founder of the Demartini Institute, which offers an extensive curriculum of more than 76 courses on self-development, life mastery and leadership. Demartini's knowledge is the culmination of 46-plus years of cross-disciplinary research, and he travels internationally full time, addressing audiences in media, seminars and consultations. He is the author of more than 40 self-development books, including the bestseller The Breakthrough Experience, and he has produced numerous audio CDs, DVDs and online programs discussing financial and business mastery, relationship development, health and healing, the art of communication and inspiring education and leadership. Demartini has been featured in film documentaries such as “The Secret,” “The Opus,” and “Oh My God” alongside Ringo Starr, Seal and Hugh Jackman. He has also shared the stage with influential educators Stephen Covey, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Steve Wosniak, Tony Fernandez and Donald Trump. He has appeared on “Larry King Live,” “The Early Show” and “Wall Street,” as well as in the publications Shape, Leadership, Success, Prestige, Entrepreneur and O. For editorial consideration, please contact [email protected](dot)com.

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