Michael Stemmler, guest columnist

As our two full weeks of fall weather come to a close, the changing of the leaves and rapidly dropping temperature can mean one thing – it’s the season of spook. Droves of young, excited students leave their dorms for a weekend fully documented by Instagram captions to match their group costume theme.

Whether you were a construction worker, Lebron James or a cat, the spooky season is much more than just putting on a costume for one weekend. It’s a month of pumpkin spice everything, a trip to Butterfield Farms, and dreading every midterm that just so happens to fall within the same week. Yet, the last aspect of spook that so many people chase can be summed by one word: fear.

Scary movies, haunted houses and creepy costumes are just the main aspects, for when it comes to October, people cannot get enough of it. There are mainly two types of people in regards to fear – those who love it and those who hate it. This is either the most exhilarating part of Halloween or the worst. For me personally, being one of those people who can’t even watch scary movie previews, it’s the part I dread the most.

Fear – a very simple concept, but one that takes such a dominant role within our lives. It’s easy to have but extremely hard to conquer. However, during the 11 other months of the year, how often do we let fear control our lives? This phenomenon is called the voice of judgement, and it deters us from pursuing ideas or passions that just seem crazy. Whether there is a high chance of failure or a goal goes against public opinion, our voice of judgement is often what holds us back from achieving greatness.

Tim Ferris, who gave a TED talk titled “Why you should define your fears instead of your goals,” proposed the idea of “the premeditation of evils” or fear-scaping. Here, when faced with a dilemma, instead of looking at the pros and cons of a situation, the worst possible outcomes are looked at.

Once the doomsday scenario is found, the next step is to find all the ways to stop that from happening, which is often the result of inaction. Then, looking at the worst scenarios, the final step is to find every way to either fix or lessen the damage done by the worst possible scenario.

With this chart laid out, it’s easy to see that the worst impact a doomsday scenario has is often extremely minuscule. Looking at the long run, the next process is to evaluate the consequences of inaction over the span of six months, one year and even up to three years. Here, the results of inaction are often scarier than carrying out the fear itself.

In the end, by using these tools, fears in general are made so insignificant that it should make us question why we have them at all. While the season of spook is ending, there is still plenty of time to start challenging your fears. These don’t have to be huge life decisions, but even the smallest fears that dominate our lives.

For me, I’ll always be terrified of scary movie previews and my heart will still stop at jump scares, but even though I’ll refuse to partake in those, working to fight the voice of judgement is something we all should challenge.

stemmlmf@miamioh.edu

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