Courage Through Curiosity

Counterbalance Fear with Curiosity

Sally’s stomach churned with fear whenever she thought of the discussion she needed to have with her partner.  She always felt a little unsure of herself when they disagreed and she often found herself backing down. If she could only reduce her fear, she could stop putting off the interaction and state her case clearly and calmly.


 “Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” – James Stephens 


It’s great that Sally was experiencing her fear ahead of her upcoming conversation because that gives her time to get curious. Curiosity counterbalances fear and anxiety by changing your focus to other ways of looking at the fear-inducing thing. This wider viewpoint and deeper insight can make that daunting thing less scary and intimidating.


Question Yourself and Cultivate Curious Thinking

Fear naturally shuts down creative, curious thinking, so your first step is to stop and take a deep breath. Locate where in your body you are experiencing that fear and put your attention there as you breathe out. Ask yourself whichever of these questions fit your circumstance:

  • What could be the benefit of this fear? It could be a signal to stop and get curious. Is it also a signal for you to prepare more? Think about the issue differently? Get more information?
  • What would give me more confidence as I speak? Could it be more information? Standing confidently? Giving yourself a pre-discussion pep talk? Understanding that he’s got his own fears and vulnerabilities?
  • What do I need to see about this person that can help me connect with her? What are his concerns? Fears?
  • What do I need to see about this situation that can help me view it in a broader context? Is she being pressured by someone? Is there something in his private or work life concerning him?
  • What do I want to get out of this interaction? What matters most to me? Thinking about your highest goal and also your bottom line help you get clear about where you stand. What specific things can you do to achieve those goals?
  • What strengths do I have that can contribute to a positive outcome in this situation? You might want to list them and remind yourself of them before your interaction.

These questions are only examples of ways to approach your situation with curiosity. I’d love to hear what questions you have asked yourself to quell your fears and make a positive impact on your situation—please share your insights below!

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