Pricing in the Fear Factor – Emotional Pro

April 20th, 2006

Yesterday, I listened to NPR as I drove to and from my office to see my psychotherapy clients. Everyone was talking about the incredible, swift rise in the cost of oil, up to $72 per barrel yesterday, more than 82 cents per gallon rise in a single week. As this was discussed, the commentator mentioned that the current price of oil included what he claimed the industry calls “pricing in the fear factor.”
I’m not totally sure what the industry means by this term, but it struck me, once again, how much of a part emotions play in our lives. The price you are paying at the pump today has been influenced by people’s fear. Is it the fear of the producers that they won’t make a large enough margin of profit during the time they shut down refineries in order to put in the “summer additives”? Is it the fear of consumers that they won’t have gas to fuel their cars and their lifestyle? The fear of truck drivers, airlines and plastics producers that their products will become so expensive they’ll be driven out of business? I don’t know. Perhaps it is all of these. The point, of course, is that our world, on this daily and worldwide basis, is driven by fear!
IF we look at our world as a “giant school,” as we advocate in “Born to Learn,” then we still have not learned our lesson(s) regarding fear. My booklet, “99 Tips for Mastering Fear” was written shortly after 9/11 due to my concern that the lesson of “fear” had now come up in a big way and it was time for us to learn the lesson, or else continue to have one fear-ridden situation after another follow on the heels of 9/11, with subsequent fear situations increasing in pain (if that is possible!). As usual, we humans are taking our time. We have not recognized that the REAL thing to do is conquer our own fear. We will continue to get hit with “fear lessons” until we learn to put faith in place of fear.
Fear and Faith are opposites. I’m not talking about religious faith, necessarily. The faith we need to exercise (which does, actually, include an acknowledgment of “something larger than ourselves) is the type that allows us to go to sleep at night with faith that we’ll awaken the next morning, the faith that if we drive on the freeway on our way to work, we’ll traverse it safely, the faith that if we board an airplane it will descend safely from the sky and not fall in the middle of the flight and kill us, or the faith that we can make change in the way we live our lives and we will still be okay. Until we daily put faith in place of fear, our world will continue to “price in the fear factor.” Is that the world you want to live in?
Personally, I no longer live there. When I turned 50, I realized I had lived on the basis of fear for all those 50 years. There were reasons, for sure, including my grandmother’s voice, which had repeated during my childhood such things as “Don’t do that, for fear….” By age 50 I had grown weary of greeting everything in my life with fear. That’s when I learned that faith can be put in place of fear. I write about how to do this is “99 Tips for Mastering Fear” and in “Born to Learn.” I am radically different now that fear no longer dominates me and my daily life. Our world will be a much better place when we all, individually and collectively, stop “pricing in the fear factor” into our personal and collective lives.

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