How Your Fear Of Social Media Can Lead To Death In 10 Steps

Shock Shock Horror Horror

Your fear of using social media may actually be due to your fear of death.

Sound preposterous? Way off base? Absurd? Laughable?

That’s not what Dr. Travis Kemp, one of Australia’s leading performance psychologists and leadership development facilitators thinks.

Fear Is The Barrier

Humans are bad at assessing risk. We let our personal fears guide our decisions instead of logic. Often, we are not even aware that we operating from a position of fear.

Dr. Kemp shared how fear distorts risk management processes during his presentation at the National Stakeholder Engagement and Community Relations Officers’ Forum 2011 in Melbourne.

Kemp says that fear greatly exaggerates the risk of new and different while underrating the risks of tried and true. Fear influences how willing people are to consider new ideas, accept change and adopt new approaches.

If people are operating out of fear, much of what they do will be skewed towards a place of perceived safety, protection and the familiar. Any change will be perceived as wrong. Their fear will direct them to resist and fight change.

Resistance To Use Of Social Media Due To Fear Of Death

Kemp shared how the resistance to use of social media may be due to the fear of death.

Here’s a typical thought process for an association executive adapted from Kemp’s original example.

  1. Social media is new and different.
  2. I don’t understand social media well enough to understand the risks and pitfalls.
  3. Since I don’t understand the risks and pitfalls, I might make mistakes or allow mistakes to be made.
  4. Mistakes will embarrass and diminish the reputation of our organization.
  5. If the organization or its leadership is negatively impacted by use of social media, I will be held responsible.
  6. If I am held responsible for a social media mistake, I will lose the respect and confidence of my Board of Directors.
  7. If I lose the respect and confidence of my Board of Directors, I could lose my job.
  8. If I lose my job I could lose my house, family and friends.
  9. If I am left homeless and friendless, I am likely to die.
  10. Therefore, if I use or allow the use of social media, I am likely to die.

Do you think Dr. Kemp is stretching it regarding why some people fear using social media? How do we get people to operate from a place of confidence and self-assurance instead of fear?

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  1. justin locke says:

    Impeccable logic. 🙂 Lol.

    Overcoming embarrassment. Well, since I wrote a book on the subject, I shall weigh in.

    Many people fear embarrassment more than death itself. Condemnation and/or ridicule can be very unpleasant. For some, especially children, it can be as terrifying as death.

    There are many “pluses” to the fear of embarrassment. It keeps people in line. It maintains order. It makes us buy all kinds of personal care products.

    It is a very real fear, it is ubiquitous, and it is powerful. Further, and this is really key, the fear of embarrassment– and embarrassment itself– is used as a primary motivation in all sorts of training and indoctrination methods. Many people have experienced severe embarrassment to the point of it qualifying as trauma. Undoing it requires treating it as such.

    A large part of my artistic/musical training (pro level only I’m afraid) was about managing the fear of embarrassment. Imho, the fear of embarrassment is the greatest impediment to creativity and personal fulfillment, and the ability to manage it, not talent, was the real difference between successful performers and the many also-rans.

    It’s like any other fear, if you work at it you can learn to function in spite of it. But it is a large topic, and is one of my primary presentations. –jl

  2. Adrian Segar says:

    Jeff, this kind of descending argument can be made for any kind of fear that arises from a self-limiting belief: e.g. “I must not make mistakes”, “I must always be in control”, “I must please everyone”, “I must always be natural and spontaneous” etc.

    It’s helpful to remember that much FEAR comes from False Expectations Appearing Real.

    Similar fears inhibit many in our industry from experimenting with different event designs as well. As in the case of embracing social media, a safe introductory experience is the best antidote.

    1. Jeff Hurt says:

      The fear of rejection is a powerful force for sure. It’s only when we become self-confident and realize that mistakes are part of learning and nothing to be embarrassed about do we overcome that fear. It’s sad that fear and the fear of embarrassment is used in training and indoctrinational methods. As you said it is a real fear!

      Thanks for sharing your perspective on this and that managing fear is the difference between successful performers and non-successful ones.

      I like what you said, “Similar fears inhibit many in our industry from experimenting with different event designs…” I’m with you that a safe introductory experience is the best antidote.

      Thanks for reading and commenting! Always appreciate it.

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