Fear may just be one of the most beautiful and adaptive aspects of who we are. If we don't feel fear, we're not cautious. If we're not cautious, we're not safe. Without fear, we might walk into oncoming traffic or unlock the door for the intruder brandishing a knife. Or was there a third variable that was rising both tides, as Andrew suspected? It was a conundrum he could not untangle until he met a man named Steve Craft. Steve was born in a very frosty part of northern Illinois. He graduated high school with great grades and some college offers. But Steve just wasn't ready for more school, so instead of college he got a job driving a tractor. The plan was to spend a year doing this, make some money, and then go to school. Somehow, ten years slipped by, until one day, sitting on that tractor in the dead of winter, Steve had an epiphany. I realized: I don't need to do this anymore, Steve recalls. He decided in that moment that he was going to become a rocket scientist. Steve is now a deputy director at NASA. Miss W comes to Miss E's defense, albeit in a way which is somewhat patronizing, indicating that Miss E may not be capable of understanding the implications of her own reactions. Miss E: No, I'm glad she said that because I wasn't truly aware of the fact that I was so completely identifying with my clients even when I practically said as much before. I've got to give this a lot more thought. Mr Y: It's funny, but all this gives me a new slant on some of the methods I've been using. I've sure been taking the responsibility away from my clients. I've been spoon-feeding some of them without realizing it.

All along I've injected, or projected or both. That is, I've projected my own feelings of dependence out on my clients. I guess I've got to talk this thing over carefully with someone and work through these problems more fully. These excerpts are rather typical of the personalized problem-solving type of learning which goes on in a student-centered course. Without fear, we don't have our defenses up when discrimination rears its head, allowing it to permeate deeper into our psyche. Last week, I accompanied a fat friend to her doctor's appointment. She has a history of being traumatized in health care settings, with the medical community dismissing her problems and treating her to yet another weight loss lecture (even when she had the flu! No wonder she feels fearful every time she articles an appointment. In the past, she gave in to her fear, postponing medical care and not getting the help she needed. When she was able to listen to her fear, on the other hand, she was empowered to put a strategy in place to help get the care she needed. Let's stop glorifying fearlessness. Instead of running from our fear, we can listen to it and find the wisdom. We can use our fear to validate that yes, sometimes the world is unsafe and we are treated in harmful ways. That awareness will help us build our resilience and make thoughtful choices about going forward. So why NASA? Andrew asked. Why not go to the private sector where you'd make more money? I interviewed in all those places, Steve said. But NASA was the only place that said I wouldn't have to wear a tie to work. Andrew laughed, but he knew there had to be more, so he pressed.

Why stay with NASA even now, when he could go anywhere he wanted and cash out, live a cushy life? I thought about it, Steve replied. But I'll never leave NASA, because I wake up every morning knowing that I am contributing to the welfare of my nation. There it was: having a deep sense of meaning and purpose was what fueled Steve's job satisfaction--and the job satisfaction of thousands of other government employees. If they also help to suggest the minimal but highly significant behavior of the leader, then they will have conveyed a description of the experience as we have come to understand it. To one who is used to highly organized classroom presentations, the discussion may seem loose, may appear to jump from topic to topic. This is certainly true, but it is probable that this fluid, exploratory, even confused type of advance is more deeply characteristic of learning as it occurs, than the dead systematization of learning after the fact. One of the things we have learned as instructors is that if the leader is uncomfortable at leaving issues Here, as for Mr B in number 16, Miss E is working ahead on the problem of understanding herself, particularly herself in relation to her ideas about counseling. She rejects the protection offered by Miss W, and moves ahead to develop a somewhat painful insight. Clearly this is only the start of the learning she will achieve from this situation. This is the first contribution of Mr Y during this hour, but it illustrates a process we have learned to expect. The person who is not verbally expressing himself in a class situation may nevertheless be participating at a deep and significant level. Sometimes this becomes evident in the course, through remarks like that of Mr Y. When we don't listen to our fear, on the other hand, we lose its protective benefit and the potential for harm worsens. Fears about this article and how it would turn out alerted me to the manuscript's deficiencies and the need for continued editing. It led me to share the manuscript with others and get feedback. It helped me create a better article. How can you harness your fear for your own moment of greatness? THE BIOLOGY OF FEAR

When we describe fear as being in our heads, I don't think many of us imagine physical structures. Fear is acutely physical. As we saw in article 2, the amygdala, part of the limbic system (your emotional brain), is often referred to as the fear center. The amygdala's job is to attach emotional significance to objects or events to form what are essentially emotional memories. After that, Andrew went on to ask thousands of people why they stay in their jobs. The answers fell into three buckets, or three levels. The higher you go on the level of job connection, the greater your job satisfaction. Even better, this connection is a stress fighter: the greater your connection to your work, the better you cope with stressful situations and the day-to-day pressures of the job. It creates a resilience that changes how you see stressful work situations, transforming them into just intense work situations. Nothing more, nothing less. In other words, they demand your talents, energies, and focus--but they no longer force you to sacrifice your equilibrium in the process. As you see, it's in your best interest to be as connected to your job as you can. So what's the secret? How do we move up in level? Sometimes it may only come out in a paper at the end of the course, or the instructor may not learn the meaning it has had for the individual until long after the course is over. If, however, the leader can tolerate the uncertainty, the divided views, the unresolved issues which the group has brought out, and if the class hour (and indeed the course) is ended without any attempt to bring an artificial closure, then the individual members of the group carry on very vital thinking outside of the class hours. The issues have been raised, some of their former conceptions and gestalts have been unsettled, they need to find some resolution of the situation, they recognize that the teacher will not give an authoritative answer to the problem, and hence there is only one alternative -- to learn and learn and learn, until they have reached at least a temporary solution for themselves. And because they have achieved it for themselves, and recognize all too clearly the imperfect steps by which it was achieved, this temporary solution can never have the fixity that it would have had if it had been authoritatively pronounced by a professor. Therefore, instead of becoming a fixed point, a barrier to future learning, it is instead merely a step, a way-station on the road to further learning. This aspect is keenly experienced by the students in such courses.

One student stated, at the end of such a course: All my life I've made a ceremony of burning my notes at the end of a course, to show I was finished with it; Further Illustrations of Process To some it will seem unfortunate that the foregoing illustration is from a course in which counseling is the subject and the concepts of client-centered therapy a frequent topic of discussion. The question may be raised as to whether these concepts influenced the process of learning. Connected to numerous other parts of the brain, the amygdala can provoke a quick response, so quick that no conscious thought can outrun it. In fact, in less than a tenth of a second it can stimulate a surge of epinephrine, causing a racing heart, muscle tension, and sweating. When your anxiety feels out of control, blame it on the amygdala. Your amygdala is on the lookout for potential harm, and as you go about your day, it pays attention to sights, sounds, and events that you may not be consciously focusing on. If it senses danger, it can trigger the fight-or-flight response. It's late at night, you're home alone, and you hear a noise at the front door. Maybe it's the wind. Or maybe it's a burglar trying to get in. There are two pathways that activate simultaneously when your brain senses you are in danger, as in the above scenario. The first path is immediate and almost entirely autonomic, meaning that it's on autopilot, not filtered through the thinking brain. That's easy. The key to connection is to find your contribution. The Three Levels of Work Connection Level One: I'm here for the pay and benefits. Level Two: I need the pay and benefits, but I also like the work, the challenge it presents, and my colleagues. Level Three: I need the paycheck, I like the work and my colleagues, but there's something else.