Fear as function of context

The Dow Jones dropped over 1,000 points today, the third biggest point loss in its history. 

The reason for the decline? Well, it’s the same reason every time: fear. This time we are fearful about the fallout from the Coronavirus. 

Fear is a big problem for us. Fear encourages us make bad decisions. Fear keeps us in our routines. Fear is too quick to squelch unknown great alternatives for known good ones. 

But fear, like everything else, is a function of context.

I watched a Warren Buffett interview this morning. He was talking about how the stocks of great companies are essentially on sale.

So in one context the market is signaling fear, and in another context the market is signaling opportunity. Same market. Different context.

For leaders the point is this: Fear is always the fast and easy context for any situation. But if we can push past the automatic fear response, there may be another way to frame the situation. A frame that would lead to different decisions and, ultimately, a different outcome.

Context matters.

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on February 24, 2020

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