Every situation has a silver lining – discover a mindset that heals and enlightens.

October 11, 2021 · 7 min read

people fear what they don‘t understand
Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. - Marie Curie

Fear is leading people‘s lives.


Do you believe that fears limit your true potential and possibilities?


Are you afraid of missing out on something but you still don‘t want to step into the unknown?


The truth is that a lot of us are set in a cage of fear because of uncertainty. It‘s a natural instinct of human to stay away from dangers and seek for shelter.

Fear is like a shadow in the moonlight. Until you don‘t know what that is, you fear. When the lights switch on, you suddenly become confident.


Here we will discuss what are the reasons of fearing what people don‘t understand and how to overcome those fears.

8 Signs you fear what you don‘t understand

Here are the signs that shows whether a person fears what he doesn‘t understand:

  1. Avoiding learning something knew.
  2. Having low self-esteem.
  3. Not believing that overcoming obstacles help you to grow.
  4. Living a comfortable lifestyle and avoiding risks.
  5. Often thinking negatively.
  6. Having big ego and avoiding to hurt it.
  7. Prefering minimalistic life.
  8. Avoiding new technology.

Why People Fear What They Don‘t Understand?

People fear what they don‘t understand because of a chance to get hurt. People fear being vulnerable and choose comfort instead.


Fear is also born from lack of knowledge and being too ignorant.  The key to overcome fear of not understanding is to have an open mind.

Do people fear absolutely everything that they don‘t understand?

Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it. - Bill Cosby

People don‘t fear everything that they don‘t understand if that doesn‘t threaten them. For example, a person won‘t be threatened by not knowing how to play chess or not knowing how to properly eat with chopsticks.


Generally speaking, fears live in every of our hearts but they don‘t hurt us that much for us to fear them.

6 Human qualities of a person that fears of not understanding

Here are 6 human qualities which can determine that a person fears of not understanding:

  1. Anxious.
  2. Cautious.
  3. Doubtful.
  4. Ignorant.
  5. Sensitive.
  6. Indecisive.

10 Reasons why people fear of what they don‘t understand

1. The reward is too low

Imagine being offered to cross through a long and loose bridge for $50. Most likely majority of people would decline the offer.


On the other hand, if you were offered $1,000,000, a lot of people would be interested and would gladly take the risk for this chance.

people fear what they don‘t understand

What I’m trying to say is if the stimulus would be much higher, people would fear less of what they don’t know. Even if their fear level wouldn’t change at all, the desire to acquire the reward would be much higher than the fear itself.


A practical example is the cryptocurrency trend. There are lots of people that put their entire savings into cryptocurrency portfolio.

Nobody can really understand cryptocurrency trends. They are very volatile and hard to predict. Thus, people are definitely afraid of losing their hard-earned money, but the desire and drive to become rich quick is much greater.

2. Low confidence level

A common problem to a lot of life areas is having too low confidence level. Low self-esteem makes you feel incompetent, inadequate. Such people are afraid to make mistakes and letting other people down.


Low confidence is one of the main elements that make people fear of new challenges. Some people might have “not good enough” mentality.

We should all start to live before we get too old. Fear is stupid. So are regrets. - Marilyn Monroe

For an instance, a person that has never driven a car will be very anxious driving it for the first time. Higher confidence level would ease the anxiety and perhaps would even aid to perform better.


The more a person will drive a car, the more confident he’ll become as the fear of unknown decreases.

3. Less ambitions

Having little expectations from life makes people to risk less. If you have settled with the idea that you’ll live mediocre life and don’t see the need to experience something more exciting, you’ll be living a compromised life in fears.


These people might mock what they don’t understand and call it a day. Comments like “that’s non-sense, why would anyone risk that” or “I’m fine with what I have” are what you could expect from less ambitious people.


By all means I’m not implying that it’s a bad lifestyle be less ambitious. People should choose what suits them the best. Not everyone wants to be a high achiever.


Instead, such person might prefer living life stress-free by thinking less about risks and taking less of them.

4. Preference of comfort over risk

A person on a couch is like a fish in the sea. That’s their natural habitat.


However, a person can leave his couch and embrace more challenges unlike a fish. Nevertheless, it’s common that people choose comfort over risk.

People that avoid risks often regret their decisions later in life. Thoughts like: “Where would I be now if I took that one huge risk in life?” cross over their minds. They lack success mindset to cross their fears.

5. Being afraid to be hurt

Perhaps the most common reason is the fear of getting hurt.


People can get hurt in many ways: financially, mentally or physically, and relationship wise.


People avoid being exposed emotionally and being exposed to uncertainty in general. Getting hurt is unavoidable and we all experience it in some way.

Ultimately, we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom. - Marilyn Ferguson

While getting hurt is emotionally painful, it allows us to understand better the other side of life.


A very brief example: when you were living with parents, you probably didn’t value the safety this lifestyle provided. Once you entered the world on your own, you started valuing the certainty living with parents even more than ever before.


Nevertheless, a lot of people rather choose living independently to gain a sense of freedom and ownership of their own lives. Taking risks have their own benefits and drawbacks.

6. Being driven by stereotypes

This is a very common stereotype that flying by plane is much riskier than driving a car.


That sounds fair enough, right?


However, according to the National Safety Council statistics the odds of crashing a car is 1 in 98 in a lifetime. On the other hand, crashing in a plane odds are 1 in 7178 in a lifetime. Therefore, flying by plane is significantly safer.

The stereotypes are born from a lot of things:

  • Rumors from other people.
  • Trusting only common sense.
  • Lack of interest on statistical data.
  • Stereotypes of society.

… and many more.


Therefore, don’t count on stereotypes. Always try to validate them.

7. Ignorance

In this case, people simply reject what they don’t understand. They don’t even bother.


For example, it’s very easy to judge other professionals for their mistakes. Most of us fear getting a surgery. It’s a very complicated procedure.


However, there are people who are blaming surgeons, anesthesiologists, GPs and other specialists without realizing how much years, sweat and tears have to go into acquiring such specialty.

The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next. - Mignon McLaughl

Certainly, there are people that just don’t really understand their field despite of studying many years.  However, in most cases people are just simply judgmental of others.


Ignorance is simply a choice to stay blind and try to avoid a fear at all costs.

8. Being wired to negativity

Just by hearing word “fear” some people might associate with pain and other negative thoughts.


If you really think about it, fear can be exciting in some scenarios.


Picture this: you are going to skydive for the first time in your life. That’s something that a lot of us can confirm to be exciting and scary (in a good way).

fear of not understanding

Perhaps you might be starting a business for the first time of your life. That provokes fear but is also exciting at the same time.


You won’t need to come back the next Monday to the work that you hated so much. Instead, you’ll have your own working hours and you’ll be your own boss. That’s one of the ways to overcome scarcity mindset.


Wiring fear with positivity is essential. Some of those fears can be under control and can reap us some sweet fruits of experience and joy.

9. Having no experience

The first job, university, relationship, real estate purchase, etc., might be intimidating and we might be fearful as a result. Nevertheless, the more experience we acquire, the more familiar we get with the environment. The more experience we obtain, the more knowledgeable we get.


Consequently, we have faith in ourselves more and we have less uncertainty in our fears.

Therefore, the less people experience have on a certain subject, the more fears and doubts they have.

10. Afraid to hurt personal ego

People avoid jumping into uncertainty not to make fools out of themselves, or at least that’s that they believe.


The reality is that people who take a leap of faith into the unknown are respected the most. People that are watching and doing nothing are simply being neutral to the environment.

Everything is so dangerous that nothing is really very frightening. - Gertrude Stein

People who fear what they don’t know and embrace their fears improve self-respect and increase their knowledge.

5 Ways to overcome fear of not understanding

1. Research

The simplest way to overcome fear of not understanding is to enlighten yourself about your fear. Try to answer to these questions by using science:

  • What’s the worst that can happen?
  • What are the chances of happening the worst scenario?
  • What are the potential benefits of overcoming my fear?
  • How will my life change after I overcome the fear?

Then, have a quick thought if it’s really worth facing your fear. Perhaps it was enough for you just to understand and have a better grasp of the fear, which is fine too. Sometimes easing your mind can help reduce stress and face the fear with more self-confidence.

2. Just dive in

If you know that your fear doesn’t threaten you and is just a psychological barrier, then another way could be just to face your fear directly.


The way you could do that is to break that into manageable chunks so that you wouldn’t overwhelm yourself.

people reject what they don't understand

A common example is fear of driving. Usually, we start from the beginning which means we get to know our fear by learning theory. Then, we do some practical driving with an instructor and only then we drive on our own.


You should approach your fear similarly. Find a mentor if necessary.

3. Approach with humor

Humor can minimize the effect a fear has on you. For an instance, what ridiculous jokes could you make about fearing heights and being in a tall tower?

I might be arrested for peeing my pants up there”


“Seriously, I should stop looking down on people”


and other jokes which you might find funny. Humor is a great way to ease the stress and anxiety.

4. Find value in fear

Pain is something that everyone tries to avoid religiously.


However, overcoming pain can be a valuable lesson. For example, you finally manage to make a public speech. Now you feel more confident in yourself and you feel less anxiety when facing another public speech.

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. - Franklin D. Roosevelt

In addition, you’ll improve your flow of speech, learn how to structure your thoughts.  While fears can sometimes hurt, often times you’ll feel a big relief and value after you face them.

I’d highly suggest watching Jordan Peterson speaking on topic how to beat fear and anxiety:

5. Seek for inspiration

Identify your fear.


Then, look for groups that share the same fear and how people managed to overcome them. You may find very specific ideas related to your fear.

It will also give you some comfort and someone to relate with about your fears. It makes people feel better that they’re not alone.

Final Words From Delightful Mindset

It’s totally understandable that people fear what they don’t understand. However, in some cases that may result as missing out on something significant that could impact your life positively.

The key to overcome the fears is to start slow and steady. Don’t just dive in if you are very hesitant and haven’t a single drop of knowledge about the fear. Try to understand it first and overcome it in chunks.