I always hesitate to define things, because circumstances are always more complicated than the definitions we apply to them. The best way to use definitions is to understand that they are only one way of looking at things out of an infinite number of possible ways.
Here I define fear in two ways. Instinctual fear, and surface fear. Instinctual fear does not use the logical brain, but a combination of our biology, experience, and connectedness to the Universe. It is vastly more intelligent than surface fear, which uses the logical brain. Surface fear keeps people in jobs that hurt their careers and mental health. Surface fear is responsible for societal pressure to do things that aren’t good for you, like taking 10 shots on your birthday because people are buying you drinks. Or pulling three all-nighters because your tyrannical boss asks you to. You might be afraid to not do it out of surface fear of losing your job. Deep down however, your instinctual fear lets you know that this is wrong, and bad for you in the long-term. Some people may use their surface fear to try to rationalize the choice to work on no sleep. I have a family to support. I have great benefits here. Without providing any logical arguments against these thoughts, your Instinctual fear tells you through gut feeling alone that those reasons are irrelevant, and that doing so is wrong.
Have you ever given your self a list of great reasons to do something, but then you don’t do it anyway? Or you do it, and then instantly regret it without a logical reason why? This is a result of your deeper intelligence. By the time you are 30 years old, you have over 262,000 hours of memories stored in your brain. Your logical brain can’t possibly recall many of them simultaneously, but your Instinct can. If you’ve ever gone sky diving for the first time, your logical mind can give you a whole list of reasons why what you are doing is safe. You can recall the statistical improbability of something bad happening. You can go over and over the safety equipment and back up measures that are in place, but when you take that step off the plane for the first time, your Instinctual fear recoils in horror. It recalls watching what happens to objects falling off of high places. It recalls a fall you may have taken from not so great a height that caused an injury, and it provides this information to you in the form of an almost physical barrier to stepping off the plane.
You may feel this same barrier when considering accepting a high paying job with great benefits that you know will provide security for your family, but deep down you know will crush your soul. Your surface fear tells you to take the sure thing, but your instinctual fear strongly grabs hold of you and asks you to reconsider.
The next time you have an important decision to make, recognize the forces working within you, and trust your instinctual fear.