The six basic fears

“There are six basic fears, with some combination of which every human suffers at one tune or another.  Most people are fortunate if they do not suffer from the entire six. Named in the order of their most common appearance, they are:—

The fear of POVERTY

The fear of CRITICISM

The fear of ILL HEALTH (at the bottom of  most of one’s


The fear of OLD AGE
The fear of DEATH

All other fears are of minor importance, they can be grouped under these six headings.”—Napoleon Hill


After a recent speaking engagement, a young man asked if he could have a private word with me.  It turned out that he wished to practice martial arts, but was frustrated, scared, and angry that he would fail as he had before, and even if he succeeded, that he wouldn’t be able to reach his goals.

What were his goals?  Total security, and if he got jumped by three or more people, why, he might fail to defend himself or his family.   Seemed reasonable.

Digging deeper, there was a knot of fear for that family that seemed odd, but I didn’t know him well enough to inquire there.  But as for his personal concerns, he became agitated about the fact that something terrible could happen to the people he loved—a hurricane was mentioned. How do you stop a hurricane?

There was something odd about his body language.  My hind brain was buzzing, warning me that he was thinking about hitting me.   Wow.  Was that a delusion on my part? Possible, but I noticed his hands, bunching and unbunching, and he kept flirting with standing right at my critical distance line.  Could I think of anything I’d done to offend him?

Well…there were a couple of possibilities.  One was the simple monkey-brain hierarchy routine.  He wanted to believe that I might be able to help him, but felt like he needed me to establish dominance before he could trust me.  Yow.  If he throws a punch, and I deck him,   suddenly I’m the alpha.  Schoolyard game. No interest.

And another possibility: I had said that the very first step to healing was self-love.  If he lacked that, or felt that if he looked too deeply within himself he’d find corruption, THAT would certainly cause him to feel agitation at the idea of introspection.  If others (usually the family) had programmed him to believe self-love and “selfishness” are evil, then I was conflicting with core programming. Again, agitation.

The subject of fear came up, because I could see he was in pain where he was, but also frightened to take action.  Depression, in this context, is fear with nowhere to run and nothing to fight.

At the suggestion of fear, his rapid reply was that he wasn’t afraid of death.  I’ll just bet.  It is life that he is terrified of.

Self-love is critical for healing and balance. Without it, you will accept any definitions, any relationships, any actions that will garner praise and support from an external tribe.  But of course, you can take it to extremes, leading to the behaviors called “selfishness”—defined here as an excess of this tendency.

But “selfishness” becomes “altruism” the instant we expand our sense of self.  To a friend, certainly. But opening your heart to a loved one with romantic/sexual dimensions is even more powerful. Such love connection is the core relationship at the heart of all human society.   This programming creates the pair bond that makes us protect the children created by sexual activity.  Sex itself is a melting of the ego walls, and the cultures that have looked into orgasm from a psychological/spiritual perspective have said something very similar to the following:

The intensity of an orgasm is in direct proportion to the amount of ego released in that moment.

In other words, if you can remember your name, the sex wasn’t very good.  We’ve all experienced this phenomenon: “flow state” leading to an immersive experience, the dissolution of the subject/object relationship.   It is as if the ego is composed of solidified emotional energy, and that sex is right next to “survival boost” in terms of freeing up our genuine potential.  A glimpse of a spiritual connection, a momentary sense that we are more than our bodies and names and identities.

One of the greatest human experiences, available through practice of numerous esoteric sexual practices: or by a combination of love, sex, and faith.

In that sense, our other friendships and partnerships are practice for this core human experience, which summons forth wisdom and capacity available through no other means.  It is the most powerful human experience short of near-death, which ALSO creates extraordinary bonds and perceptions unavailable to the average person.

The primacy of survival can be experienced simply by holding your breath for over thirty seconds or so: all other human concerns vanish when cardio-respiratory distress sets in.   Sex is only slightly less powerful, and leads to the desire for power (creating a safe nest) and opening of the heart (tenderness to protect the progeny).    This kind of core programming is just the beginning, and human beings go way beyond it…but without this core, the entire species collapses, so it is reasonable to consider it carefully

Faith and love counter fear.  Love raises us up to a new level of perception and core belief…we all know this from a thousand songs and stories, but what they don’t say is that loving yourself enough to demand the very best from life…and from yourself…is just as powerful.

This gentleman loved his family, but I would hazard that they had not given him the gift of self-love.  I would guess that there is a web of guilt and co-dependency, leading to a sense that he must be perfect to be adequate.   Would any of you program your own child like that? 

I thought not.   It is a HORRIBLE burden to put on a child.  You aren’t an adequate protector if you can’t beat three men and stop a hurricane? Good lord. Whoever programmed him with that guaranteed he’d be in emotional debt to them FOREVER, praying that somehow, some way, he would finally do something good enough to earn their approval.

It will never happen. They will never set him free. He must set HIMSELF free, or freedom will elude him forever.

This is your task: start with love for self. Then expand “self” to include at least one other person.

It can be hard. But there is nothing more worthwhile in this life.




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