Phobias: A Plague or Mutations of the Basic Instinct?
Phobia is Greek and means to be afraid of something. In the non-Greek world, it is mainly used in psychological terms, signifying severe fear as in: terrified and: neurotic and: in need of professional treatment. Those in the grip of a veritable phobia are panic-stricken and paralyzed when it comes to tackling certain situations. Phobias are relics of our evolutionary past and were quite useful back then. Should a ferocious sabre-toothed tiger – teeth bared – spring up inadvertently from the undergrowth with an intimidating roar, the primitive brain would switch to red-alert and reliably signal to the short-legged homo erectus: RUN as fast as you can! It was a matter of survival, and the same basic instinct takes control over us in perilous situations until this day.
Heartbeat accelerating. Knees wobbly. Palms sweaty. Hands shaky. You are standing in front of your audience ready to deliver your talk. Ready? Of course you’re not ready! You are panic-stricken! You know that your trembling voice will give you away. You are afraid of failure and of exposing yourself to ridicule. You are dead-tired after a merciless night of restless tossing and turning resulting in your worst-ever bad-hair day. Your urge to escape is virtually untamable.
The fears of speaking in public (Glossophobia) are manifold. Fact is, that they won’t go away by allowing them to thrive. Yet, there’s remedy for the brave: Building up one’s confidence by adopting the proper techniques and by honing one’s communication, speaking and presentation skills, does work wonders! Good to know that even the best of speakers were once terrified novices who eventually succeeded in pacifying their jittery nervous system.