Fear is more than a Hollywood scare; it can prevent us from living our best lives and keep us from achieving our goals. It’s also one of the most common human emotions, and many of our fears are irrational. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t real, and the reality is often scarier than anything in a horror movie. We surveyed people from around the world to learn their biggest fears, and some of them are surprising.
Several of these fears relate to our environment, and some are actually more realistic than others. The fear of failure is a very common one, and while it’s not necessarily irrational, it can be crippling for some. People may even avoid opportunities to take risks because they’re afraid of failing, and this can hold them back from pursuing their dreams.
Other fears are rooted in childhood experiences. For instance, kids are known to show a fear of snakes as early as 8 to 12 months, and this phobia usually dissipates by the time they reach adolescence. But for some, it doesn’t, and phobias like this may lead to a lifetime of anxiety. The same is true for the phobia of heights, which can cause some people to avoid certain places or activities in order to prevent their fear from becoming a full-blown phobia.
People from all over the world have different fears, depending on their cultural and geographic context. For example, the fears of most people in Africa are AIDS and disease, nuclear weapons, and inequality. In contrast, the fears of people in Europe and the U.S. are terrorism, religious and ethnic hatred, and pollution and the environment.
There are some common fears that appear across the globe, however, including the fear of flying and enclosed spaces. The latter is more commonly referred to as claustrophobia, and it can lead to a variety of anxieties that range from riding the elevator to work to being trapped in an airport or train station. People suffering from this fear will often go to extreme lengths to avoid their triggers, and in some cases, this can include changing careers or moving to a different part of the country.
The fear of public speaking is also common among Americans, and it can be a very stressful experience. But this is perhaps more a reflection of the current political climate than it is a reflection of any inherent human anxiety.
Political and governmental concerns have been at the forefront of American’s minds in recent years, as evidenced by the fact that they were the top fears for both 2018 and 2019. In our 2020 survey, these worries dropped to the bottom 10, as attention turned elsewhere. But the specifics of what Americans are worried about can differ widely, with those on the right expressing concern about socialism and communism, gun restrictions, and government surveillance while those on the left are more concerned about police brutality and the growing threat of fascism. people’s biggest fears