Preemptive Fear is Holding You Back Share:

Steve Williamson, Dir. Product Development, eRep, Inc.
Monday, May 10, 2021

Can you find the best job for you if you don't know how you're hardwired? Find out with the Core Values Index.

Tags: #fear #psychology #CoreValuesIndex

If you made a list of all the things that made you feel fearful throughout the week, it is likely that 90% or more of those fears are of what could be, not what actually is. Preemptive fear and our anxieties over what might happen rule our negative emotional landscape.

What do these fears likely have in common?

Everyone has a Dominant Fear

Every person has a greatest fear that is the opposite of their dominant source of happiness. Those who are action-oriented, who like to take charge of situations and get things done have the biggest fear of being powerless. People who's greatest joy in life is solving problems and being the source of wisdom in the room have the biggest fear of being foolish or unwise.

These are just some examples, but the consistent theme among them is the same. Take your greatest source of joy and find the reverse.

Real things that legitimately cause us to feel fear can and do occur. A car can pull out in front of you from a hidden driveway. A dog can chase after you as you pedal a bicycle around a park. But these events are random and indiscriminate — they can happen to anyone — and will make you afraid regardless of your psychological profile.

What we're talking about here are preemptive fears about things that haven't actually happened. We are fearful of what might happen — or might not.

Will I embarrass myself during the upcoming presentation at work? What if my roof leaks during the next rain storm? What will I do if I lose my job?

If we can't envision the event, it has no power over us. So why do our brains create these imaginary bogeymen that cause us so much angst and anguish?

Everyone wants to be happy. Apart from winning the lottery or seeing a sick loved one regain full health, most of our definition of happiness is nebulous and vague but tangible nonetheless.

As you read this, your brain has an unconscious yet powerful desire to experience joy in a particular way according to your own internal hierarchy of needs. It is highly likely that what makes you happiest falls into one of these four broad categories:

General Happiness and Fears

  • The desire to be powerful and get things done; a feeling of accomplishment.
  • The need to be worthy of love and to be loved by others.
  • The need to be wise and the source of answers to problems and challenges.
  • To know and to have knowledge.

To understand your greatest fear, take your greatest source of happiness and remove it. Imagine a world where that happiness is completely absent and elusive.

To feel powerless. To feel unworthy of love. To be unwise or foolish. To be ignorant.

Think of a recent image or preemptive fear you have experienced. Or think back to a common anxiety you have experienced in your career or personal life. What is its nature? Why did that "what if" thought process make you feel anxious or filled with dread? Which of the four general fears listed above align with that fear?

Were you afraid of being out of control and powerless? Were you afraid of being unloved or unworthy of love? Were you afraid of being foolish? Were you afraid of being ignorant?

From my own experience, I have learned that my dominant happiness is to be wise and the source of solutions to challenging problems. My dominant fear - the reverse of my happiness — is to be unwise or foolish, incapable of solving a problem. The phrases "I don't know" or "I'll never be able to figure that out" are difficult for me to stay.

Because of this, I have realized something profound about myself. When presented with a new challenge or opportunity, I have always been reluctant to take it on unless I had 100% certainty that I could achieve success in that endeavor. If I was only partially comfortable or familiar with the situation, I would divert away from the challenge because I was afraid of being foolish or incapable of solving the problem.

Name Your Fear

Everyone has their own greatest fear based on one of the generalized fears I've mentioned above, and it is this greatest fear that nudges and guides and directs — and sometimes outright controls — our preemptive fears. We imagine that which presents the possibility of our greatest fear coming to life.

To overcome your fear, name it.

Identify what your fear is, understand how you are hardwired and why your emotional hardwiring creates that fear in your imagination, and put a name to it.

By naming your fear, you move it out of the subconscious fear-based part of your lizard brain and into the higher-level part of your conscious brain. If you do nothing else but name your fear, you will gain a sense of increased control over your anxiety. It allows you to rationally determine the true nature and scope of the fear — most often by realizing it's not as likely or as impactful as your unconscious mind thinks it is.

How Are You Hardwired?

The part where I describe understanding your emotional hardwiring is crucial. You need to know what makes up your personality's DNA. The best way to do that is to take the Core Values Index psychometric assessment and read your full report.

Your CVI report describes both your dominant source of happiness and your greatest fear — the opposite of your happiness.

The CVI determines and measures how much of four core value energies exist within you, on a scale from 0 (none) to 36 (maximum), for a total score of 72. Everyone has a particular ratio of these emotional energies within them, and it is this ratio that defines your psychometric profile.

The four core value energies in the CVI are:

  • Builder: power and action.
  • Merchant: Intuition and human connection.
  • Innovator: Wisdom and problem-solving.
  • Banker: Knowledge and justice.

It is your particular ratio of these energies* that comprise your individual psychometric profile. Whichever is primary within you is where your dominant happiness — and greatest fear — is defined.

*My particular CVI profile is 27-Innovator, 17-Banker, 15-Builder, 13-Merchant. What is yours?

The Core Values Index takes just 8 minutes to complete. It is the most reliable and accurate psychometric assessment in the world. It also has a 10-day money back guarantee.

The only thing you have to lose by taking the CVI is a lot of fear and anxiety.

Go to to learn more about the CVI or to take the Core Values Index assessment.

Employees hired with a CVI that closely matches a Top Performer Profile often outperform candidates hired without a TPP match by 50% or more.

Preemptive Fear is Holding You Back

Risk Free Discovery Program

Sign up for a Risk Free Discovery Account and get these features and functions for free:

  • 3 full/comprehensive CVIs (a $150 value)
  • Unlimited Job Listings on
  • Applicant Search
  • Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
  • Unlimited Happiness Index employee surveys
  • One hour consultation with a CVI expert (a $200 value)

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Steve Williamson

Steve Williamson

Innovator/Banker - Dir. Product Development, eRep, Inc.

Steve has a career in information technology, software development, and project management spanning three decades. He is the author of a series of fantasy novels called The Taesian Chronicles (, and when he isn't writing he enjoys cycling, motorcycle adventure touring, and buzzing around the skies in his home-built flight simulator.

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