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Creative quotes and quotations
On fear...


You’ve got to feel the fear and do it anyway, in the immortal words of a popular book. Fear can a great stimulation, but it is more often a block, both within the minds of would-be creators and their more vocal critics. The fear of change, of things new leads to resistance and blockages that hinder any creative new idea.

See also

courage*, criticism, daring, ignorance, letting go, persistence, resistance*


‘It is a miserable state of mind to have few things to desire, and many things to fear.’

Francis Bacon

‘Today every invention is received with a cry of triumph which soon turns into a cry of fear.’

Bertolt Brecht

‘I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.’

John Cage

‘Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.’

Marie Curie

‘Have no fear of perfection—you’ll never reach it.’

Salvador Dali

‘Fear is an instructor of great sagacity, and the herald of all revolutions.’

Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘Man’s fear of ideas is probably the greatest dike holding back human knowledge and happiness.’

Max Leopold Ernst

‘He that fears not future may enjoy the present.’

Thomas Fuller

‘The scalded cat fears even cold water.’

Thomas Fuller

‘We pay a heavy price for our fear of failure. It is a powerful obstacle to growth. It assures the progressive narrowing of the personality and prevents exploration and experimentation.’

John W. Gardner

‘The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.’

Elbert Hubbard

‘The vast majority of human beings dislike and even dread all notions with which they are not familiar. Hence it comes about that at their first appearance innovators have always been derided as fools and madmen.’

Aldous Huxley

‘There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming.’

Søren Kierkegaard

‘People don't get along because they fear each other. People fear each other because they don't know each other. They don't know each other because they have not properly communicated with each other.’

Martin Luther King.

‘The soft-minded man always fears change. He feels security in the status quo, and he has an almost morbid fear of the new. For him, the greatest pain is the pain of a new idea.’

Martin Luther King

Innovation is a twofold threat to academic mediocrities: it endangers their oracular authority, and it evokes the deeper fear that their whole, laboriously constructed intellectual edifice might collapse.’

Arthur Koestler

‘Where fear is present, wisdom cannot be.’


‘The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.’

H. P. Lovecraft

‘We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.’

Titus Livius

‘Fear of failure is at least as common as the desire for success. In fact, if harnessed properly, it can be the energy that drives the wheel.’

Mark McCormack

‘If you think there are no new frontiers, watch a boy ring the front doorbell on his first date.’

Olin Miller

‘You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience by which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I can take the next thing that comes along”.’

Eleanor Roosevelt

‘I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears to do, provided he keeps doing them until he gets a record of successful experiences behind him.’

Eleanor Roosevelt

‘To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.’

Bertrand Russell

‘Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.’

William Shakespeare

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear.’

Mark Twain

‘The things we fear most in organizations—fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances—are the primary source of creativity.’

Margaret J. Wheatley



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