Lab of Misfits’ Beau Lotto was recently interviewed by Swiss Ladies Drive and enjoyed a conversation about fear, awareness of self and the human brain.

Dr Beau Lotto recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Sandra-Stella Triebl, the founder of the independent media company Swiss Ladies Drive. The aim of Ladies Drive is to generate female role models, share knowledge, exemplify diversity and facilitate exchange and discourse. Ladies Drive is one of the most successful and widely circulated business and finance magazines in Switzerland, Germany and Austria.

The interview is extensive and covers Lotto’s experiences in childhood, how growing up with four sisters helped him understand women and how he came to be a neuroscientist. A number of topics were touched upon including Lotto’s thoughts on how people can overcome fear, how perception is a practice that results in awareness of self and how caring is a way to look at the world.

The focus of much of the conversation was about the fear of failure. Triebl is surprised when Lotto responds to the question “Are you afraid of something?” with “All the time!”. When Triebl then asked ‘Why?”, Lotto explains that to do anything is to know that it might fail. Lotto suggests that the pain (or guilt) we feel when something goes wrong is a perception that helps us learn that an action, idea or thought might have been ill-judged, wrong or hurtful (accidentally or otherwise). To ignore the feedback would prevent the possibility of growing from it.

Lotto ponders on how society focuses a great deal on confidence, but that it is courage not confidence that he believes is more interesting. Courage is to have the strength to engage with the feeling of ‘failure’ and to be humbled by its inevitability, while remaining indomitable in the face of it. As such, it is courage that should be celebrated, as it enables people to answer the question: What are you going to do with that fear? Stepping forward knowing that you’re likely to fail, stumble, fall or head in the wrong direction is powerful.

According to Lotto, fear can be a motivator or a ‘debilitator’ and with that comes a choice. Emotions - like fear - tell us less about the world and more about ourselves and our interaction with the world. The first step to making the choice is to be aware that we feel afraid and that it is a deeply human truth to be afraid. The second step is to understand the source of that fear. ‘Why am I afraid?’ This enables a person to consider what is the worst thing that could happen and whether they could survive that worst thing. The third is to decide – with awareness – what one is going to do with that fear. The benefits of doing the thing that you are afraid of should be considered. This inner process helps consider the trade offs, and in doing so reveals the possibility of choice to you. We need to be aware of this inner process. Ultimately, Lotto concludes that our openness to our fears is a choice. The ultimate question is this: Are you going to do it anyway?

To read the full article Beau Lotto, Shaped By Failure by Sandra-Stella Triebel, click here.

Written by: Hannah Marshallsay



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