With youth: To understand is to conquer fear

Acharya Prashant
3 min readDec 20, 2022

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Question (Q): Sir, I am afraid of making decisions. I depend on others for my decisions. Please help me on this.

Acharya Prashant (AP): Can one really be afraid of making a decision? We are actually afraid that the decision will prove to be ‘wrong’. Is it the decision-making that terrifies us or the thought that my decision may turn out to be wrong?

Let’s look at ourselves. My real fear is that ‘I do not know what is right and wrong. Because all my life I have lived according to the criterion provided by others. I have no understanding of how to live intelligently and how to decide for myself. Can I really make a decision about something without really understanding it? And if I take such a decision then it is obvious that I would be afraid. I do not understand and yet I am deciding, so anything can happen. Like the roll of a dice or the toss of a coin, it is totally a random happening. Obviously, I am going to be afraid. When I really know, do I have the reason to be afraid?’

Another reason we feel afraid in decision-making is that we feel accountable, and have a certain obligation, that if our decision is wrong, what answers will we provide to others? We are not really afraid of the event as such. Rather, we are afraid of what kind of face will we show to others. Whichever fear we pick up, we discover that the fear is always linked to the other. Are we coming closer to it? Fear is never really about myself. Fear is always about somebody else. Even when I think that I am afraid about myself, I am actually afraid about losing something external provided by the other — like identities, respectability, acceptance, care, etc., or certificates, or privileges and luxuries.

If you were to keep your mark sheets only to yourself, you would be far less afraid. What really makes you nervous is the fact that you have to show these mark sheets to others — parents, friends, employers, etc.

Not understanding is the root of fear.

To not to understand is to become afraid.

Let’s take a direct example, in earlier times, there was no science, no technology around, and there was little understanding of what…