Facing Your Fears: The True Underlying Reasons for Your Bad Decisions and Bad Behavior

Marvin Liao
3 min readApr 13, 2022


Looking back at moments in your life there are always moments you regret. And if you are truly honest, it’s usually your fault. The wrong thing said, a reaction or overreaction that makes the situation worse. It always worked out in the end but these moments certainly were self inflicted problems.

If you look deep, it’s always driven by fear. There are many different kinds of fear: fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of not being accepted (socially that is), fear of poverty, fear of not being loved, so many kinds of fear. I personally cannot believe that it’s taken me to my late 40s to figure this out. In fact, most people never figure it out. Ever. If you cannot find out what the big fears are in your life, you can’t fix it. These fears become your limits in life.

When I was younger it was a fear of not being accepted. But as I’ve grown older, traveled and lived in many different places, this has lessened. And it helps that I live in a place full of ambitious nerds and self proclaimed contrarians, I don’t feel like this is an issue anymore. I found my tribe.

But I still have two major themes of fears throughout my life:

1) the fear of poverty ie. lack of money, which would threaten my independence +not being able to take care of myself and my family

2) the fear of not being taken seriously or not being respected.

Almost all my issues and challenges have come from this. They are both the biggest drivers of my motivation and behavior. On the reverse side, they are the root cause of my bad reactions to setbacks.

I remember when I faced my economic challenges in 2020, or even any big frustrations at work or my business, the rage I would feel would be all consuming. The “lack of money” fear in my brain.

Or one time back in 2019, I was with my family after taking a friend out for lunch, as we were driving her home, we stopped across a crosswalk and this old white couple basically yelled some racial slurs at us. I literally saw red to the point, I almost stepped out of the car to confront them if my family had not calmed me down. All stemming from the fear of being disrespected.

Fear easily turns into anger. In fact, anger is almost always the human reaction to fear. Anger feels empowering but it’s so destructive in civilized society. We are no different than animals. Dogs or other animals attack and bite you because of the fear they feel when they are surprised by you. You can never get rid of fear as it’s a wired human behavioral tool that has gotten us and our ancestors here but you have to face it. This is why it’s so critical to learn, manage and channel this.

It always goes back to the Dune quote:

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”



Marvin Liao

Ever curious: Tsundoku, Reader, Aspiring Shokunin, World traveller, Investor & Tech/Media exec interested in almost everything! www.marvinliao.com