Do you enjoy feeling scared?

scared, enjoy

What makes an abundance of people all over the world thrive on watching horror movies or jumping out of planes? This short video takes a look at the reasons why:

Many of us loved watching horror movies when we were kids without knowing what made us so keen on those films.

When our arousal  level sours we feel good because our brains release feel-good hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, adrenaline and endorphins. Not that we understood that when we were children.

When we face danger we either fight or flight. We may only think we are scared when what it’s all about is the sense of relief we feel when at the end of the movies the character we identify with triumphs or the nasty monster dies. When that happens we can feel a sense of achievement and the come down hence makes us feel good from a psychological point of view.

Personally for instance enjoy parasailing. What do you thrive on?
Personally for instance enjoy parasailing. What do you thrive on?

We are all different

Danger makes us all respond in different ways. Some thrill seekers love high levels of arousal. They hence carry out activities, like jumping out of planes and climbing mountains, that most people avoid.

Are entrepreneurs more keen on danger?

It’s not unusual that you find people with entrepreneurial minds thriving on high levels of arousal. It goes hand in hand with being willing to take risks and being adventurous, which is often essential in order to succeed. Watching horror movies is one thing but getting a kick out of, say, parasailing is another. Keeping calm when facing danger is essential for entrepreneurs. Being used to high levels of arousal and the good feeling that comes afterwards enables you to better  handle stress and uncertainty.

Did you enjoy watching horror movies as a child? Maybe you still do? Do you get a kick out of high levels of arousal? If so, what do you thrive on? Are people with entrepreneurial minds more likely to enjoy high levels of arousal than people who don’t have that mindset? Do you believe handling danger goes hand in hand with being willing to take risks? Or maybe you believe that entrepreneurs don’t need to be adventurous to live with constant stress?

Video: The Economist – Pictures: Waywuweipurolipan

53 thoughts on “Do you enjoy feeling scared?

  1. I think that if you go into business, there must be some fright involved. I would want to see someone do a study, to see if the fear of the risk, is compatible with the ability to recover if you fail?
    I would assume, it is easier to risk more and fear less, if you had a backup plan, or strategy (ability to go back to a previous employment etc), then if you risked everything and had nothing to fall back on.
    That is a question left for researchers.

  2. Hello; I've thought about this and had some great conversations about it both before and after my solo trip to New York City. I don't see myself as a thrill seeker. However, I don't see blogging, podcasting, running websites, doing interviews, etc as scary. I used to say that I am just not smart enough to know to be scared. But a good friend recently said I have a fearless soul. I don't imagine sky diving or white water rafting, but I do imagine speaking to large crowds and continuing to publish more books. Thanks for starting this conversation, Max

  3. This is such an interesting post, never thought of why we enjoy horror movies loved the video I'm definitely going to share this one with my hubby 😉
    Thanks for sharing dear!

  4. I do not watch horror movies at all. I even turn the channel when an advert to a horror movie is aired. As a young teen I watched a few horror films with friends, during the day of course.

    I do and have always enjoyed "thrill" rides at theme parks. The faster the better! The recent rise in passengers being injured on rides has somewhat deterred me.

    Yes, entrepreneurs are willing to take a level of risk and tend to be adventurous.

  5. Catarina- I do not like horror movies or being scared today or when I was a child. However, I think everyday an entrepreneur who owns their own business does feel scared. One never knows in this economy whether you will be here tomorrow. So maybe it gets my juices going so I am constantly thinking of what to do to improve my business. I take risks in business all the time and it is not because I am handling danger. It is more of need to succeed.

  6. Makes perfect sense to me. Business is not for the faint of heart. You simply can't succeed it in it if you are risk averse. When I think of entrepreneurs I do not think of people who want to sit timidly behind a desk. 🙂

  7. I would love to agree with this post as I have recently returned from for jumping off a mountain for the second time and parasailing 8000 feet to the ground. I never associated it business but now I do and I like the comparison. Thanks.

  8. I personally love horror movies, and try to be an aficionado on them. Of course, I also write horror novels. On the contrary, I avoid danger and thrill seeking as much as possible. I am someone who tends to try to reduce risk as much as possible. Maybe on aspect of my life is a release or balance to the other.

  9. I used to love horror movies as a kid, but now I have no desire to ever watch one! I like taking risks, and have jumped from a plane, which gave me a great rush of adrenaline.
    I think entrepreneurs usually need to take risks and enjoy the feeling of being scared, even just a little.

    1. Agree with you about horror movies. Would not dream of watching one now but loved them as a kid. Yes, it's essential to take risks if you are an entrepreneur and want to succeed. Am impressed that you have jumped out of planes. You beat me to it in that respect:-)

  10. I guess I'm a bit of a mixed bag of nuts. I really enjoy thrill rides and outdoor activities that are adrenaline pumping but I hate scary movies hahaha
    And yes, I totally believe that entrepreneurs are natural risk takers. Thank goodness for people that take entrepreneurial risks!

  11. As a ‘near septuagenarian’, I think there’s one more angle to this question – a twist on an old adage – ‘the older they are, the harder they fall’ and also ‘it gets too hard getting back up again’ for dinosaur-type entrepreneurs.
    As i hobble around in my ‘moon boot’ with my fractured fibula for yet another 4-6 weeks (after 6 weeks already), trust me, I know.
    Luckily, the flying fingers can still translate the fickle grey matter as well as can be expected!
    Great thoughts Catarina. Much enjoyed.

  12. No roller coasters for me but a story with barehanded autopsies from the early days of forensic science are most welcome here. I love to read about Victorian London and the gross smells in the street and early days of plumbing but one rotten egg in my fridge and… well, you know. So I am not sure that afraid or scared applies but let’s call it a mixed bag and then the answer is YES!

    1. Wow, authopsies that's quite something, Alice. It's supposed to be awful to attend. One person I know who studied law almost fainted. And the smell makes everyone sick. Much prefer danger and risks to that:-)

  13. Hi Catarina, I enjoy being a little scared… Say Frankenstein, but out and out horror movies are not my thing, even when I was young. And I'm definitely terrified of heights. The thrill and exhilaration of starting a business or trying something new is different to me though…not so much scary as exciting. Its a good thing.

  14. Never thought of it before but being an entrepreneur certainly involves risk-taking and may be the intellectual equivalent of physical risk taking, like jumping out of planes. Certainly there is a rush of adrenalin.

  15. I used to watch horror movies when I was a child, but I don't like it anymore. And I've never liked roller coasters! 😀 I think being an entrepreneur means to be able to handle with stress and uncertainty and to have self confidence.

    1. Personally have not watched horror movies since I was a child either. There's a huge difference between having an entrepreneurial mind and carrying out entrepreneurial activity. The latter anyone can do but the former is genetic. It's having an entrepreneurial mind that makes people take huge risks and become adrenalin junkies.:-)

  16. I prefer to keep things low-key, but have't always been that way. Like anything in life, urges ebb and flow. The way some business people seem to live off of adrenaline would never suit me.

  17. Interesting! I never understood why people spend their vacation in Disney World, as they scream their heads off on a ride that is an elevator with a free fall from six stories high! I always thought it was the strangest thing. I run from anything physical, that threatens physical danger but I do seem to enjoy the prospect of other risks of a more creative or psychological nature, such as putting myself out their or taking an emotional risk. I used to have a friend that would scale the sides of buildings in New York City, not a risk I would ever undertake.

    1. Wasn't it interesting to find out what made us watch horror movies and love the roller coasters when we were kids, Michele. At least me and my friends did. Now those kind of activities have no interest to me at all. Interesting that you have never been interested in that kind of hormonal kicks but like emotional risks. They can actually be far more dangerous than financial and business risks. Could make a person have a breakdown.

  18. I may be a hybrid… love roller-coasters; hate horror movies. Conquering fear is indeed a rush and I guess I have always assumed it a necessary component to be an entrepreneur. If all of it was easy, if none of it involved risk, if there weren't consequences on all levels for failure, the world would be 100% entrepreneurs, right? Funny…so many of the successful people I know actually label themselves as adrenaline junkies.

  19. Catarina, you know I'm more introverted. This is in part why I AVOID fear based movies, activities, and all. When I'm in that mode, my brain is overloaded and my energy is depleted and can remain so for days. I stopped watching so much tv and many movies my more extroverted husband likes years ago which I realized my sensitivity to all this.

      1. Catarina, I can manage entrepreneurial stress with planning, meditation, prayer and exercise. Using any of that to "manage" the dopamine overload when sitting and looking at a screen of scary, often violent images that stay with me for too long after would, is not going to work. In addition to being more introverted, I'm HSP (highly sensitive person) so it's a double whammy.
        My recent post Very Inspiring Blogger Award to Kick off the New Year

  20. I think there are a few contributory factors here, Catarina:
    – Age: teenagers and young adults, especially males, have far less appreciation of danger and are more inclined to take risks
    – Family: those with dependents tend to be more cautious than those without
    – External factors: some substances, like alcohol, suppress caution

    I also think that the increasing safety of many Western societies (the British "nanny state") for example, probably encourage risk taking out of boredom. This, of course, doesn't make for great entrepreneurs as the sort of risks taken here tend to be short-term in nature, and often physical.

    Having said this, there is also no question that some people are more inclined to take risks – of whatever nature – than others. These are the people that become entrepreneurs and leaders in other fields (such the the two free climbers that ascended El Capitan last week). So, yes, entrepreneurs are, by nature, risk takers, although not all risk takers are entrepreneurs.

  21. Catarina, I have never liked horror movies but when my husband and I started a business in the late seventies we were thrilled, scared, nervous and determined. Every time a new large order came in we experienced a high. It really was a great feeling. Never knew it was because of all those hormones. Interesting.

  22. I most definitely do not thrive on being scared. I do not like horror shows. That feeling of flight or fight I can do without. Maybe it’s because I am an introvert.

  23. Catarina — I think anyone who starts a business has to be scared. Even the best laid plans can go off track. You're risking your livelihood, and yours and your family's well being. But executives who have spent years in the corporate world and then strike out on their own will often tell you they never felt so alive as when they started the journey. Being scared is also being alive. All those hormones kick in. I remember when I started my first company 20 years and people asked what I did, I remember how proud I was to say, "I have my own business." It's scary and thrilling at the same time.

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