Where "fear is frozen fun" came from

Most of the mottos and slogans I use on Scripting News are either original or derived from ideas pioneered by others. But some are wholesale lifted from other people's work, which is an invocation of yet another motto -- "Only steal from the best."

"It's even worse than it appears," comes from a Grateful Dead song. It a perfect disclaimer. As bad as you think I am, I am even worse.

A variant is useful in standards work, where I ask collaborators to search for the worst possible name for something, in order to avoid long arguments about which is best. You can have a good laugh when someone invokes the "worst is best" rule, and get on with the real work of working together.

An example of a derived motto: "Ask not what the Internet can do for you," a modified version of JFK's admonition from his 1961 inaugural. My version was for the VCs of Silicon Valley to remember that they have to put back to balance what they take out. Of course they completely ignore this admonition, with perilous results, imho.

Another motto is "fear is frozen fun." Last night, James C. Kim asked on Twitter what it means. I have started using it again, after not referencing it in many years. It was a big motto for me in 1994 when I started blogging. So I searched to see if I had written anything about it, and came up with nothing. I answered that I thought its meaning was self-evident, but then on reflection I realized that even I wasn't sure what it meant! It's that rich an idea.

So I looked it up. The motto was appropriated wholesale from a book I read called Conscious Loving, written by Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks. Here's a link to the citation on Google Books. I've entered the paragraph it appears in, beneath this headline.

"In our work we have found that there are only a few core feelings. These are sadness, fear, anger, joy, excitement and sexual feelings. Other common feelings, such as guilt, boredom, anxiety and depression are actually mixtures of the basic feelings or responses to one of the core feelings. For example, the Gestalt therapist Fritz Perls said that anxiety is excitement without the breath. When people remember to breathe into their fear, their anxiety often turns into excitement. We often tell our clients that fear is frozen fun. People often get the most afraid just before they are about to step out into the creative unknown, into a new possibility. Fear mobilizes your body for action, but if you do not take action, the energy curdles in your body."

I could not possibly do any better than that.

BTW, another of my mottos, "Let's have fun!" came from this motto.

There's supposed to be a little eye-twinkle after it.

In today's terminology it might be translated as "Let's have disruption!"

Posted: Mon, 26 Aug 2013 13:58:23 GMT