The Light Inside

Embracing Uncertainty: Overcoming the Subconscious Fear of New Experiences

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Episode notes

In this thought-provoking episode of The Light Inside, we explore the complexities of neophobia—an unhealthy fear of the unknown—and how it can paralyze us from embracing new experiences and opportunities for growth. 

Change-leading catalyst Jamie Meyer joins the conversation to unravel the psychological mechanisms that underpin this irrational fear and how it can hinder our ability to form new routines and perspectives. Throughout our conversation, we examined the processes necessary to embrace new possibilities and open our minds to the richness of our diverse experiences. 

Jamie, and I discussed the subconscious bias of the comfort zone, as coined by business theorist Alasdair White, and how it can limit personal growth by keeping us rooted in familiarity. The episode touched on mental heuristics like the status quo bias, which drives our preference for consistency and an adverse fear of risk, and how these subconscious patterns can become liabilities to our well-being.

Jamie Meyer shared her insights on the importance of recognizing and engaging with healthy fear and risk to move beyond reluctance towards new experiences. She emphasized the need to navigate the distress often felt during uncertainty and how her work helps clients through this process.

Tune in to gain insights on transforming unhealthy fear and embracing more diverse pathways to change.


[00:01:35] Comfort zone, healthy psychological safety, and personal growth.

[00:06:22] Cultural dynamics and heritage.

[00:08:46] Dualities of purpose and self-sabotage.

[00:13:22] Healthy fear and risk-taking.

[00:18:07] Neophobia and limiting perspectives on comfort zones.

[00:23:15] How a subconscious pattern known as the mere exposure effect limits our frameworks. 

[00:26:13] Subconscious thoughts and more empowered decision-making.

[00:30:12] Self-constructs and adverse social conditioning.

[00:36:42] Somatic symptoms to watch for.

[00:40:59] Understanding our emotionality.

[00:45:09] Stress and emotional inference.

[00:48:20] The Illusory Truth Effect and navigating the complexities of neophobia

[00:53:49] The principle of not poking the bear.

[01:00:10] Questioning our comfort zones and developing healthy windows of tolerance.

[01:03:09] Hearing others challenge bias.

[01:06:08] Neophobia and cognitive distortions.


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Featured Guests: 

Jamie Meyer

Credits: Music Score by Epidemic Sound

Executive ProducerJeffrey Besecker

Mixing, Engineering, Production, and Mastering: Aloft Media Studio

Senior Program Director:  Anna Getz