A recent Gallup poll revealed some interesting facts about what Americans fear most; and it may surprise you.
While a series of events are occurring around the world in Syria, Iraq, West Africa, the Ukraine, and here at home, most of us would believe that the most feared issues would be terrorism, being killed by someone else, or contracting a life-threatening disease. Not even close. The results of the poll had fear of the information on credit cards you use being stolen by hackers as number one. Second highest was fear of information being accessed from computers or i-Phones.
69 percent of those polled had being hacked as their number one fear. In contrast 18 percent feared being murdered by someone, and 18 percent feared a sexual assault.
Households where the income exceeded $75,000 a year, 85 percent expressed fear of fraud as number one. Those making less than $30,000 only registered 50 percent considering hackers their primary concern.
Much of this is related to a possible 60 million Target customers being hacked last year and customers at 2,200 Home Depot stores suffering the same situation; the number of cards affected is yet to be determined. Among other businesses attacked by hackers are Neiman Marcus and P.F. Chang’s restaurants.
Over 13 years ago, immediately after the 9/11 attacks, the greatest fear of virtually everyone was the possibility of another terrorist attack. This poll registered that only 28 percent of Americans consider terrorism their number one greatest fear.
Perhaps fear of violent crime is a lower concern for under 20 percent because of a misconception by most Americans. Another poll by Gallup confirms that the crime rate is rising in the United States, but the average citizen is unaware.
Emotions weaken intelligent thought and eliminate logic. Fear is the strongest emotion and is often the cause of poor decision making. Many of those we elect win their campaigns by using fear tactics contained in lies and half-truths. This poll was surprising, but may be representative of our nation’s priorities.
Fear of a child being assaulted while attending school was the number one fear of only 31 percent of those polled. It is possible that many of those polled do not watch the news or read a newspaper.
There’s an old adage which claims ‘the truth will set you free.’ Although absolute truth appears to be nearly none existent in our society in 2014, the adage is 100 percent true.
If we have the facts about our fears and have taken precautions to lessen the opportunity for our fears to come true, fear will slowly fade away. It becomes similar to ‘worry.’ Worry is an entirely foolish emotion. If we find ourselves deeply concerned about something, and we take action to alleviate the situation, there is nothing left to worry about. If there exists no possible action to remove the situation which causes us to worry; if we can’t do anything about it, continuing to worry is futile; what will be will be.
The fact that fear of monetary loss was the number one concern in this poll is a little unsettling. Someone who has vast amounts of income, and uses their credit cards to purchase items and pay for services can acquire more money. Losing a life or suffering a permanent debilitating injury is irreparable. It’s all about what we consider most important in our lives.
By James Turnage