Performance Management Blog

Addressing Fear, The Mindkiller

Mar 25, 2024 | Uncategorized

In the Dune books of Frank Herbert, addressing fear, the mindkiller, is a main component of human progress and taking action.

The full quote is actually, 

“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.”

So, I wanted to talk about the reactions to fear from two different people on the same dock about the nice little snorkeling cove called Concha de Perla on Isabela island in The Galapagos.

My friend Ruth can swim, but she had a bad experience in the surf maybe 6 months ago and keeps running and re-running that situation in her head. She is sitting on the steps above with her feet in the water but she is afraid of swimming, much less snorkeling. She eventually got into the water with her mask on but quickly got back out and would not go in again. Overall, she missed out on 6 or 7 really amazing snorkeling activities. Her fear could not be overcome and she repeatedly said that, “she needed more time” in order to get over the fear.

Her fear greatly limited her overall vacation experience. And there was nothing that I or anyone else could do to make her fear go away…

On the same pier is Enzo, a college student there with about 20 others. He is stalking around talking about his need to get in the water but his fear of getting in the water. He is distraught. He wants to be with his fellow students. But he cannot bring himself to even sitting on the steps with his feet in the water. He is being supported by me and some other students. 

So, after 30 minutes, he is coaxed to sit on the steps, actually next to Ruth, with his feet in the water. Then, after a few minutes, he sits on the steps with his butt in the water and with an inflatable yellow life vest fully inflated. Then, he puts his mask and fins on, still sitting there. Then, he stretches and turns around and puts his body in the water, holding firmly to the steps. Then, he slowly lets go of the steps and floats on his preserver. He then puts his face in the water. And, with a fellow student who is coaching him, he floats away from the dock.

10 minutes later, he is snorkeling 20 yards from the dock with the other student.

I saw him 4 or 5 hours later and he was with his fellow students, cutting up and smiling.

People make choices all the time. People deal with anxiety and fear all the time. Some people choose to continue to move forward and some are simply stopped. In our Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine team buiilding game, we set up a situation where players need to choose a level of risk and develop strategies to optimize performance.

I try to not let a lot of fear-stuff stop me. There are still some Class V whitewater rapids that I regret not running back in the day, but I am past that now. My only bungie jump was the Nevis Bungie, then the highest in the world with a drop of 130 meters. I’d love to do that again… 

What are your experiences with dealing with fear? What are your wins?



After having this article up and getting a few comments and reactions, I was reminded of a personal journey.


For the FUN of It!

Dr. Scott Simmerman, designer of The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine teambuilding game.Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools.
Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who is trying to retire!! He now lives in Cuenca, Ecuador.

You can reach Scott at
Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.

Here is a link to a press release about The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine teambuilding exercise and its 30 years of positively impacting people and performance.

The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine is a trademark of Performance Management Company


Dr. Scott Simmerman

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of the amazing Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine team building game and the Square Wheels facilitation and engagement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced global presenter. -- You can reach Scott at and a detailed profile is here: -- Scott is the original designer of The Search for The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine teambuilding game and the Square Wheels® images for organizational development.

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