A Case of Cainotophobia

Written by Bo Percival, Program Manager

You may have never heard this word before, but there’s a good chance sometime in your life you have suffered from it. Have you Googled it already? Cainotophobia is the abnormal fear of newness, and has a strangle hold on many of us in many different ways. It is a fear that can paralyze, and cause a series of missed opportunities leading to eventual stagnation. With the speed of movement of life in general it is an important fear to overcome or else you risk being left behind. So here are three simple actionable steps that you can take today to overcome it.
+ Compare Opportunity Cost to the Sunk Cost

What are you missing out on, and what is it costing you to try and dig yourself out? Pick one project that you think would be new and exciting but you are not undertaking because of Cainotophobia. Take that project and run a best-case hypothetical scenario. Do the same for a project that is already underway. In trying to hold on to what’s familiar, we limit our ability to be open to something new.  What is it costing you not to do it? Is it time to try something new? Unless you have some amazing golden cash cow…the answer is ‘Yes’, it is time to try something new.

+ Co-Carry the Responsibility

If you’re having trouble overcoming Cainotophobia, perhaps there is someone you trust that could help you make it happen? If you work on the new project with someone else, the shared responsibility may help you embrace something new and mitigate the fear of failure.
+  Introduce a Little ‘New’ 

Sometimes we just aren’t ready to overcome our Cainotophobia all at once. If this is the case you have two options: quit, or try. Sometimes it’s about accepting little bit of ‘new’ at a time. Perhaps it’s changing a small thing in your morning routine, like taking a different way to work, or trying a new type of coffee. Whatever it is, the more ‘new’ we experience the more ‘new’ we will be comfortable trying.

I truly appreciate how hard this can be and I have walked away from some potentially great experiences as a result of Cainotophobia. But if there’s anything I’ve learned, more often than not, ‘new’ is where the fun begins.

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