My greatest fears are ...

Mes plus grandes craintes sont ...

being inadequate, being alone, failing

being trapped outside in a blizzard. That would be terrible. Also, being surround by crocodiles in the middle of a lake would be very bad as well.

bugs and dead people.


death, loss of memory, and loneliness.

disappointing myself, lack of success in life, death of family or friends

dying, losing a loved one, and being alone.

failing myself, getting sick, losing memory

failing, heights, water, rejection

failing, regretting something I didn't do, not being able to balance everything that is important to me

failure, getting hurt, rats.

getting kidnapped.

getting stuck at a dead-end, useless job; making very little of my life; and becoming fearful of the world.

i have none.

lose people who are closest to me; get misunderstood by friends

mice, sharks, heights

never being loved, feeling like I'm not enough, and never being able to travel.

never having a family, losing someone I love, disappointing others

not reaching my true potential

of environmental catastrophe. I am also afraid of sadistic axe murderers.

pets, height and roller coasters

Something happening to a family member, especially my daughter

that I will die alone.

the things that I don't understand.

to not have opportunities

avoir un travail routinier, perdre l'usage de mes jambes.

d'avoir une vie monotone

de décevoir ceux que j'aime.

de devenir dépendant, de ne plus pouvoir faire de sport.

de ne pas être heureux dans ma vie.

de ne pas pouvoir m'épanouir dans le futur, d'être incompris et de finir seul.

de ne pas travailler dans le secteur que je souhaite,

de prendre une mauvaise décision, d'échouer dans ma carrière professionnelle et de devenir obèse.

environnement, guerre

l'amour, l'environnement, le futur de notre planète, l'économie

l'échec, la perte d'un proche, des mauvais choix

l'extinction de l'humanité.

l'isolement, la dépendance, la folie

le non-accomplissement de soi, l'incompréhension, la guerre.

ne pas avoir de travail

ne pas profiter de la vie à fond, faire les mauvais choix,

perdre ma mère, vieillir, l'avenir de la planète

perdre mes proches, ne pas être heureux, avoir un mauvais travail

perdre un ami ou un membre de ma famille, que ma copine me quitte

que la violence progresse, d'avoir des regrets, que l'on ne découvre pas de vie extra-terrestre avant ma mort.



On remarque une grande différence entre nous et vous. Ce que nous avons en commun c'est la crainte de la perte d'un proche ce qui semble normale. Par contre vous parlez de la peur d'être seule, de ne pas connaître l'amour ou de ne plus être aimé. Contrairement à nous qui parlons seulement de notre réussite professionnelle.

On peut mettre en parallèle ce sondage avec le débat qu'on a eu sur le mot "love" dans l'onglet "familly".Nous avions dit que l'on avait beaucoup de mal à parler de nos sentiments, à dire à quelqu’un "je t'aime" alors que vous, vous êtes beaucoup libre sur ce point.

Comment réagissez vous quand quelqu'un ne vous aime pas, êtes vous très atteint ou vous n'y pensez pas? Cherchez-vous nécessairement à plaire à tout le monde?


In the US, there are always those people who do not like to be rejected. Actually, we often have fears of not fitting in, and I think many of us geeky, wierdo MIT students have had these experiences, especially in high school. Rejection from people we like also doesn't make us happy, though I'd imagine it's the same in other parts of the world. Still, I think as people grow up in the US they eventually find out where they fit in. Rejection probably doesn't get any easier (though it'd be nice if it did), but life goes on. Sure, there are people who live their lives trying to please others, but I'm not sure it makes them very happy. Most people, though, grow out of this lifestyle as well, and eventually people notice that being honest will both be easier and make them happier. Like in any society, there is a diversity of personalities, and some people are more emotional and open than others. 

I think the reason that we put up so many responses pertaining to our individual lives is because we are slightly more individualistic than others. Of course, I don't think Americans are selfish, and most try to be friendly and helpful when possible. However, unlike in France, individualism is not seen as a bad thing. We are encouraged to express ourselves, and worrying about our own well-being once in a while is not looked down upon. Ok, maybe we are slightly selfish.

I was wondering why you guys place so much emphasis on doing well in your jobs. Do people look down on those who fail at a career path? In the US, we look down on lazy people. However, if someone works hard and fails, we do not necessarily consider it bad, and sometimes even look at it as a good thing. Often, when people fail at one career path, they discover they didn't want to do it after all, and maybe will go on to another one which they are better at and enjoy more. Again, the whole idea of doing what's best for oneself.

I noticed that many of the American responses focus on personal fears of rather trivial things: bugs, rats, mice, etc. On the French side, there were far more responses that included much more global issues: "l'environnement," "la guerre," "le futur de notre planète," etc. The environment and war affect everyone, and I was very impressed that many of the French responses were so thoughtful. 

I also noticed that many MIT students said they fear "failing" and "failure." Some of the French responses included failing in one's career (as already mentioned in the above posts), but general "failure" did not appear on the French side as often as it did on the American side. Some people consider themselves failures if they don't achieve their dreams (including those that don't apply to careers, like maybe having a family or traveling the world). Are the French more secure, so that they know they will someday achieve their goals? Or is failure in the workplace so much scarier than failure to reach your other goals that general failure hardly made the list?

Sorry if that question is confusing. Fear is very ambiguous. 

I also noticed how many French responses included career failure. I think that the word association also showed that many French responses to the word "success" included career-related words. Why is there such a heavy emphasis on careers? It made me think that perhaps French universities are more career-oriented, while that is not so much the case here. For example, I know a lot of people who plan to do something completely different from what they are studying when they leave MIT - for example, an engineering major will plan to go to business school or law school - while many others do not really have a plan for when they graduate. Do French students decide exactly what they want to do before going to university? Perhaps this is why there is such fear of career failure - as Yotam mentioned, here many people will change career paths after spending years in one profession, and it is not considered a failure. 

I was also surprised at the difference in responses- the French had so many global fears, whereas the American responses all seemed very individual and self-focused. It was the same in the "Americans seem obsessed with..." responses - the Americans mostly said things like food, celebrities, other people's lives, where the French responses also included things on a more global scale like terrorism.

In my opinion, both the French and Americans have extremely similar responses. I feel that failure is feared by both cultures, regardless of where the failure may occur.  Also, death seemed to be a common fear among both sides of the questionnaire.  The only difference I see is individual versus communal problems.  Americans responded slightly more with individual fears and the French responded slightly more with fears that have a larger effect. The French mention war, the environment, and the economy more than the Americans.


My question is about the French concern for the environment.  I was wondering how popular/strong is the "green" movement in France? Are environmentally friendly goods rising in popularity and sales?



I agree with Michael in that I also believe that most of the answers on both the French and US side were very similiar.  As students, discovering what we want to do and how to do it, it is very understandable that a fear of failure would be a popular response. 

I am impressed by how the French are fearful of things that would actually cause one harm, like the environment or war.  Why do you think you guys are so concerned with such things? Is there a lot of action occuring to fight violence or pollution in France?

In response to Hugo's question: Since the word love is used in non-romantic settings one would automatically just say it.  I don't know, it is hard to explain but because the word is used so casually in my social circle I have never not had someone say it back.

So are you asking if we personally feel the need to please everyone? Umm it depends on the situation, I will be friendly and kind to everyone, but as soon as they are blantantly rude I will stop. So No, I don't feel the need to please people all the time. (Is this what you are looking for?)

Also why are the french scared of being lonely or not developing their personalities fully? the reason that i am asking is because I noticed a lot of words/phrases which meant bad personal growth. 

I think the American responses reflect some of our culture. As a "getting to know you" question, "what are you afraid of?" is often asked. From kindergarden, we answer these questions with things like "spiders," "the dark," etc. Do you talk about fears when you are younger? I remember doing posters where we'd list things like a favorite color, family members, where we were born, what we were afraid of, and pets' names.

As we get older, we think more about more abstract fears like "being lonely" and "losing a family member." What were you afraid of when you were little? Do you think your fears have changed? 

Pour tout le monde:

Il est vrai que l'on remarque que nous prêtons attention à notre travail future.Je pense que ceci est dû au fait qu'il est difficile de trouver un travail en France.Je m'explique, aux Etats Unis l'employeur peut facilement virer un employé, la stabilité de l'emploie n'est pas bonne, par contre ceci permet aux employeurs d'être moins retissant à embaucher.En France, il est très difficile de virer quelqu'un et souvent ceci coute cher à l'entreprise, il ya a donc une bonne stabilité de l'emploi. Par contre il est parallèlement difficile de se faire embaucher. Il y a pas si longtemps que cela un ingénieur qui rentrait dans une entreprise y restait jusqu'à la retraite, c'est peu courant de changer de secteur d'activité en France alors que je pense qu'aux Etats Unis c'est beaucoup plus commun, qu'en pensez vous?

Pour Yotam:

Do people look down on those who fail at a career path?

je pense que c'est dans tous les pays pareil, le travail que l'on fait est un moyen de se mettre en valeur, on ne rabaisse pas explicitement une personne qui a échoué mais par contre cette personne se sent rabaisser face à quelqu'un qui a réussi.Tout homme a besoins de reconnaissance pour avancer.

Pour Lauren Procz:

Are the French more secure, so that they know they will someday achieve their goals?

Je ne pense pas qu'il soit plus facile pour nous de réaliser nos rêves. Mais peut être que nos rêves sont plus accessibles que les vôtres???

Qu'elle est la vie rêvée pour vous?

Pour Lauren Ayers :

Do French students decide exactly what they want to do before going to university?

Après L'ENSAM on peut aussi faire à peu près ce que l'on veut. Nous pouvons choisir ce que l'on veut mais à causes des problèmes que j'ai évoqué la-haut, parfois ce n'est pas facile.

Pour Michael :

I was wondering how popular/strong is the "green" movement in France? Are environmentally friendly goods rising in popularity and sales?

 Oui il en existe deux types:

légales; le parti politique des "Verts" (chez nous il y a une multitude de parti, pas seulement deux grands).Il faut aussi connaitre une figure importante de la prise en considération de l'écologie dans la politique Française, c'est Nicolas Hulot qui se bat pour que l'on ouvre les yeux sur les problèmes climatiques.

illégales: Mouvement anti-OGM dirigé par José Bové qui est parti plusieurs fois en prison pour avoir rasé des champs où l'on planter du maïs génétiquement modifié.

La France est un peu en retard mais on commence à voir des actions (utilisation de sacs réutilisables pour faire les courses, développement des voitures électriques, construction de maison à énergie positive).


Pour Danielle

" What were you afraid of when you were little? Do you think your fears have changed?

Bien sur que que la peur change au fur et mesure que l'on grandit.La peur vient de quelque chose que l'on ne peut pas expliquer, que l'on ne maitrise pas.

Par exemple la mort

Comme on ne maîtrise pas la mort, elle nous fait peur.Pour comprendre : ce qui serait logique dans la peur de la mort c'est d'avoir peur de la souffrance qui viendrait juste avant la mort (on a peur d'avoir mal)or si tu regardes au fond de toi ce n'est pas cela qui te fais peur c'est ce qui se passe après que tu ne peux pas expliquer.Ton cerveau dans le doute transforme cette incompréhension en peur pour que tu l'évites.

On comprend bien maintenant, en fait la peur est un moyen pour le cerveau de nous protéger face à ce qu'il ne comprend pas même si il n'y a pas de raison de s'inquièter.

Quand on est enfant on a peur des monstres, des fantôme, car à cet âge on ne comprend pas que ceux-ci n'existent pas.Alors, comme il y a imcompréhension, dans le doute le cerveau transforme ceci en peur, alors que si on arrivait à comprendre que ceux-ci n'existent pas alors on n'aurait pas peur.

Plus on grandit plus on comprend de choses donc moins on a de peur ou du moins on n'a pas peur des même choses.

J'espère que j'ai pu répondre à ta question

Qu'est ce que tu en penses?