In 1939, Hitler's invasion of Poland marked the beginning of the most devastating war in human history. It started on horseback, and concluded with the invention of nuclear fission only six years later.
When the Soviets launched Sputnik in 1958, the US responded by forming NASA and landing a man on the moon in just over a decade.
And when a novel and deadly virus started spreading rapidly in Wuhan in December of 2019, scientists sequenced and published its genome online mere days after its discovery.
Fear is a powerful motivator. It may not always be the most effective at inspiring action in those you lead, but it's a major catalyst for technological innovation.
And even on the individual level, sometimes a little bit of fear can help us rise to the occasion.
Hat tip to Morgan Housel for sharing these examples.