I agree with most of what you wrote, but not this. Most Scuba panic is induced by divers not being in trim and neutral. I've seen people spend so much energy on not hitting the bottom or floating to the surface that they forget to watch gauges. Why do you think they simply run out of air? They're too busy trying to not die to even notice.
Some fears are rational while many are not. Falling's fine, but I have a distinct fear of hitting the ground. I have a natural fear of heights, that I have worked on my whole life. When the kids were young enough to do water parks, I would do the super high wedgie maker slides at least twice on every visit. I was even a BSA climbing instructor at one point until I pulled a shoulder out of its socket trying to exceed a limit. I went back to diving after that.
When I was a kid, I was afraid of the dark. Every chance I got, I went out when it was dark until I lost the fear. On campouts, I trained myself to navigate the woods at night and really developed my hearing. Three years ago, in Fiji, I'm walking around without a light at dusk and stepped into a three-foot-deep concrete drainage ditch. Broke the tibia and fibula on my left leg. I still walk around at night like a troglodyte. It's also why I like diving caves, I guess.
Diving, and life in general, are all about limits. Know them and respect them. I simply can't state this enough. Part of your instructor's job is to teach you all about them. Many instructors fail. It's now up to you to figure them out. Strength, skills, and such can only take you so far. Your mind is the best thing you've got to keep you from hurting yourself.
I can see that, although I would have included out of trim into unprepared. It does need more emphasis then that though.. so I agree.
Yeah, I think I'll stick with diving too... I like the "feeling" of falling off a cliff while diving down a wall, not so much actually looking down a cliff with the potential of actually falling!
I think a lot of instructors fail because they either do the bare minimum or they're teaching one specific way and teaching is really not a one size fits all.