The gemara tells us that Shimon ha'Amsuni was able to darshen every single "es" in the Torah, but when he got to the pasuk, "Es Hashem Elokecha tira," "pireish," he could not go further. R' Akiva, on the other hand, darshened even that "es." It explained it as coming "l'rabos talmidei chachamim," to include havin awe of talmidei chachamim (Pesachim 22)
When Shimon ha'Amsuni encountered the mitzvah of yirah, he thought the way to fulfill it was "pireish," through prishus=separating from the world, from the community, and digging inward to achieve self perfection.
R' Akiva, on the other hand, thought just the opposite. One can achieve yirah by "l'rabos talmidei chachamim," by building the community, increasing the number of people involved in Torah and learning Torah.
Why was it R' Akiva in particular who was able to arrive at this insight? R' Meir Shapira of daf yomi fame explained that R' Akiva early in life before he came to learning had an intense hatred for talmidei chachamim. The Rambam writes that the way to correct a midah is to go to the opposite extreme. Therefore, R' Akiva more than anyone else came to an intense love and appreciation for talmidei chachamim and their influence.