… sad post, go away.. Do you know why many people, maybe even all of them, who managed to face some truly life-threatening events and came out without lasting injuries describe their ordeal in terms of “eye-opening” or “made me stronger”? Well, for one, going head on against a bear and living to tell the tale makes most everyday crap seem trivial. Of course it is. We just don’t have anything else to compare them with. In the end, shit’s not that bad as we believe it to be, it’s all in our minds – but that’s a bad thing.
You see, we don’t get that many wars around. We’re not constantly on the lookout for vicious beasts that could be hunting us. We’re not living in Australia’s outback, fending off attacks from every living, breathing menace that lives there. We don’t live in constant danger. We don’t need to fear that much – but we do. We should be happier than a kitten around a ball of yarn – but we’re not. Why? Why do we have so many panic attacks, anxiety, depression and other stress related illnesses? Well, I think we’re ..insert curse word here.. to begin with, if the world won’t threaten us then we’ll look for something or somebody that will.
Our nature conspires against us, it’s interesting to research if the need for enemies is actually hardwired into our DNA or it’s something we learn from social interactions. I did find there’s a gap between logic and emotion, over the years, since I couldn’t get rid of my fears by using logic. No amount of rationalization could even get close to what resulted from actually facing my fears. You think public speaking is easy? There’s many people who fear it more than they do snakes – and guess which one of those is more dangerous than the other. Even worse, you think telling them their fear is really irrational will make it less intense? No. Logic can’t touch emotion, not on short term.
I have a small theory about fear, might be just the thing for some or not, depends. I’m trying to explain some of the stuff but constantly get to the same issue, therefore I may have something here. You see, our unconscious brain constantly interprets the world around us before it presents the picture to the conscious part of the brain for deeper analysis. Since it acts as a buffer between reality and the conscious brain, it might even be corrupting the information passing through and we’re missing it. It could use bias, habit, expectation, to distort how reality is presented to our conscious self. Ever see a picture of a man next to a huge chair? To correctly picture reality, we have to have some sort of anchor, something to compare things against, even if we’re not comparing objects but feelings. Everything is subjective, even emotions or sometimes pain. Therefore a feeling we can’t compare might be downplayed or it might be upgraded to biblical proportions. Ever look back at some of our teenage tragedies? They looked so intense, so bad, at that time – but now? Yes. They look a lot less important than they did back then.
Many problems we have tend to begin with our birth, not because we’re born but because our education begins about that time. We fall and scratch our knee and we look up at our parents for validation, we don’t have anything to compare it with. The same thing happens with everything else. We learn to avoid social mistakes because we’re told they’re important. We learn what is important and what’s not from society – even if that’s not correct. Sometimes what’s important to others isn’t important to some individuals, but that won’t stop them from learning the wrong lessons. You think going bald is a tragedy? A cancer patient will gladly trade all that hair for the cancer. Sometimes what we’re taught is pure crap. Oh yes, it is. Tell my why protesters would burn cars, even police cars, loot stores and create chaos? Bullshit.
Because we have nothing to compare our experiences against, it’s easy for others to manipulate our sense of proportion, to “create a need” for things we don’t actually need. They see opportunity and no, there’s no conspiracy here – they’re people who don’t follow the same rules we do. It’s human nature, pure and simple, because sometimes rules aren’t actual laws and because of that, not everybody feels bound by them. Immorality isn’t against the law. However, their number goes up every day and that’s why everything around us lobs fear at us from every angle. The ones with less restrictions make the rest of the people think they are under attack and their products are the only thing standing between them and oblivion. Every little fear is exaggerated, blown out of proportion, magnified to reflect the need to sell. We don’t have to think, we have to act. But there’s no real threat, no real urgency – it’s all in our minds.
I didn’t make fun of security products to make you fear your own shadow, I’m not trying to sell you anything. I did it to show you something you lack – a sense of proportion, a scale if you will. Stop trying to worry about everything, not because you shouldn’t but because you’ve got limited capacity for worry, if you worry too much you’ll go into shock. Instead, know your limits, find what’s actually worth worrying about and ignore the rest. The point is, if you rely on external sources to point you in the right direction, you’re wrong. Using software to protect your dirty pictures and cloud storage to hide them is a bad choice – have you ever thought of not making them? There are always easy solutions to complex problems. Why would you need a top crypto solution to protect the messages to and from your boyfriend or girlfriend? Why would you even use a website to cheat on your significant other? Then again, why would you expect that website to be secure?
Everything can and eventually will be used against you, given enough time. Stop doing rookie mistakes. Keep it simple, stupid – that’s the KISS principle you ought to tatoo on your arse. It’s that easy. Too much fear makes you go berserk, in one way or the other. You worry too much, you think too much, you believe too many people and trust too much. You’ve got enough brains to become president but you don’t believe me and get depressed every 3 months or so because you feel you’re not good enough. You’re relatively healthy but you only trust “all-natural” scammers and actors that tell you their secret to success is not eating meat. You worry about your skin so you buy expensive crap instead of cheap moisturizer. You’ll do surgery to remove part of your stomach, even if you don’t have hormonal issues, or spend half your yearly income on diet pills that make you sick, even if you’re fat because you ate too much crap. Stop! Think a bit here. You’re not in control of your life, they are, and that’s what’s making you ill. Take control of your life. Take your life back.
There is one thing you have to stop doing, right now. Get a couple of days off work and go someplace quiet. No TV, no news, no phone, no internet. Now put your brain to work by answering one question: if everything is a threat to me, how do I minimize the danger and still have a good life? Think about it, it’s a good one. You see, you have to define “good”, you have to know the difference between the things you need and the things you just think you need. Declutter. Then, you follow up by defining “danger” – what’s actually a threat to you. If you come out thinking public speaking is a threat to you, I’d take it to a shrink – because if you fear public speaking you either fight it by facing it or you avoid it and look for another job. Oh, it’s not your job? Well, if public speaking isn’t a job requirement, why the hell do you fear it? Reframe your thoughts. Identify those thoughts that don’t apply to you and imagine them as a tennis ball you can grab with your dominant hand and throw it down a river or in a trash can. Look at your life, alone. Look at your job, look at your personal life, look at what’s actually required of you for each of them. Simplify everything. If you feel you have no time for yourself, look at how you spend your time and think what you actually want to keep. Then discard the rest. Think of your mind as if it has a limited amount of worry capacity – if you have to worry, then make the most of it. Choose to worry about actual threats, identify those. Make a list, order it on importance and intensity – then choose. It’s your list, you choose, let nobody do it for you.