I recently came across a TED talk presentation given by Jonathan Fields on how people can turn their fear into a source of fuel to accomplish their goals. This goes along with the concept I introduce to my patients who struggle with anxiety to varying degrees. That concept is this, if the only guarantee in life is eventual death, then what is it we have to fear?
I like how Mr. Fields discusses how he uses his fear of living a mediocre existence ridiculed with memories of regret as his source of inspiration for accomplishing his goals. Fear is a good thing, given recent research into brain science, fear along with other emotions have been shown to serve as catalysts into how memories are encoded into long term memory. This means that without an emotion like fear our fore fathers would have perished, having not being able to learn significant lessons regarding circumstances that presented as dangers to their well being.
Transitioning into the modern era, it appears that most people have become victims of their intellect, meaning that what makes us smart also has the potential of making us quite dumb. Specifically, given that the human mind has evolved to seek out shortcuts towards solving problems, i.e, the shortest distance between two points and the development of technologies for convenience, it stands to reason that some people by coincidence have come to dread and avoid dealing with any emotion which creates discomfort for them or reminds them of their vulnerability.
In truth, even if a person has unlimited access to all the resources of the world, his or her happiness or longevity can never truly be guaranteed. The decisions we make to improve our lives are all based on probabilities, as in which decisions if followed through on, are most likely to give us desired outcomes. Even desired outcomes don’t guarantee happiness, longevity, or lack of suffering.
In short, life is short and the decisions we make to improve our lives are based on probabilities that a desired outcome is most likely, versus making no changes to one’s undesirable situation which presents with a high probability that a desired outcome will never be fulfilled.
Enjoy the video.
Ugo is a psychotherapist and owner of Road 2 Resolutions PLLC, a professional counseling practice based in Tucson AZ.