We’ve been living outside the US for the last 12 years and a month ago moved back to the US. There have been a lot of things that we have celebrated and enjoyed about this country but one of the things that I’ve noticed worries me . Everywhere I look I see fear. We’re a country under siege of fear. It’s permeating our news, media, television, movies, books, our conversations and our lives. Fear does have a purpose in our lives, it keeps us from doing stupid things (sometimes). It tells us to look both ways before we cross the street, not to pet a rattle snake, to avoid the shortcut through the dark alley…these are all good things to take heed of. Every emotion has it’s purpose but when any of our emotions (besides joy) gets too much spotlight in our life things go out of balance and it prevents us from certain things.
Giving into fear prevents us from:
- Fear prevents us from loving. We can’t love something that we’re afraid of. Fear if stoked for too long turns into distrust and hate. You can’t hate and love something at the same time (except double stuffed Oreos!) Our politics, our neighborhoods, media, even many of our churches are filled with fear and as a result we lose the ability to love anyone who isn’t just like us. When we stop loving others we become selfish and our ability to think about what is best for others is gone.
- Fear prevents us from connecting. We were designed to be in community. Our ideas and dreams are better accomplished in relationships. We need other people to speak into what we’re doing, we need their different perspectives. Entrepreneurs don’t create businesses in a vacuum of humanity, they bring in people at different levels to help shape, coach and launch their ideas. When we don’t connect with people that are different from us we rob ourselves and them of potential collaborative opportunities.
- Fear prevents us from dreaming. I’m highly creative and a futurist, I see opportunities everywhere, all the time. When this world view is tinted with fear I can also see dark possibilities. This is one of the reasons that so many creatives struggle with depression and anxiety. It’s difficult to consume fear all day and then dream about “a great big beautiful tomorrow.”
- Fear prevents us from creating. When we let fear consume us we go into survival mode. The worst part of this survival mode is that we stop believing in possibilities in ourselves and the world around us. This loss of hope kills the ability to create. The ability to imagine and create is what elevates us above the primal to a place where we can begin to solve the world’s problems. This loss is enormous because imagination and creativity are the antidote to a fear filled life.
There are real problems in our world that need to be solved. The reality is that there have always been problems and there always will be, nothing is new under the sun. The best creations in life combine meeting another person’s needs (love), collaborative development (connecting) and an idea that is worth pursuing (dreaming).
What would happen if we would stop being afraid, stop giving into hate and start loving, connecting, dreaming and connecting? I say we give it a try and see what happens!
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