Nothing to Fear.

3 minute read | July 29, 2018

From the Optician to GP Referral.

Recently I had a routine appointment with my optician. The examination showed something in my left eye that resulted in a referral to my GP. The words from the optician were 'Worth getting it checked. It could be a number of general health causes'. The reason I mention this is simply this. A few years ago this situation would have sent me into 'melt down'. My mind would be racing as it suggested things that might be wrong. But not this time. The reason being a mind shift I had when I realised that FEAR is about. False Evidence. Appearing. Real. This post is all about false evidence appearing real.

Over 90% of what we worry about never happens.

In a recent blog post I taked about Negative Bias. Negative Bias developed through evolution and has an impact on our lives today causing us to fear those things we really don't have to worry about.

How did Negative Bias evolve?

Let me take you back in time. You are living in a small community. A small hunter gathering community. A simple life. A life that many would wish for today. Although a simple life there would be challenges. There was the prospect of being attacked or even eaten by predators. You may even meet people that you don't know. People who are not from your community. Some people were good. Many were dangerous to the survival of your own community. To survive you had to pass on your genes. This meant focusing on the pleasurable things in life, shelter, food and sex. Let us call these these the 'carrots' of life. To survive you  needed to avoid the painful things of life, predators, starvation and aggression from others outside your community. Let's call these 'sticks'.

Carrots and Sticks.

To survive sticks have more urgency than carrots. For example if you are unable to get a carrot today, shelter, food and sex there is aways tomorrow. However if you fail to avoid a stick there will be no more carrots tomorrow. Fear accompanies negative bias. Once again imagine yourself sitting by the campfire and firstly  you think there was a Tiger in the bushes when there wasn't one. Now you are thing there is no tiger in the bushes. But there is one. The cost of thinking about the first one is needless worry and anxiety. The cost of thinking about the second one is death.

What does this scenario tell us about negative bias on fear?

We think about the first scenario many times to avoid the second scenario that will only happen once. Over 90% of what we worry about never happens. Now hopefully you no longer live in this life or death situation. There is no tiger in the bushes! However the challenges of today may include juggling your daily schedule. Making a presentation at work. Having a difficult conversation with your partner, boss, work colleague or sibling. Very often we build up these fears. Our brains have evolved to do this. To survive the Tiger. However there is no need for fear. There are plenty of carrots. They are abundant. You see them most days. But may not see the opportunity. I would suggest (unless you live in a place where they live) that you don't see a Tiger from one day to the next. On closing this post I would like to ask you a question. Have many things that you were fearful about yesterday actually happened? Our negative bias evolved over time. It is in the wiring of our brains. However we don't have to let it take over our lives. Oh! By the way everything was found to be OK following my referral to the GP. No Tiger there then. Be Happy - Be Inspired. Steve   
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