ARE YOU AFRAID?
That would be a fairly reasonable and normal response to the COVID-19 threat today.
It is also a very common response to some of the other huge life-threatening environmental challenges that we are facing including: climate change, pollution of our air, waters, seas and food supplies, loss or extinction of thousands of species that we depend on like bees and fish stocks.
But the thing about allowing fear to dominate your thoughts is that it can freeze the mind and set the body into a survivalist ‘fight or flight’ mode. Unfortunately, we cannot stand up and fight COVID-19 nor the other environmental threats. Neither can we take flight to run away from them. So a fear-based response can make you feel helpless and hopeless in the face of danger which often leads to anger and blame (both are typical responses to fear) which does not help us to effectively deal with the threats.
But telling someone ‘don’t be afraid’ when they are actually in peril – is just plain dumb. It does not help!
And recommending a ‘gung-ho’ big brave attitude without thinking – is equally not smart!
Happily, there is a better way to deal with fear.
To be able to intelligently and effectively deal with a dangerous situation, you can override the fear emotion by introducing an even more powerful emotion.
There are two emotions I know of that are more powerful than fear.
LOVE is one – there are millions of cases where people have overcome their fear and done incredible things in the face of great danger – to save the life of a loved one.
DESIRE is another – there are equally many cases where people have done the most amazing things and succeeded despite all odds against them because they wanted something so passionately that they are willing to feel the fear but still do what is needed to achieve their heart’s desire. Like a one-legged, blind person skiing down a mountainside or a poverty-stricken, suppressed, unarmed community overcoming the might of a powerful, wealthy and highly armed immoral regime. Remember that? And Martin Luther King was saying ‘I have a dream’ at a time when everyone else was suppressed by fear… So the fact is that a powerful desire can also overcome most odds.
And those are the emotions we need to leverage right now, to overcome the current threats to humanity.
Bring love and desire together to formulate a VISION of the society and environment that you would really LOVE to live in. And let this vision stimulate, motivate and drive your thoughts and actions to overcome all odds to achieve it.
SELF-FULFILLING VIEWS AND BELIEFS
In addition to overcoming fear, there is another reason to build your own motivational VISION of the world you would love to live in.
I remember my instructor when learning to drive, saying to me “Now just drive straight ahead between those two poles – and do NOT hit the poles”. You can guess what happened! Why? Because my mind was filled with the fear of hitting the poles – that was the point of my focus and concentration. The fact is that whatever we focus on – we magnify and our thoughts become somewhat self-fulfilling. So if you are constantly paying attention to negative world news – then your world is likely to be a very scary, dangerous place. But if you are a nature and wildlife photographer – your world will most likely be filled with beauty and wonder and you will see ever more and more of it.
So what kind of self-fulfilling world do you want to create and live in?
I know that just as we have created a dysfunctional world today through short-sighted and self-destructive values and thinking, we do have all the technologies and resources we need to create a beautiful, harmonious, happy and healthy world – if that is what we actively choose and we ACT upon that choice!
So instead of running scared of the dangers we are facing, let’s get busy identifying and creating a very clear picture or VISION of the world that we DO want!
To use the driving school analogy – you keep the poles (dangers) in your peripheral vision – but focus on the objective (vision) that you want to achieve.
That way, you feel the fear, but are not overwhelmed by it. You activate love and desire to achieve the better world that you would love to live in.
When creating your Vision for the world you want to live in, do not be limited by what you ‘think is possible and achievable’. That would be far too limiting. Remember, going to the moon was once regarded as impossible. So was the four-minute mile. There are thousands of other examples of people achieving the so-called ‘impossible’. So remember the saying ‘what can be dreamed – can be achieved’.
Now is the time to really have fun. Let your imagination go wild. What kind of world would you love to live in? Dream it and define it in detail. And get into the feeling of it. Emotion magnifies your thoughts – so ‘think it and feel it’!
Get it down on paper. Look at it often to build on and refine it. Share your vision with someone that you can bounce ideas off and stimulate each other’s imagination.
BEGIN IT NOW!
In the next blog, we will look at the advantages of an integrated and inclusive viewpoint. Have you been taught and led into a ‘Silo‘ perspective or have you resisted that temptation and built a more ‘holistic’ perspective?