The world we live in operates on fear. It’s the fuel that guides our daily decisions. We all do it. Small decisions and big decisions alike.
How many times a week do we choose low quality fast-food to save a meagre 5 bucks a day?
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How often do we treat others with contempt, condescension, and ill-regard for personal short-term gains? How often have you been treated as such?
Do you criticise, degrade and destroy your self-worth when you fail to achieve your goal?
Do you remain in your relationship despite the mental abuse because you fear hurting someone else, or because you fear loneliness?
Majority of us constantly make critical decisions from a place of scarcity - the mindset that life is a zero-sum game; there is only one pie that has to be shared between many so your gain is always someone’s loss. With this mindset, it’s difficult to share power, recognition, profit or credit; it’s hard to be happy for the success of friends and family; and it creates an extremely limiting future outlook. The scarcity mindset is a fear of not having enough in the future, that I must selfishly take and consume today.
How did fear propagate into our daily decision making?
One of the basic principles of biology is evolution - adapting to on-going tests of survival in the surrounding environment. When our ancestors lived in Nature roughly 100,000 years ago, the challenges typically would be shelter, food, and avoiding predators, amongst others. As surviving humans witnessed carnivores ruthlessly tear their friends and loved ones apart, they developed a fear response whenever a carnivore appeared. Over many such instances over a long period of time, a conditioned response, now known as a ‘flight or fight’ response, was deeply ingrained into their psyches.
To the point that every time a bush ruffled, our ancestors anticipated an attack from a carnivore.
This anticipation created an environment of uncertainty, unpredictability, which led to anxiety and increased reactivity. Repetition of this behavior created an habit out of it - fear had become a “tool” we used, not only for survival, but any time uncertainty was part of the equation.
Fast forward to present time, as fear has evolved into our subconscious, we habitually react to situations from a fearful position.
At work, we fear making wrong decisions because failure is not something I do. At school, we fear standing out and being different because we will be ridiculed. At home, we fear not making the grades our parents expect because we don’t want to disappoint them.
With money, we purchase lower quality products because we save $10. With our health, we ignore it until it comes back to bite us because we don’t face the full strength of consequences immediately. With our time, we waste it on meaningless tasks because we don’t have a mission to achieve.
The threats that modern humans face are towards the survival of our current lifestyle. We spend time and energy resisting the tide that brings about inevitable change. We avoid situations and environments of uncertainty. We hold on to our past and current situations for fear of destruction of our identity. We dream small enough - bite-sized, achievable goals - to make ourselves feel comfortable and successful. Despite the lack of a considerable and knowable external threat, we are still living unhappy, uncomfortable lives striving for more out of scarcity.
But not anymore…
Times are changing. More and more of us are shedding light on our fear-based, scarcity-riddled lives. An increasing number of publications have emerged to create a movement of self-exploration. Mind Body Green. Tiny Buddha. Zen Habits. Elephant Journal. To name a few.
We have travel blogs where modern and savvy adventurers venture out into the unknown - both in this physical and digital world. Around the World in Eighty Days. Where Sidewalks End. Wandering Educators. To name a few.
Then self-experiment blogs emerged to inspire people to conduct their own experiments - to venture away from the traditional means in society. Entrepreneurs. The likes of Tim Ferriss. Maria Popova. Chris Guillebeau. Joshua Becker. Mark Manson. A few out of more than 100 blogs with amazing content.
These journeys have evolved into expeditions within the mind - understanding our subconscious nature and unraveling it. We now know that we, only WE are responsible for understanding and unraveling our minds. This is the latest movement as the world’s subconscious emerges from the darkness. We are waking up to the atrocities committed all over the world. We are waking up to the injustices we see in our daily lives. We are awakening to discover these realities.
In the unraveling of our subconscious mind, we discover ourselves.
This is my self-exploration journey. This is my path. Find out more here!
What fears have you overcame lately?