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Why You Should Be Afraid

The news tells us we should be afraid of a lot of things. Terrorism. Hillary. Trump. Bernie. Guns. Obama taking away our guns. Kanye West getting too egotistical. Game of Thrones ending.

In fact those things have an extremely small effect on your life in the past, now and the future.

Here are the most important things you should be worrying about. They apply to you personally, mostly, and secondarily to your children.

Not constantly learning
Most of us never pick up a book after we leave high school or college. Or if we’ve learned a skill we never expand on it. This holds you back in your career the most of all. I remember having a friend with a computer science degree who kept coming back to me (college dropout) for advice all the time. Turned out he never studied outside of school. That lesson stayed with me forever.

Thinking a degree or certificate is a skill
A degree on paper is not a skill. It only means that you took the time to study something and pass an exam without quitting. The most important part is now actually learning a skill and improving on it every day.

Not being healthy
This one is hard, but can easily be solved by thinking about your food as you think about anything complex. Read the labels. Read about nutrition. Take an interest in what you eat (or don’t eat). Try to exercise. Studies show that even 7 minutes of strong exercise every day is all you need.

Not planting seeds
Most of us are waiting for something or someone before we start the thing we should have started a long time ago. Want to start a new course at school but don’t have the money as yet? Go online and learn from free courses on practically every subject. Then when you get the tuition, you will be miles ahead of everyone else in your class. No time to start a business? Take an hour each night to do a little part. Love writing poetry? Start a free blog and post your poems online. Doing all of these things mean you’re planting seeds that will help you in the future. Get off your ass and plant some now.

Thinking inside the box
Nothing new was ever invented by thinking the same thoughts that everyone else did. Every piece of technology you use was invented by someone asking themselves the question “what if I did that thing slightly differently?” You learn how to think outside of the box by constantly learning new things.

Thinking you know everything
This is probably the most important thing you should worry about. After all, the greek philosopher Aristotle said “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know”. If you’ve ever dug deep into any topic, you know you’re just scratching the surface. Never just nod your head and agree to anything. At this point in human history we’ve had more instantaneous access to information than ever before. Look it up. Then look it up 3 more times from other places to confirm the first lookup. Then you’re barely beginning to know a little about a single fact.

Not reading enough books
Whether you read fiction or non-fiction, books are a summary of knowledge that an author has spend a lifetime so far learning. All contained in pages that you can ingest in a day or two. You should be finishing at least a book a week. There’s nothing in this world that can make you smarter, faster. Be extremely worried if you can’t remember the last time you read a book.

Not being curious
Why are those bubbles in my aquarium? How long does it take for that goldfish to give birth? Do they lay eggs or have live births? What books should I buy for my 3 year old child? Why does that sunset look so great especially when I’m sipping my beer at 6pm? If you’re not asking those kinds of questions every moment of the day - even for the fun of it, then you should be seriously worried.

Thinking with your emotions
Every time you face a problem, it’s always fun to react based on your feelings. If you normally do this, then be worried. To change this, react more slowly. Count to 10. Count to 10,000. Wait until the feelings die down, then think logically instead. You’ll be surprised how much you change this way.

Being too comfortable
Catch yourself every day as you start to slip into your comfort zone again. If you find yourself building too much of a nest,  whether real or metaphorical, then you’re too comfortable. Act as if everything you have could be taken away tomorrow (it could).  The times of most learning is when we are outside of our comfort zone. Your brain literally rewires itself to cope, and thus you have a whole new set of skills. I’m not saying you shouldn’t relax, but this is what a “rut” is.

Not having goals
Unless you’re a pre-teen, you should firmly be planning and executing on what you will be doing tomorrow, next week, next month and the next 5 years.  Write down your goals in a place where you see them every day, then start working on them one by one.

Most of what you need to take away the fear, is in your hands right now. Some of us are paralyzed by outside fears. Others are paralyzed into inaction by inside fears.

The quickest way to move into action is to force yourself into something unfamiliar. You’d be surprised how quickly your life can chance.