Status Quo or the “Rut we are in”

October 24, 2015 (Riyadh) –

            In the previous few blogs I wrote on “fear” driven behavior, the paradox of fear driven behavior, and how at times others want to bludgeon opponents due to the fears they have about their opponents.

I wonder how many “fears” are held in place by one’s comfort zone? As the clique goes, “I would rather deal with the devil in know then take up something unknown.” Children of alcoholics who are sometimes abused and mistreated turn right around and marry alcoholics and are at times abused and mistreated once again. Why would someone go into such a tenuous marriage already knowing the possible consequences? Maybe because an abusive relationship is the “devil they know” and they would rather not flee to the unknown.

Another side of the story is the “fear of the unknown.” From my experience I am never afraid of the unknown per se. What I am afraid of is the mental stories from my past that I put in the unknown. The day before one attends their birthday celebration, though the specifics are not known, one is not afraid of the ensuing party. Experience has told you that it will be a good event. When one has some premonition of an upcoming event that things will not go well, we fill the “unknown” with all sorts of bad thoughts. Where did those thoughts come from? While the specifics of what is coming are unknown, the premonition of what is generally coming is bad. One starts filling the unknown with all sorts of “bad” things that one freezingthinks one deserves based on whatever their life’s story has told them.

The story of Watson as CO of IBM is illustrative. An employee made a $1 million dollar error back when $1 million meant a lot to the business. The employee walked into Watson’s office, an unknown, with his resignation in hand. The employee had a premonition based on the employee’s own history that such an event resulted in a dismissal.understanding 2 He had no idea what Watson would due but the employees “bad thoughts” were running wild. The employee goes into Watson’s office and hands him the resignation form. Watson’s response could be an entire blog in itself. Watson said, “I have just paid $1 million in training you. Why would I fire you? Now get back to work!”

How many times has your fear of the unknown with subsequent bad thinking proven to be baseless other than it was fed by your history and your sense of blameworthiness? Or worse still, you go into the unknown argument 2with such trepidation that those fears in and of themselves precipitate a bad outcome. An outcome that was not planned but happened because of your own fear driven hallucination of what was about to happen.

One aspect of Toastmasters is helping people with their public presentation skills. Going up in front of people is a huge unknown for many. As the story goes, for many there is such trepidation of presenting up front that if they had to chose between giving the eulogy at a funeral or being the person dead in the box they would chose the person dead in the box every time. What are many afraid of: exposure and subsequent rejection? Why do they think they will be rejected? To some extent that is what their history has told them about themselves. Anyway they go to the front of the room, and what do they do but all sorts of things that in any other environment would insure rejection. Their fears alone started precipitating behaviors in themselves that in any less of an environment would have insured rejection.

One thought that I have found that helps me deal with the unknown is being “OK” in my own skin. I do lots of public presentations; lots of opportunity to have trepidations before an event, in fact several every month. I do my preparations, focus on the gifts I am giving and move forward. Yes, I have been rejected but then I move on.  guy one I have not rejected David.

Here is an extract from Shakespeare which is germane to this blog:

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Act 3 Scene 1

To be or not to be…… that is the question

Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

Or take arms against a sea of troubles

And by opposing them, to sleep….. to die…..

But that dread of something after death

The undiscovered country, from whose bourn

No traveler returns, puzzles the will

And makes us rather bear those ills we have

Than fly to others we know not of


That conscience does make cowards of us all

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sickled over with the pale cast of thought

And enterprises of great pith and moment

With this regard, their currents turn awry

And lose the name of ACTION

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