Managing fear

Why do we treat this credit crunch as a disaster? Disaster? More like a massacre. A bloodbath with no survivors.

And anyone who even mentions a green shoot is taken away and summarily shot.

The trouble is that disasters are a threat to life. And we’re programmed to react to life threats  with fear: fight, flight or freeze. No thought, of course- because the neo-cortex is too slow to beat a rampaging dinosaur or tsunami.

Is that what we need to get through this Crisis?  A good dose of fear? Mind you, we’ve tried that already haven’t we? The banks and governments first fought off any criticism of those very clever CDO’s. Then, when that didn’t work, they grabbed their money -and refused to do business with anyone. That’s the ticket; that’ll keep our money safe – don’t lend it out at all. And finally, in sheer abject terror, we’ve come up with the brilliant idea of…. running away: cutting  people,jobs and the business: do nothing new.

What’s actually happened here? Why are we in this state? Because things (tools, processes, strategies) that did work, no longer do so.

What do we need to do to get out of this state? Find strategies and tools that do work.

What skill do we need to start looking for those strategies? Thought. Reasonable, innovative, strategic thought.

And what’s the greatest enemy of thought? Fear.

So, we are pumping ourselves full of the one thing that stops us from getting through this crisis.

If this is sounding too simplistic; if you feel that human emotion can not possibly be helping to strangle the world economy, let’s take a look at a few examples:

  • why are the banks not lending any money to businesses that need it?
  • why are the banks not looking at new ways to do business?
  • how many businesses that you know are exploring new products or services?

In fact, who’s being the most innovative in seeking solutions?  Government or the private sector? Now, there’s a really frightening thought.

Human emotion got us into this; human emotion will have to get us out. If wishful thinking – in the form of greed – got us into taking excessive risk, then realistic, clear , values based thinking will be needed to get us out. So the best thing that we can all do is start to understand what is our optimum personal environment  where we can each produce that kind of thinking.

How do you do that? In my experience there are 5 pillars you need to build:

  • Understand and manage what is important in your life: Your Values
    • if you don’t know what’s important in your life, no wonder greed -that great ally of purposelessness – will fill the vacuum
  • Understand and manage what Fear does to you.
    • what fear you manufacture; what stories you tell yourself; how to quieten the brain
  • Understand the strength and resilience that has kept you going so far -and can push you further, if you let it.
    • you’ve persevered under pressure before. How did you do it? How can you do it on a much larger scale?
  • Work with allies: colleagues, friends, family, mentors and guides.
    • share, help, understand, be understood. It ‘s how you grow
  • Do.
    • try it out; experiment; make mistakes; learn; move on

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