What motivates us? I’ve studied human dynamics for several years and have narrowed it down to one simple answer, which is fear. We’re all motivated by fear at varying levels. Fear, or more importantly, our reaction to fear motivates our most basic and primal decisions.
I’ve decided that our perception of our fears that are both real and the ones we create in our imaginations and our reactions to those fears are what drives our internal happiness. It’s hard to be happy and fearful at the same time.
When I was growing up, my mother always told me, “98% of what you fear never happens and there is nothing you could do about the 2% that occurs, so stop worrying about it.” I don’t know if it was because I was so young and naive, but I took what my mom said to heart, and never became much of a worrier and simply chose not to lead a fearful life, and as result, I’m truly happy.
I once read a study conducted with people that were on their death beds. The study focused on what they regretted most as they reflected on their lives. Most regretted that they didn’t allow themselves to be happy. They realized that happiness was a choice and that they should’ve chose to be happier more. I believe we can choose to be happy by not being fearful about all the things that could go wrong. What do I mean by this?
I remember in 1999, living in Colorado Springs, and reading and hearing about the potential affects Y2K would have on the computer systems and that many were predicting mass chaos as our computer network would implode. Apparently, our computers were not equipped to change the calendar date to 2000. People were in a panic. Folks stocked up on canned goods, water, gas, and other supplies to ride out the pending doom that would hit our civilized world. For me, I simply didn’t care and went about my life and remained happy and content that my world would still be intact on January 1st, 2000. None of the doom and gloom that so many predicted in Y2K ever happened, it proved to be fear based nonsense. Life went on, like it always had and society trucked along, as it had for centuries.
Don’t get me wrong, I lock my doors at night and ensure my home and family are secure. I recognize there is evil in the world and there are some people that desire to do my family and my country harm. I recognize that there are forces that desire to disrupt my world and I take the necessary precautions, I just don’t dwell on them or fear them.
Fear dominates our news and social media. Family dinners are focused on the bad news of the world and the underlying fear that accompanies it. I encourage you to not allow fear to steal your joy. Former President Barrack Obama was not the antichrist and Donald Trump is not going to destroy the world as we know it. We are a resilient and strong people with boundless energy, ingenuity, and hope that got us to the moon and back and we will continue to thrive and endure.
The issue is not will you encounter fear; the point is how will you react to it? How are you reacting to it now? You can’t control what you see on the news or read online, but you can certainly control what you do in your own world that you touch and influence every single day.
Approach life with the optimism that the sun will come up tomorrow and you control how you fill your days and what you allow into your mind and heart. Yes, your taxes may go up, maybe the price of gas will rise, and maybe it will cost more to buy a gallon of milk, so what? I can’t control that, and neither can you. I vote for the people that I hope will make good decisions on my behalf, but I don’t wring my hands worrying about every decision made outside of my control. Instead, I love my family, appreciate my life, and serve my Lord and do the best I can to add value to the world I touch and I let the rest play out and I make necessary adjustments as life comes my way.
I choose to be happy because I choose not to lead a fearful life. How about you? Are you allowing fear to control you? Why?