How Can You Prevent Your Fear From Limiting Your Options?

I’ve seen many people say, “We need to reopen the economy, now. We can’t afford more people out of work. We need to get the economy moving.”

I’ve also seen many people say, “We must not sacrifice the health of people to reopen the economy. If we do and many people die, we won’t have an economy anyway.”

I suspect that both camps are correct. We must not sacrifice the people for the economy. And, we can’t sacrifice the economy for the people.

We need more options. When we think there are only two options, we fall into the Rule of Three trap: we have a dilemma.

I suspect we don’t see more options because of our fear. What causes our fear? Often, lack of data:

  • We don’t know enough about actual infection rates, because some people are asymptomatic.
  • We can’t easily obtain the data: we don’t have enough tests for antibodies or the virus, especially for mild cases.
  • We don’t quite know how the virus acts: how many times can you get the virus? What happens when you do?

In the absence of data, we have theories. We tell ourselves stories—some plausible. Some are not.

In the absence of data, we also experience fear. FEAR diminishes our ability to create more options.

And, more options is what we need right now.

As I wrote in How Can You Use Your Fear or Vulnerability to Create Courage? we often feel vulnerable when we fear. The more vulnerable we feel, the less we can think clearly. And, of course, we need all of our thinking to create options.

Possibilities to Create Options

Let’s imagine that you and I agree that choosing between people’s safety and the economy is a false choice. Let’s imagine we want to select both of those choices as part of our options. Now, ask this question, to add at least a third option to the previous possibilities:

What would have to be true to choose both personal safety and to jump-start the economy?

We might then discuss testing and how much of what kind we need and when. We know how to manage those kinds of projects.

We might discuss the need for faster tests. Again, we might need research, and we know how to manage those projects.

The testing and data-gathering projects might require experiments and several parallel efforts to get reasonable results faster.

We might also ask:

  • What else do we need to know about this problem?
  • When can we learn the next piece?
  • What prevents us from a great decision?

I rarely believe we have only one or two viable options. We have more. For me, the hard part is the option discovery.

When I’m fearful, I tend to get tunnel vision. I focus on myself and not the greater context. That inner focus does not help me see more options.

We’re all in this dark tunnel, with very little light. We need all of our resourcefulness to discover more options, so we don’t prematurely cut off possibilities.

That’s the question this week: How can you prevent your fear from limiting your options?

One thought on “How Can You Prevent Your Fear From Limiting Your Options?

  1. Pingback: Can We Choose for the Common Good? | Create An Adaptable Life

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