Archives for posts with tag: Fear

Life would be much better without stress, without those mini- or major panic attacks that I have to assume consume us all from time to time.

Whether it’s our work commitments or other aspects, they can prompt some fairly unhealthy moods. After all, it’s hard to stay positive all the time.

Sometimes I feel myself getting pulled into the eddy of such a situation, and it’s easy to forget that there are tricks to get yourself out of them. Well, they work for this writer at any rate. I find that the best way to confront a panic attack is to rationalise it, put it in context with something else.

‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ is the question I ask myself. Really, when you think about it this way, the worst that could happen – unless it’s one of those few-in-a-life-time occurrences where you you need help and a much more profound approach – is generally not much at all. You might miss a deadline, or a bus, or a plane. So what? You still have your health, your family, your friends. When you look back at this situation, it’s going to barely register as a blip, if you’re even concerned about it now.

Stepping outside of your own thoughts for a moment and comparing your current lot to potentially the worst version of it – which will almost never happen – is the reality shift you need to get out of neutral, shake off the paralysing inertia and get moving again.

As punk legend Ian Drury once rather succinctly put it in one of his songs: “There ain’t half been some clever b*stards.” Abraham Maslow was one such clever chap.  His Hierarchy of Needs has stood the test of time and appears somewhere in almost every business school’s sales, marketing or organisational behaviour curricula and most people have a passing knowledge of it.

My father used to simplify it further.  Before I share that with you, I have to say I don’t know if my Dad was familiar with Maslow’s theory, but he – my Dad – was always full of insights and was a classic mentor in the sense that someone who has already figured something out could give you the inside track on an important aspect of life.

Anyway, back to the simplification. My Dad used to say: “Paul,” for that is my name, “people are essentially motivated by two guiding principles. These two are fear and greed.” The more I thought about this, the more I came to the conclusion that he was annoyingly – and rather depressingly – on the money. You can distil how people behave down into two primary – and primeval – driving forces.

The words fear and greed don’t appear anywhere in Maslow’s handy pyramid – and how business consultants love the safe refuge of shapes like pryramids, triangles, funnels and 2 x 2 grids – yet what my Dad had done is cut through the pyramid and produced two possible avenues for explaining why folk do the things folk do.

Oversimplified? Possibly, but there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that. Just try it yourself. You could view it as a touch cynical or pessimistic, but it works. Forget the 7 deadly sins, you need 1 of them – greed – with the F of FUD thrown in for good measure.