By Rob Alvarez
I have come to realize that most of our decisions, big or small, are heavily influenced by two things – fear and happiness. We do not realize that our choices are often made to either avoid what we are afraid of or find our bliss. Sometimes the two are in conflict and whichever dominates at that particular time determines the direction we take. The thing is, our fear is often unfounded or over-exaggerated, and what we think will make us happy ultimately does not – at least not as permanently as we’d hoped.
We fool ourselves into thinking, “If only I can get this person to fall in love with me, then I’ll be forever happy.” “If only I can make a little more money, then I’ll be happy.” “If only I can get that job, then I’ll be happy.” …and on and on. The lazy endings of our childhood fairytales are partly to blame. There is no such thing as happily ever after. And whether or not we are willing to admit it, many of our choices – our career, where we live, or who we are with are at least in part based on fear – fear of being alone, or unsecure, of failure, of being judged. Years of confusion and compromises between appeasing our fears and chasing “happiness” can lead to us one day asking ourselves, “How did I get here?”
So what can we do about this? If fear is one big trickster and happiness is ephemeral, should we simply crawl under a rock and give up? No. What I suggest we change our relationship with both, and to do so will require some 7th grade science – dissection and experimentation.
In this series we will explore fear and happiness. What these two words mean to us and how we can improve our relationship with them. I will share other people’s experiences, so we can gain as broad a perspective as possible to maximize our learning. We will explore tactics to minimize the influence of fear and enhance our overall happiness. I will put to practice some of these methods as experiments. Then share the results. This will be a journey, and I hope you will come along for the ride.
Rob is editor-in-chief of WeRunWithYou. He is also an operations manager at the Chemours Company, and coaches the Newark Charter middle school track and field team. His current interests include exploring leadership, organizational development, and personal well-being.