What Should We Be Scared Of?

Halloween is coming, and there are some scary things in the news. Ebola. Isis. The election. *shudder*

I read an article today that said as long as you don’t live in West Africa, your odds of contracting Ebola, even with the reported procedural lapses, are worse than your odds of being crushed to death by your own TV or bookshelf.

So basically, zero. But it’s all over the news, because the idea of a pandemic is scary enough to provide the premise for countless books and movies (I know, I’m writing one). Ergo, the media jumps all over it to get more followers.

But it got me thinking: a lot of what we see in the news is hype, so what should make us nervous? Usually, the things that are real threats aren’t covered in the news, because they either aren’t very interesting or they’ve become weaved into the daily fabric of our lives.

I can obviously only speak for myself, but these are three things I think deserve some nerve-wracking attention.

ignorance1. Ignorance

I know, it’s a broad, overarching term. This scares me because so many people know they are being ignorant and do nothing about it. Worse, they brag about it. “I don’t really follow the election measures.” “This might interact with my med in a way that will kill me, but whatever.” “I don’t care if my opinion is wrong. I’m not going learn the truth and adjust it.”

Yowsa. This scares me the most when I see it in students – they don’t understand something, but rather than try to understand it, they assume it’s not worth understanding.

Obviously, we can’t possibly know everything about everything. I’m not going to go out and study the intricacies of brain surgery simply because I currently know nothing about brain surgery. Those are specializations, and they are needed so our skills are honed. I’m talking about people volunteering to be ignorant about things that directly affect them. It opens the door for manipulation and control, and it’s scary.

2. Wasted Potentialpool noodle

I’m a firm believer that every single person on this planet has an amazing talent, and it goes a little in hand with what I was saying about specializations. My hair stylist loves to cut and style hair. Loves it. There is something within her that drives her to not only cut and style hair, but to constantly be learning about upcoming trends and practices in her free time. When I talk to her, I can tell this is why she was put on this earth. That might sound silly, but what would we look like if there weren’t stylists who love what they do?

What if my stylist decided keeping a clientele was too much work and seminars were too expensive, so she sat in front of the TV all day or got a basic desk job just to make rent? Sure, she’d live day to day and the rest of us wouldn’t know the difference, but she would. She would know something was off. And the rest of us would unknowingly miss out on her talent.

Now we all can’t jump in with both feet and start practicing our passions immediately. Most of us will need extra training. We’ll probably have to get basic desk jobs in order to eat for a while. But if it’s our true talent and passion, we won’t mind. Once we get started, we’ll do whatever it takes to get there.

I believe many people ignore the nagging within them, whether it’s because they think it’s silly, or people won’t support them, or they’re scared of what will happen if it doesn’t work out – or if it does! What would the world be like if everyone lived up to their full potential?

3. Hopelessness

This is the scariest one on the list. Another word for hope is “expectation”. To feel hopeless is to cease expecting anything good will happen. I’m not talking about clinical depression here – if you’re depressed, seek treatment. Depression is a chemical imbalance and nothing to be ashamed of.

I’m talking about a general acceptance of the status quo and no real drive to improve it. On the plus side, this is the one where other people can help the most. Talk to each other. Encourage each other. Hopelessness need not be a permanent condition.

What’s on your list of things to be scared of? 

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