I don’t do dead things…Once upon a time I wanted to be a doctor and then I realized that I could not handle the blood or dead things. I even paid my 6 year old son to pick up a dead bird that was outside my bedroom window; I had already unsuccessfully tried to pick it up earlier in the day.
Last week I was walking along my usual route, crossing the Colorado Street Bridge. The walkway is narrow; recently made even more narrow by the chainlink fence installed to keep people from committing suicide. On my walk this day, I see a gray blob on the sidewalk in front of me. Immediately, I am thinking that it is something dead and I am worried about walking past it with the dog. Truth be told, I am more worried about me than the dog. Unless I am willing to turn around and go home a different way, I am going to have to walk past this ‘dead’ thing. As I get closer, I am doing the trick I use when I am watching a scary movie where I watch just a part of the screen or take a quick glimpse so as to avoid the full scare. I am looking to see exactly what type of dead thing this is.
I finally get close enough to identify the carcass-a dead tangle of wire screen.
I laughed at myself. How interesting it is that we have a tendency to see what we fear when we are not sure what we are really seeing. This led me to think about other ways my theory plays out in our work and lives. Possibly the most potentially damaging application of looking through our ‘fear’ goggles are the interactions we have with colleagues, friends, family-our daily interactions. When we misread a look, a comment, an email and immediately fill in the blank with what we fear most. What if we allowed ourselves to consider that instead of the worst case scenario happening, the best case scenario just happened? What if we remained curious, allowed ourselves to ask a question? How much more interesting would our lives be if we retired our ‘fear’ goggles?